Thursday, February 21, 2008

Response to Guy Kawasaki's Post of Top Ten Lies of Entrepreneurs

Welcome to the latest post of Engineers, Entrepreneurs, & Start-ups. I try to write this blog from a standpoint of helping others, specifically budding entrepreneurs. This means engineers, college students and anyone trying to start their own business. I came across an old blog on Guy Kawasaki's website titled "Top Ten Lies of Entrepreneurs". My guess is that Guy is a successful entrepreneur that has crossed over to the dark side (venture capital). Although in retrospect a lot of successful entrepreneurs go the dark side and it seems like a pretty good gig.

In my humble opinion, it seems like Guy has forgotten what it was like to be a hungry, go-getting entrepreneur. Whether you’re an engineer, college student, engipreneur or an entrepreneur just starting out I strongly believe these so called lies are necessities for people undertaking their first venture. When entrepreneurs tell these "lies" they truly believe them to be a possibility (even if it's little big of an exaggeration). These “lies’ represents the passion, the grit; the determination to succeed that is required to navigate the perils of a start-up company. This "not knowing it can be done" leads entrepreneurs to try. Sometimes they succeed and it's truly great, and sometimes they fail. But when true entrepreneurs fail, it is not in vain. They stand up and try again. They learn valuable lessons and sometimes see other opportunities or directions they can go, maybe even better then the original plan.

If new entrepreneurs did not believe that Boeing is sending over a large purchase order or that the management team can get the job done they will probably fail. The confidence and optimism are essential to getting through the tough times.

However, I will agree that underestimating your competition and assuming no one else is doing what you’re doing is a recipe for disaster. When developing strategy it is very important to always keep the competition in mind.

I feel it is very important for engineers, entrepreneurs, and engipreneurs to dream big but stay grounded in reality. For example, the reality that whatever the business may be it is going to take a LOT of work to make it happen. The reality that the odds are stacked against you, not any idea will work and you can’t make it happen on guts alone. Perhaps even most important is the reality that although I disagree with Guy, he seems successful and knowledgeable his advice/columns (or anyone with experience in your field) should be considered, but always with a grain of salt.

Good luck!