Posted November 2, 2007 2:26 pm by with 5 comments

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Yesterday I attended a speech by Guy Kawasaki near Salt Lake City, Utah. Guy is an evangelist/entrepreneur/VC. It’s tough to believe but I couldn’t find a Wikipedia page on him. He talked about the crazy ideas that get pitched to him as a venture capitalist and the crazy ideas that actually work.

Here are some crazy ideas that worked:

  • eBay (democratize commerce) starts by selling Pez dispensers and used HP printers.
  • Yahoo started with a list of two guy’s favorite web sites.
  • Google started out pitching for money for the 10th largest search engine.

Here are some crazy ideas that were actually pitched to Garage Technology Ventures VCs:

  • One entrepreneur wanted several millions to build a geodome over LA to control air pollution. He didn’t say if the dome would keep the pollution in or out.
  • Another wanted to buy Israel and make it into an amusement park for the Middle East (creative way to solve conflict – close it down and make it fun).
  • Someone pitched drowning as a growth industry. As people get more disposable income more people will buy boats even though they may not be smart enough to own one. Therefore more people will drown. The solution? a roll of red tape.

Favorite Quotes from Guy Kawasaki:

  • “I don’t invest in biotech because I’d like to get rich in this lifetime.”
  • “The biggest factor in VC success is LUCK.”
  • “I believe in God – how else can you explain the continued survival of Apple Computer” and then he noted “Clearly God loves digital music.”
  • When the microphone wouldn’t work he quips, “It’s the Windows version of microphones.”

Guy claims he has dizziness, ringing in his ear, and hearing loss which may be in fact aggravated by listening to crazy ideas all day from entrepreneurs. Then again, he summed up with this advice – “don’t let the bozos get you down.” I take that to mean, go ahead and keep pitching. It only takes one crazy idea to work. If you need a recommendation on books to help you – I posted 5 books recommended to entrepreneurs.

  • Very funny… I hope to someday have people pitch crazy ideas to me.

  • * “I don’t invest in biotech because I’d like to get rich in this lifetime.”
    he is definitely right

  • It is indeed amazing that he is not listed in Wikipedia. It is also amazing that most VCs believe in God and quite a few that I know are also deeply religious.

    His quip about Apple and digital music is really humorous and quite apt!

  • If only Guy would also give sound advise for getting rich. For my dollar he is too much focused on real estate, which can be a dangerous type of pyramid schema, because when you own X number of properties and also have mortgages on them up to 100%, what do you really own? At best you might make some cash flow, but with a rather low profit margin. What happens when 10% or 20% of your rental properties are being vacant? Who is then paying the mortgages?
    It’s not you are loosing just 20%, like if you’d invested it in stocks or bonds. You’ll unravel it all. Its a very risky game he is talking.

  • LMAO – “I don’t invest in biotech because I’d like to get rich in this lifetime”