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Rules for Revolutionaries by Guy Kawasaki Review

Guy Kawasaki, former chief evangelist at Apple Computer and an iconoclastic corporate tactician who now works with high-tech startups in Silicon Valley, is back in print with his seventh book: Rules for Revolutionaries: The Capitalist Manifesto for Creating and Marketing New Products and Services. Entertainingly written in collaboration with previous coauthor Michele Moreno, it lays out Kawasaki's decidedly audacious (but personally experienced) strategies for besting the competition and triumphing in today's hypercharged business environment. The book is divided into three sections, whose titles alone epitomize its thrust and tone.

The first, "Create Like a God," discusses the way that radical new products and services must really be developed.

The second, "Command Like a King," explains why take-charge leaders are truly necessary in order for such developments to succeed.

And the third, "Work Like a Slave," focuses on the commitment that is actually required to beat the odds and change the world.

A concluding section is filled with entertaining and inspirational quotes on topics like technology, transportation, politics, entertainment, and medicine that show how even some of our era's most successful ideas and people—the telephone, Louis Pasteur, and Yahoo! among them—have prevailed despite the scoffing of naysayers.

—Howard Rothman—This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

  • Rules for Revolutionaries
    • Create like a God
      • Cogita Differenter (Think Different)
        • The Shark Versus the Mouse
          • Stein decided that rides wouldn't be nice (like Disney parks?instead, they would kick people's butts. So at Universal Studios Florida there are blood, guts, flames, and explosions. Every day there are customer complaints that the fireballs are too hot. The shark in the jaws ride comes so close to the boat that it will break people's arms if they're dumb enough to put them in harm's way. And every day thousands of people come back for more
        • The Revolutionary Thought Process
          • Intro
          • Stage 1: Purge | The first step is purging?that is, disposing of old prejudices, procedures, and presuppositions that cloud and constrict your thinking. Perhaps evolution has programmed people to seek stability and safety, but revolution requires defiance of the status quo
          • Stage 2: Prod | Prodding is the second step of the revolutionary thought process. It means attacking challenges in ways that force you to consider new solutions and new courses of action
          • Stage 3: Precipitate | Here are some examples of great thought precipitation
        • Be Lucky (or Why Blind, Dumb Luck Is Often Not So Blind or Dumb)
          • Many revolutionary ideas are the result of blind, dumb luck
          • Harness na´vetÚ
          • Harvest entre-manure
          • Exploit "latent potential"
      • Don't Worry, Be Crappy
        • Revolutionary products don't fail because they are shipped too early | How many times have you looked at the first version of a breakthrough product and thought, "How could they have left off such an important feature?one they had the technology to incorporate at the time?!" But when you first saw it, you and everyone else were so taken with the product and what it could do that its shortcomings were hardly noticeable
          • They fail because they aren't revised fast enough
          • you need great products, great teams, and great processes
        • Great Products
          • acronym DICEE to describe a great product
        • Great Teams
          • Strong Leader
          • Small, separate, and lousy
          • Casual and unregimented atmosphere
          • EXERCISE
        • Great Practices
          • How the team moves forward from an idea to a product
        • The Order of Magnitude Test
          • Now that you understand creating a great product with great people and great practices, the final issue is, "When do we stop worrying about being crappy and start shipping?"
          • Two smart-ass answers
          • Instead, use the order of magnitude test
          • A second way to determine if you've passed the order of magnitude test is to see if you and your colleagues have come to depend on the new product or service for your own success
      • Churn, Baby, Churn
        • In the last chapter I said, "Don't worry, be crappy," but this doesn't mean you should stay crappy. Instead, listen to what your early adopters say about your revolutionary product (It may seem like I'm contradicting myself here since I also told you to ignore market research. That was for the creation of a new product, however, not its improvement) and improve it accordingly because while better is the enemy of good enough, better... better be coming
        • Plan for It
          • Theoretically, revolutionaries should perfect a prototype of a product before it ever ships, but in the real world two things get in the way
          • To churn, you have to face the facts: The first permutation of your product isn't going to be perfect
          • To be ready to churn as soon as the market demands it, you need to remember the first lesson of churning: "Plan for it."
          • Not planning for it and believing that your product is perfect or that your customers are so stupid that they will buy anything is an American perspective
          • The American Way
          • For their Japanese model, he drew a circle
          • EXERCISE
        • Fail Quickly, But Last Long
          • fixed everything
          • analyzing the implications of what you're doing and making corrections
          • EXERCISE
        • Eat Your Own Dog Food
          • Eating your own dog food?using your own products?is probably the best way to reinforce the urgency of churning
          • EXERCISE
          • See specific corporate examples
          • EXERCISE
        • Incorporate the Means to Revise and Enhance
          • Build in the means to fix your product
          • Build In "Redundancy"
          • Document Everything
        • Churn for Buyers, Not Nonbuyers
          • Improve your product for people who are buying it, not people who aren't
          • This requires thinking different in a big way
          • Two kinds of customers are already buying your product
        • Don't Try to Hide Your Mistakes
    • Command Like A King
      • Break Down the Barriers
        • Mazel Tov
          • You've shipped. Initial sales are good
          • You're probably extrapolating your early success
          • Now get ready to fall into The Chasm
          • Your product may be so compelling that early adopters beat down barriers to use it. However, the work you do to remove those barriers will make crossing the chasm easier, faster, and more likely. Indeed, if early adopters do the heavy removing, you may get a false picture of the acceptability and attractiveness of your product. This will create cata-chasmic problems in the future
        • Types of Barriers
          • At the start of a revolution, five kinds of barriers prevent adoption: ignorance, inertia, complexity, channel, and price
          • Barriers are coming down faster. Notice the steeper curves of adoption since the 1970's. You can buy a copy of this chart at:
        • Barrier Busting 101
          • The Big Bang Theory | of new product introduction is that you spend a boatload of money on advertising, sales, promotion, and channel incentives. These actions not only break down the barriers, but also establish your product as a category killer. However, the usual real-world sequence of events is this:

