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Book Review- Art of the Start 2.0 March 2, 2015

Posted by Jack Macholl in Book Review, Communications, Marketing, Marketing Planning.

Art of the Start tweet graphic (2)It was an honor to be selected as a guest reviewer of Guy Kawasaki’s latest book, The Art Of The Start 2.0. As a long-time follower of Guy’s thought leadership, it is no surprise that he once again delivers the goods in this revised edition of his 2004 work.

If you are thinking about or presently starting your own business, this book is a necessity. Guy’s writing style is hard-hitting and realistic. He challenges you to stop fretting over how you will scale your business and make something that people really want.

The reader is challenged with a series of thought-provoking questions that are a huge mistake to gloss over. You will also receive some “fill-in” exercises and benefit from added “mini chapters” Guy has included, offering new insights from his extensive career experience.

Amongst my favorite takeaways in the book is the section on mission statements and how much time and effort is wasted on them. Although we have never met, I swear I’ve uttered many of the same words with consulting clients over the years.

His sections on hiring people who are better than you and the art of “demoing” are stop, get your highlighter and take copious notes good.

Consistent with his reality-based presentations, videos and other works in the Kawasaki catalog, Guy provides a nice mix of entrepreneurial wisdom, humility, pointed challenges (doing and shipping) and of course, humor.

Block out some time to read this one. If you are like me, you’ll lose track of the time once you begin reading it.





1. Travis Johansen - Minneapolis - March 10, 2015

Very cool. I’m an audiobook guy and while they’re almost always more expensive, I know that I’ll always make it through the book because I listen while I drive. Just half way through Traction (Gino Wickman).

Excited to see this has an audio CD version as well 🙂

For those interested, the book can be found on Amazon (and audiobook, audible link, etc) http://www.amazon.com/The-Art-Start-2-0-Battle-Hardened-ebook/dp/B00MNNAOX0

Jack Macholl - March 11, 2015

Travis, thanks for your thoughts and the tip on Gino’s book. Enjoy the day.

2. Jeff - March 4, 2015

Great write-up Jack. Really appreciate the insights. These will no doubt prove valuable leading up to my interview with Guy. Thanks a ton!

Jack Macholl - March 4, 2015

Glad to help Jeff. If possible I’d like to hear Guy speak about the “Hiring A+ Players” section of the book. I would be curious to hear his take on why this does not happen more often. In my consulting and corporate work,owners/managers often hire “order takers” or stick with the “devil they know” types and it’s never made any sense to me. If you want to use that as a loyal listener question, I’m good with it.

3. michael harris - March 3, 2015

Hey Jack — Thanks for continuing to post on your blog, and keeping everyone informed on the latest thinking in the business development and marketing spaces. As a business owner yourself, I’m interested in your perspective in how what Guy talks about in his book squares with your real word experience — which I personally would consider to be much more insightful.

Thanks again for the post. Keep ’em coming.

Michael Harris

Jack Macholl - March 4, 2015

Michael, I am grateful for your continued support and helpful commentary. In many ways Guy and I are on the same wavelength. He is very realistic about business and today, in particular, more people are out “doing” (building apps, expanding product lines, creating new service offerings to fill gaps or “chasms” as Guy calls them) and not getting caught in the over planning/analysis trap.

I don’t want to make anyone believe I feel strategic planning is unimportant, it is very important. What I see in consulting are many smart people who want to do things by the books and that’s admirable. One of the large snags is they’ll spend months on mission statement that is too long, sounds very academic and most of their staff cannot remember it. You need to get some customers, show people you can “demo” what you are doing in real life, then take care of nice letterhead, business cards, etc.

He does bring up some very interesting points about hiring “A or A+” people- those perhaps brighter than yourself, hence building a stronger, more sustainable team as you’d look to scale a successful business. Over the years in both corporate and consulting, I relished finding people who were better educated and more importantly, had more (breadth) experience. Too often I’ve seen business owners hire people that were marginal thinkers, lacking enthusiasm and service orientation. Worse yet, some of these folks were pulled along and ultimately serve to tear down morale, which often leads to the business graveyard. The old adage, slow to hire, quick to fire is what I’d prescribe, particularly in the current business climate- continual change.

Since Guy has started/sold many companies he has experience with venture capitalists and shareholders, I do not. His perspective in those areas seems very solid, again, a very common sense approach to funding a business.

I’m always open to new topic ideas if you or your colleagues would like to toss any this way.
Hope all is well in the world of financial services marketing my friend.

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