To kickoff the launch of his new Skillshare class, Art of the Start: Turning Ideas into High Growth Businesses, startup pro Guy Kawasaki hosted an “Ask Me Anything” session on Reddit yesterday afternoon. Aspiring entrepreneurs and fans seeking advice had a chance to ask Guy anything!
The Chief Evangelist of Canva is known for being one of Apple’s employees originally responsible for marketing the Macintosh in 1984 and is also co-founder of Garage Technology Ventures (who have provided early support for major startups like Pandora). Topics ranged from career and startup advice to questions about Apple and Social Media.
Check out some of the best questions and answers from yesterday’s AMA:
What advice would you give to someone about to start their career? Also, what do you wish someone had told you before you entered the workforce? (YouthfulWater)
GK: Over the course of your life, you’ll probably have 5-10 jobs. Your first job really doesn’t matter, so don’t make yourself crazy “optimizing” the decision since you’re going to change 4-9 times. You can learn something from every job. It doesn’t matter where you start. It matters where you end.
I am a startup founder and I’d be curious to get your views on alternative funding sources, especially for early stage (pre rev) businesses. I’ve pitched to about 10 angel groups (with mixed success), and now exploring crowd funding. Any strong views? (B3ndy)
GK: There is less and less reason to raise venture capital. Angels and crowdfunding is the future. Try to avoid venture capital for as long as you can.
It seems that you are always working on something new, every company is different but success is always the main goal (success having different definitions to all of course). I am assuming that due to the differences there are no “formulas” for success when it comes to evangelism. How do you determine the means and ways of evangelizing whichever company you are a part of? (Ultrashock)
GK: I’m a creature of habit. I love to evangelize stuff that I love. I need to believe in my heart that I have the other person’s best interests at heart. When I tell people to use Macintosh, I believe it’s the best computer for them. When I tell people to use Canva, it’s the best graphic design tool for them.
If you were a young entrepreneur starting a company, what industry would you focus on and why? (agschil)
GK: I would not focus on an industry. I would focus on creating a product or service that I love and hope that I’m not the only one.
If you had an e-book in PDF format but wanted to sell it on your website for e-readers (Nook, Kindle, iPad etc), what would you do with it? Try Blurb? Lulu? Kindle Direct? Or something else entirely for self publishing? Or would you EVER recommend just selling the PDF/ePub on your own site to cut out the middle man? (caligaluk)
GK: No doubt in my mind on this: I would go with Kindle with POD from CreateSpace. My book APE explains this. Amazon is a killing machine.
If you had a startup and needed VC funding, but you had no contacts, which VC firm would you approach? (sw_dev)
GK: Hard to answer this. You need to examine the portfolio of local VCs and the partners within the firm. That said, are you sure you need venture capital? Indiegogo and Kickstarter won’t work for you? Venture capital is like crack: it makes you feel good, but it will often kill you. Anyone can build a company with a major infusion. The question is who can build one without. Do you think you’re the only entrepreneur who believes that with a major infusion, you’d be successful? I’ve never seen money being the gating item for a startup’s success.
Can you explain your theories on how you put out content on Twitter? Or why you post the same tweets several times in a day? (airplanesscareme)
GK: The stories from http://holykaw.alltop.com/ go out four times, 8 hours apart as tweets. This is because I don’t believe that everyone who is interested is in the same timezone or has the same reading habits. I can prove that I get 4 x the click throughs vs posting one time. I lose some people because of the repetition, but not enough to change my mind.My Twitter account is a curation service. The model is CNN, ESPN, or NPR–all of whom repeat stories throughout the day.
I created an account on Canva today and started messing around. I know you like the specific phrase “For the rest of us” but I am curious who the target market is? There are a lot of tools available as part of productivity packages which can do the same sort of thing. (ferminriii)
GK: The target for Canva is people who want to design their own graphics but cannot afford or afford to learn high-end products. We want to empower people who couldn’t do graphics to now do their own and enable amazingly simple graphic design.
How have you seen the position of Chief Evangelist evolve over time into the newer age of internet from when you were CE of Apple? What are some interesting ways you have seen new startups gain traction in what is a very crowded startup scene right now? (airplanesscareme)
GK: It’s gotten easier to be a CE because of social media. In 1984, there were phones and faxes. Now there’s Pinterest, Google+, Twitter, Hangouts, Skype, Facebook. Life is good for a CE these days.