            A. Con venture capitalists into giving you $15 million.

            B. Hire a big time ad agency.

            C. Hire a big time PR agency.

            D. Hold a fabulous press conference with $100,000 worth of wine and shrimp.

            E. Roll out a print and media campaign.

            F. Spend $17 million but miss the ship dates you promised.

            G. Go broke.

          • Better ways to break down barriers
        • Or, Do Things the Old-Fashioned Way
          • Because I have a bias towards pie-in-the-sky product development, much of this book presumes that if you build a revolutionary product, "they will come."
          • However, there are two additional ways to create products and services: Focus on a subset and create a subset
          • Focus on a subset of customers
          • Create a subset of customers
        • Then Erect Barriers
          • Ironically, after you've broken down or lowered the typical barriers to adoption of your product, you should build a cocoon around your customers so the competition can't attack you
          • The goal is to get so close to a segment of customers that they live, die, and stick with you
        • Ride the Tornado
          • If you break down the barriers and delight many customers, then your product or service will become the safe, no-brainer buy. You've made it across the chasm
          • Now demand for your product goes into hyper-growth
          • Geoffrey Moore calls this period the Tornado, and the business strategy at this time is "to grant supply as quickly and efficiently as you possibly can
          • At this point you should drive price points lower and gain as much market share as you can. You're trying to build an

            * !>

            installed base that's bigger than anyone else's because you can milk an installed base for a decade. This is the good news

          • The bad news is that you'll probably become the status quo perpetuating scumbag that you once despised
          • If you have the foresight, you'll realize that somewhere two guys in a garage are plotting your demise, so you'd better think different and innovate again
      • Make Evangelists, Not Sales
        • The Macintosh Evangelism Phenomenon
          • You should be so lucky to have evangelists like we did
          • They can enable you to change the world by carrying the flag for you at times and in places that your company cannot
          • They will round out and supplement your product where it is weak?for example, providing technical support when you're unable or unwilling to.
          • They will also confound your competition when it tries to woo them away with bribes and inferior products
        • Evangelism FAQ (Frequently Asked Questions), Part I
          • The first 90 percent of a revolution is creating the product or service
          • At the beginning of a revolution, you need evangelists, not sales, because leverage spreads news
          • To bring you up to speed on evangelism as quickly as possible, here are the answers to the most common questions about evangelism as a secular, business technique
        • The Stages of Evangelism
          • Add emotions to facts
          • Listen and regurgitate
          • Let a thousand flowers bloom
          • Flow with the go!
          • Provide an easy first step
        • Evangelism Frequently Asked Questions, Part II
          • It contains the answers to more advanced questions about evangelism
          • FAQ | Q. How can I tell if someone will be a good evangelist for my product or cause?

