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Guy Kawasaki: Advice for Entrepreneurs Who Tweet

High tech's favorite pundit weighs in on entrepreneurs, tweeting, and why William Shatner is his role model.

Social media is more than just a way to communicate; it's an art form. Twitter, for example, forces people to encapsulate a thought in such a way that it piques the reader's interest and hopefully causes the reader to pass the tweet along.

Like 1.4 million others, I've been following the intriguing and often surprising Twitter feed of Guy Kawasaki (@GuyKawasaki), so I wasn't surprised when he won a Shorty Award for Business Influencers--the social media equivalent of an Oscar.

To put the prestige of the award into perspective, winners this year included Aaron Paul (Jessie on Breaking Bad) and Jerry Seinfeld.

I've interviewed Kawasaki in the past, but this time I asked him about his use of social media as well as his advice for entrepreneurs (which contains a couple of real gems). Here is our (tweet-like) interchange:

What's the most common mistake that entrepreneurs make when trying to create a great company?

They scale too fast because they "know" that their rockstar engineers will deliver a "revolutionary" product on time and that people will love it. They're usually wrong on at least one of these assumptions, so they burn cash too fast.

What do they most frequently get right?

There are three basic factors in a startup: people, market, and technology. Hardly anyone gets all three. A lucky few get two. Most get one or none. That's the nature of the game. Every company is different.

Many of your tweets are not about business per se. Which non-business tweets won the most retweets? Why do you think that is?

The more I use Twitter, the less I think I know. My tweets are peripatetic if not random. The commonality that I hope they all share is that they are interesting enough to be retweeted. My editorial goal is that someone will retweet everything I post.

A number of previous Shorty award honorees come from the world of Star Trek, so I'm going to guess that you're familiar with the genre. Kirk or Picard: who's the better boss and why?

Not really a Trekie, but I love William Shatner for what he portrayed in Boston Legal. He strikes me as a person who doesn't give a shiitake what people think of him at this point in his life. He is my role model in this way.

Is there any chance whatsoever that you'll tweet my new book "Business Without the Bullsh*t" when it comes out on May 13?

Sure, if it's good!

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Last updated: Apr 23, 2014


Geoffrey James, a contributing editor for, is an author, speaker, and award-winning blogger. Originally a system architect, brand manager, and industry analyst inside two Fortune 100 companies, he's interviewed more than a thousand successful executives, managers, entrepreneurs, and gurus to discover how business really works. His most recent book is Business Without the Bullsh*t: 49 Secrets and Shortcuts You Need to Know. If you enjoyed this post, sign up for the free weekly Sales Source newsletter.

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