Rules for Revolutionaries

Guy Kawasaki’s, Rules for Revolutionaries is a great book.

The first section is titled “Create like a God” it is full of tips on how to think out side of the box. It includes examples like how universal studios took the business model of Disney world and flipped it upside-down. They offered rides that could break your wrists if you left your hands out, fire-balls that were too hot, etc. While Disney World, and current theme parks of the time, were sweet and genial. The point is to think differently. Say things the way they have never been said before. Think from the problem down. If you are annoyed with the process of paying for your meal at a restraint, it takes too long. Ask yourself what would make things better? Visualize from the top. I think it would be nice if the lady showed me my bill and I said yes or no and then the money was taken out of my bank instantly.

“Don’t worry, be crappy.” This is another great tip from Rules for Revolutionaries. The point of that statement is to say: get it out there, don’t worry if it is not perfect. If you are working on a project it is generally better to release it in beta when it works pretty well. This makes me think of Google. They always release their beta products; GMail in betaforever. By doing this they receive feedback from users, investors see progress, and engineers are happy to see their work has gone live. It’s the bootstrapper’s method.

Don’t hide your mistakes. The example in the book deals with Tom’s of Mane. A change in a deodorant’s ingredients caused half of their customer base to be unhappy with the product. As result, sales plummeted and Tom’s of Main found themselves in a slump. So they fixed the problem, shipped out a response and a free sample to every customer that had complained, and donated the faulty batch of deodorant to the homeless. Soon, sales were up, old and new customers were buying, and they were more loyal then ever.

Be an Evangelist. Someone told me recently that the first step of creation, whatever the concept, is “sharing your idea.” I thought “well, duh.” But it is more then just telling someone, “hey I got this cool idea for a new wireless phone that uses VoIP.” You create a buzz, you play the evangelist. If people believe in your product/service/whatever then they will create with you, for you.

To change the world involves risk. Take it. Step out on that limb that’s never been tested, yell out and make the people below notice you. Turn their skeptical glances to attentive stares, gain their support, and sell them your creation.