            A. ". . . Blessed are those who have not seen and yet believe."

            The most important quality is that the person loves your product and believes in it. This factor, more than educational background or work experience, will determine the person's success as an evangelist. Thus, pick someone who loves your product over someone who has a great background but no passion for your product.

            One additional thought about finding evangelists: The best evangelists for a product will find you-you don't have to find them. They will hunt you down and try their damnedest to get a job at your company.

            Q. How can I determine if someone is at all open to my cause?

            A. You'll see it in their eyes: They either get it or they don't. They will also get it in the first five minutes or they'll never get it. And if they don't get it right away, no matter how seemingly important they are to the success of your product, move on to greener pastures.

            Q. Many companies use the job title "evangelist" these dayshow can you tell if these people are truly evangelistic?

            A. The acid test is whose best interest they have at heart: their company's or the people they're trying to evangelize. An evangelist has the latter's.

            Q. Ownership is important for an evangelistic organizationhow do you build a sense of ownership?

            A. Call me na´ve, but you don't build a sense of ownership. Ownership is either there or not as a reflection of reality, so if you want a sense of ownership, make sure people's contributions are used. You can't fake ownership.

            Q. How do you sustain interest as an evangelist or as a manager of evangelists?

            A. Evangelists are thrill junkies. Once a cause achieves success it is difficult to sustain interest. Three to five years is the limit to bleeding-edge evangelizing, then evangelists have to move on to a different challenge. Recognize this and plan for it.

            Q. How does an evangelist avoid looking like a fanatic?

            A. This question is a frame, and I refuse to be framed. It pre-supposes that looking like a fanatic is bad, so you want to avoid it. It may not be. The definition of a fanatic is being "unreasonably zealous."

            I'm not advocating tying a white bandanna with a rising sun on it around your head and strapping yourself into a plane, but there are times and places to be unreasonably zealous. Status quo-perpetuating people, nota bene, may be rightfully accused of being "unreasonably resistant to change."

            Q. What is the hardest thing you, as an evangelist, ever had to do?

            A. Admit to myself that despite all the evangelism that I did, Microsoft Windows was going to control the world.

      • Avoid Death Magnets
        • A Lesson from the National Training Center
          • Tanks have great difficulty moving quickly through mountainous or wooded terrain, and they can be stopped by rivers, canyons, and canals. Thus, tank commanders are inclined to travel through plains and valleys and along highways and roads. Knowing this, the enemy can use the terrain and its obstacles to funnel the opposing force into kill zones. But as any (living) soldier with battle experience will tell you, "The easy way is mined." The easy way is a death magnet too
          • There are death magnets in business?the traditional habits and patterns of thinking that continue to seduce companies
        • Ten most common death magnets
          • Death Magnet #10: First, pick the low-hanging fruit
          • Death Magnet #9: "Our product sucks less"
          • Death Magnet #9a: Creeping adulteration
          • Death Magnet #8: The budget is king | An opportunity presents itself to your company. It involves some risk (AKA added expense), but the upside is tremendous. When you try to acquire additional funds, however, you're turned down with the mantra, "We don't have the budget."

            Never mind that this is a good opportunity. Never mind that the marginal revenue will exceed the marginal cost. Never mind that you could shift money over from other, less important areas. The knee-jerk, unthinking reaction is, "No can do." Welcome to the "budget is king" death magnet.

