Readings that Resonate: The Art of the Start

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I’m going to start a new category today called “Readings that Resonate.” These posts will be short bursts of information that I’ve found helpful or informative in whatever I happen to be reading. Sort of a micro book review.

To start things off, I want to mention a few passages from Guy Kawasaki’s Art of the Start.

I’ve referenced Mr. Kawasaki on a number of occasions, and find him to be one of the best business writers out there.

I’m currently using Art of the Start as a required text for a course I’m teaching on Marketing and Entrepreneurship. Reading a book and using a book as a text are two very different things; when you know you have to lecture on a book, you really read it.

The good news is that The Art of the Start is a very readable book filled with great and accessible advice.

Here then are some of the elements from Chapter 1 of the Art of the Start that resonated for me:

While I spend a lot of time preaching about how you must define your customers in excruciating detail, Kawasaki gets to the heart of this by forcing you to answer two questions:

1. Who has your money in their pockets?
2. How are you going to get it into your pocket?

Another thing that I talk about a lot, and – frankly – find annoying is when people claim to have a great idea, but have no clue how to implement it. Kawasaki speaks to this problem very plainly:

“First, if all you’ve done is come up with a great idea—for example, “a new computer operating system that’s fast, elegant, and bug free”—but you can’t implement it, then you have nothing. In this case, don’t waste anyone’s time until you’ve found other people who can do the engineering.”

I find both of these points to be very applicable to the music business. As a band, you have to determine who has money in their pockets to buy your record or pay to see you play, and you have to figure out how to compel them to fork it over to you.

As for implementation, if I hear about one more artist who has “the greatest voice/songs/guitar playing ability/whatever,” but isn’t out playing gigs, or otherwise building a fan base (i.e. implementing), I’m going to cut my ear off.

More from Kawasaki (and others) to come.


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