          • Death Magnet #7' We must be conned-sistent
          • Death Magnet #6: The kiss of yes
          • Death Magnet #6a: Our product will be backward compatible
          • Death Magnet #5: Our brand is a hunting license'
          • Death Magnet #4: Outsourcing saves money
          • Death Magnet #4a: We have to work all the time
          • Death Magnet #3: Monkey see what gorilla do
          • Death Magnet #2: Larger market share causes higher profitability, therefore lower your prices
          • Death Magnet #1: The best product wins
          • Death Magnet #1a: A revolutionary product is a substitute for the previous product
        • Why Does Folly March On?
          • "the pursuit of policy contrary to the self-interest of the constituency or state involved."
          • For a policy to be considered folly, Tuchman stipulates that it must meet three criteria
          • the two reasons why "wooden-headedness," to use Tuchman's term, continues to march on
          • When business leaders learn these two lessons, they and their companies will start defying death magnets. Until then, there will always be opportunities for revolutionaries to succeed as long as they don't fall for death magnets themselves
    • Work Like A Slave
      • Eat Like a Bird, Poop Like an Elephant (getting and sharing information)
        • From the job application for product designer positions at Hallmark Cards
          • Find out what today's consumer wants and today's retailer is showcasing in small gift shops, toy stores, bookstores, bath and bed areas of department stores.
          • Compare what you find in specialty stores to the mass channels: grocery, discount, Kmart, Von's, Wal-Mart, etc.
          • Talk to people about what they are not finding in stores.
          • What products would they like to see developed in what format and at what cost.
        • Birds Eating? Elephants Pooping?
          • 50 percent of its weight every day
          • Two serious messages for revolutionaries in these biological facts
        • Principles of Eating
          • Always search for the cause of something unexpected.
          • Leave the important stuff to amateurs (amateur market researchers)
          • Institutionalize pressing flesh
          • Don't ask, just watch
          • Perch in different trees (new mental patterns)
          • Take small bites
          • Become a research librarian.., or suck up to one
          • Tap human carriers
        • Pooping the Apple Way
          • if we had aggressively licensed the Macintosh operating system to other companies in 1987, the Macintosh operating system might have become the dominant system in personal computers today. Why were we so seemingly stupid?
          • if you ever have to make a crucial choice like we did, then use this algorithm:
          • Rightly or wrongly, Apple is usually credited with "inventing" personal computers and the graphical user interface. However,, personal computers and the graphical user interface were going to happen even if Apple didn't do it. Thus, we should have pooped like an elephant and licensed the Macintosh operating system to others.
        • The Joy of Pooping (Information sharing)
          • the more information you give away, the more you get as people come to trust you and see mutual benefits.
          • A researcher for a medical lab explained the differences between working for a company that maintains an open environment and working for a closed one
        • The Principles of Pooping
          • Here are the four things you need to do to spread (and receive) information in the most efficient ways:
      • Think Digital, Act Analog
        • Use Technology as a Tool...
          • Thinking digital means using technology to look at real data, track interactions with customers, and mine for information to serve people better.
          • Acting analog means using a personal touch.
          • The Ritz-Carlton Hotel Company* is one of the best examples of using technology to act analog
          • Little Nell Hotel in Aspen, Colorado
        • ... But Use Technology Carefully
          • Great as it can be, digital technology can also create negative feelings by invading people's privacy or simply being a pain in the ass | I hate it, for example, when I buy a $2 battery at Radio Shack, and the clerk asks my name and address so that Radio Shack can do "relationship marketing" with me
          • Principles to keep in mind when you're thinking digital | Digital power is easy to abuse, so keep these two principles in mind when you're thinking digital (the next chapter, "Don't Ask People to Do Something That You Wouldn't" covers this general topic in greater detail).
          • Ideally, you and your customers should both derive value from the information they provide
        • Identify the Right Decision-Makers
          • Revolutionaries often make three key mistakes at the start of a revolution when they start marketing and evangelizing their product
          • Identifying the right decision-makers is an analog process. There usually isn't a single person who can make a unilateral yes/no decision. Instead there are usually several people who can help your revolution, and they, in turn, are influenced by many others.
        • Ignore People's Titles
          • Highfalutin titles don't mean a person is knowledgeable and powerful, and humble titles don't mean a person is dumb and powerless
          • All you care is about is that a person "gets it" and wants to help you.
          • Ignoring people's titles also means ignoring the titles of your own employees
        • Show Up in Person
          • You can dream, create, design, and build the most beautiful place in the world, but it requires people to make it reality.'
          • Mea culpa-e-mails, faxes, and phone calls (particularly voice-mail messages) are not as effective as showing up in person
          • The point is that simply showing up in person is a powerful sales and evangelism technique, so get out of your chair and get into your car or on an airplane to optimize results. Use e-mail, faxes, and voice mail as second-string methods to get personal.
          • If you can't get to your customer in person or after you have met in person, use the simplest, cheapest, and mightiest ways to get personal: handwritten notes on elegant stationary.
        • Hang with the Hol Polloi
          • It's not enough to show up in person
          • You have to hang out with the right people
          • This recommendation is a step beyond ignoring titles because it involves intentionally communicating with Joe Sixpack as an ongoing practice. Here's why
        • Catalyze a Virtual Community
          • You too can build a community of people interested in your revolution by supporting the creation of such "user groups."
          • These are organizations made up of people who share a common interest
          • You can use technology to assist in this analog process by building a virtual community on the Internet
          • Many companies think that building a virtual community is as simple as throwing up a cool Web site that compels people to visit every day
          • Dream on
          • These sites are commercials, not communities
          • If you want to build a virtual community, here are the principles to implement:
        • Collaborate for Customer Share
          • Collaborative marketing occurs when you listen as the customer speaks, and when you invite a customer to participate in actually making the product
          • the concept of share of customer instead of share of market
          • The way to get customer share is to collaborate with them
          • Peppers and Rogers offer seven tips to foster collaboration with customers:
        • Guy's Mensch Aptitude Test
          • The word that best describes the highest form of good analog behavior: mensch. It is a Yiddish word that connotes a person who is admired, respected, and trusted because of a sense of ethics, fairness, and nobility.
      • Don't Ask People to Do Something That You Wouldn't
        • Never ask your customer to do something that you wouldn't
        • Other People's Lessons
          • Here are two others, in different fields, that cost only an enormous amount of frustration
        • Get Over the Paranoia
          • The paranoid would ask, "But what if everyone who owns a car returned tires to Nordstrom? Nordstrom would go broke!" But people won't (and don't), and Nordstrom will never be in danger of going bankrupt for accepting returns of goods it doesn't sell.
        • Empower Your Employees
          • Empowered employees are empathetic employees.
          • For example, employees of the Ritz-Carlton (there are 14,000 of them) are empowered to spend up to $2,000 to fix a guest's problem with the hotel?not just management?level employees, but any employee: maid, bellhop, or doorman.
          • This decision was an empowered, nonparanoid, and highly "analog" decision. The policy was such and such, but the employee did what was right for the customer
        • Put Customers in Control
          • The flip side to empowered employees is empowered customers
          • When customers feel as if they have no power, they react negatively and strongly. |(And, as mentioned in Chapter 1, the feeling of powerlessness in people is the sign of a market opportunity.)
          • This is a two-step process:
        • Underpromise and Overdeliver
          • The only aspect of this recommendation that is more astounding than its simplicity is the rarity with which you find it implemented
          • Take this as gospel: Make announcements that you know you can achieve and then strive to do better
          • Many a revolution never got started because it was overhyped
          • Does this mean you should sandbag people? |Absolutely. When you meet your commitments (which is the least you should do), people will be pleasantly surprised. When you exceed your commitments, people will be astounded. If you do nothing but fulfill your announcements, you might be considered a revolutionary for this reason alone.
        • Treat Your Customers Like Kamaainas (locals)
          • Businesses support kamaaina pricing because kamaainas are existing, long-term, and repeat customers and because it's good public relations to support members of the local community
          • By contrast, because most companies want to attract new business (there's the market share death magnet again!) they end up treating their current customers worse than new customers or customers of their competition
        • Think Allocentricaly
          • So far this chapter has been about avoiding negative results by not asking customers to do something bad, silly, inconvenient, or just plain stupid that you wouldn't do
          • However, if your competition is asking people to do something suboptimal, then it's creating an opportunity for you
          • All you have to do is think allocentrically
          • It means putting yourself in the place of a different type of person?to face problems as another type of person | For example, a Whirlpool employee taped a news program's interview with Gail, a woman with several children and a full-time job. Whirlpool employees were challenged to provide appliances that would "take care of Gail." In response, they redesigned the stovetop of Whirlpool's CleanTop to be completely flat, without grease traps or dirt-collecting crevices, and they created the Quiet Partner dishwasher, so the noise of the dishwasher wouldn't distract Gail. Viewing chores through Gail's eyes has helped Whirlpool introduce significant product enhancements
          • Here are more inspiring examples of allocentric thinking
        • Be Cool
          • Air-contitioned banks
    • Conclusion
      • Don't Let Bozosity Grind You Down
        • Short-sighted quotations
          • Technology and Inventions
          • Computers
          • Transportation
          • Political Revolution
          • New Businesses
          • Entertainment
          • Medical
          • People
        • Bozos Versus Bozosity
          • I realized that labeling someone a bozo because of one quote out of who-knows-what context is a bozo thing to do
          • That is why this chapter is about not letting bozosity, which can be a temporary affliction, grind you down
          • if you enjoyed this collection of expertology, be sure to read The Experts Speak by Christopher Cerf and Victor Navasky. This book was my primary source for these quotes. It is the bible of bozosity
        • Why Does Bozosity Exist?
          • Essentially, you can stop reading right here because The Carrot Seed says it all: Plant seeds, pull weeds, sprinkle feed, and believe. However, if you'd like to learn more about bozosity, please read on
          • Seven Deadly Sins that make people think they know something when they don't. These sins explain why bozosity exists, and knowing why it exists will help you defeat it
          • Let's throw some of these sins at an imaginary hot, young entrepreneur with an idea for a revolutionary personal computer that defies the Windows hegemony | An "expert" tells the entrepreneur that he will fail. This expert, formerly a product manager at a computer company, is now an industry analyst at International Data Corporation. Business publications frequently quote him. He tells the entrepreneur that she doesn't have a champagne-glass-in-a-toddler's room chance of survival. (Overconfidence.)

            He supports his statement and "proves" his expertise by saying, "I knew that Apple would be in trouble because it didn't support industry-standard operating systems from Microsoft." (Predictability in hindsight.)

            After a short time, the entrepreneur achieves success. Certain niches of the market are quite pleased with the entrepreneur's new computer, but the expert still believes that she will never set a "platform standard" because of his initial prediction of failure. (Anchoring.)

            The mainstream press shares this dim view of her chances. They easily envision the failure of a little startup computer company in its battle against all the giant companies selling Microsoft Windows machines. (Ease of representation.)

            In their final, extremely bitter meeting, the expert tells the entrepreneur that this is why her company will certainly die:

            ? The new administration in Washington, D.C., is going to take a hands-off approach to business regulation.

            ? The Department of justice will therefore free Microsoft to compete in any manner it sees fit.

            ? Microsoft will buy much of the press including newspapers and television networks. Thus, it can set and forever control all of the standards for information retrieval and delivery on the Internet.

            ? With nearly 100 percent market share and infinite resources, Microsoft will hire all of the talented college graduates in the world.

            ? After a decade, Microsoft will control the world. (Reconsideration under suitable scripts.)

        • Kick But (positive statement, but ...)
          • Life for a revolutionary is all about kicking but
          • Here are the ways to defeat but-headed thinking:
        • The Levels of Revolution
          • Don't worry about people stealing your ideas. If your ideas are any good, you'll have to ram them down people's throats
          • My interpretation of naysaying, bozosity, and predictions of failure is that they indicate you're on to something. This doesn't mean that when people say your revolution will fail, it will necessarily succeed
          • No matter what people say, if you don't try at all, you will never know
          • So don't let anything grind you down: Create like a god, command like a king, and work like a slave. If you have revolutionary potential, then you have a moral imperative to make the world a better place
          • You will find that defeating bozosity is more satisfying than accumulating trappings?and making the world a better place is more satisfying than defeating bozosity. Then you will understand the most important lesson of all:
          • The greatest role that life can bestow upon you is to be a revolutionary


“The greatest danger in times of turbulence is not turbulence; it is to act with yesterday’s logic”. — Peter Drucker

The shift from manual workers who do as they are being told — either by the task or by the boss — to knowledge workers who have to manage themselves ↓ profoundly challenges social structure

Managing Oneself is a REVOLUTION in human affairs.” … “It also requires an almost 180-degree change in the knowledge workers’ thoughts and actions from what most of us—even of the younger generation—still take for granted as the way to think and the way to act.” …

… “Managing Oneself is based on the very opposite realities: Workers are likely to outlive organizations (and therefore, employers can’t be depended on for designing your life), and the knowledge worker has mobility.” ← in a context




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