Video interview with Joyce Chung, Managing Director of Garage Technology Ventures. Joyce Chung has over 10 years of operating experience in technology companies and 10 years of venture capital investing experience. She was a founding partner of Cardinal Venture Capital, a $125 million early stage venture fund. At Cardinal, Joyce was responsible for investments in Chipcon (acquired by Texas Instruments), Mobilygen, Valista, and Zilliant. She continues to co-manage the current Cardinal portfolio. Prior to forming Cardinal Venture Capital, Joyce managed venture investments for Adobe Ventures. Her portfolio companies included Vignette (Nasdaq: VIGN), DigitalThink, Digimarc (Nasdaq: DMRC), and Virage. Joyce also held operating roles at Adobe Systems, Sony Corporation, and Cambridge Technology Group. She received an S.B. in Chemical Engineering from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and an M.B.A. from Stanford University Graduate School of Business. Joyce is active at the Stanford Center for Entrepreneurial Studies and is on the board of the Association of MIT Alumnae (AMITA), Chair of the Northern California chapter of AMITA and Member of the Executive Council of Astia.
Video interview with Patricia Nakache, General Partner Trinity Venture. Since joining Trinity Ventures in 1999, Patricia has focused on funding companies launching innovative online consumer and business services. She is particularly interested in the impact of social media and mobile on the next generation of Internet services. Prior to Trinity Ventures, Patricia worked at McKinsey & Company helping enterprises in technology, financial services and retailing address their strategic and operational issues. Previously, she also contributed to Fortune magazine and other publications on management best practices in technology companies. Patricia is a member of the Stanford Business School Trust Investment Committee. You can find Patricia on Twitter @pnakache
Transcript follows & video below
Which themes do you like to invest, what is your sweet spot?
Yeah you know one theme that I’ve been spending a lot of time on over the last couple of years is what I call the Woman’s Web. So leveraging the fact that women now spend much more time on social networks than men, are spending more time online. In fact in terms of socio economic activity, the web is starting to reflect the real world offline. So I’ve invested in a bunch of companies along that theme Care.com which is a marketplace for care services, child care, elder care & pet care. Last year I invested in a company called Thredup which is an online exchange for secondhand kid’s clothing, it’s all based on flat rate ratios because its in boxes. Last year I invested in Beachmint which is a subscription service for jewelery $29.99 a month, pick a piece of personalized jewelery. So that’s the theme that I’ve been pursuing & really feel like the wind’s at its back. Just related to that, have also been spending time in the social web in general.Patricia Nakache
It is interesting how women are really taking up the web. I remember when Farmville really hit the scene, they said that there were more women playing that game on facebook than men.
Absolutely. That’s one of the things that I find so exciting about this theme of the Woman’s Web, is that when you look at Zynga or you look at Gilt or you look at Groupon , the 3 big themes on the web, their success is largely driven by women. So the female consumer is a really important consumer. I think figuring out what her needs are & building products & services around those needs, I think there’s gold in those hills!Patricia Nakache
And the best people to do that is women, to work that out really!
I do think that women have a more intuitive sense for those needs. But I would say in all fairness, when I look at a company like Thredup that I mentioned, founded by 3 men. Actually until recently none of them had children. The founder & CEO has a child now. I wouldn’t say exclusively that it’s the domain of women but there is an advantage.Patricia Nakache
What do you look for in women entrepreneurs & startups that indicate interest to you in investing in their businesses?
I’m not sure that I look for anything different than I would for male entrepreneurs. I mean clearly have they identified a big needy problem that represents a significant market opportunity. Do they have relevant domain expertise to go about tacking that problem? Have they built a great team or surrounded themselves with great people? Have they developed an innovative solution for approaching the problem & does that involve some technology that is defensible? Then finally have they demonstrated any traction yet? It’s mainly the same criteria that I would use in talking to male entrepreneurs.Patricia Nakache
So that’s great there’s no bias at all is what I’m hearing.
For me, I don’t think so!Patricia Nakache
What can women entrepreneurs/startups do to increase their chances in sourcing venture?
I think the number one thing is networking. The reason I say that is that we are much more likely to invest in an entrepreneur that we have some history with or have gottent to know over a period of time, rather than an entrepreneur that we meet for the first time a week before they’re expecting term sheets. That’s not to say that we don’t do that but we’re much more likely if we’ve had an option to get to know that entrepreneur, see how they perform over time or if somebody we know has the relationship with the entrepreneur (somebody that we know & trust). I think it can be one step removed. But it just comes down to, I think an entrepreneur should think about fund raising not just in the moment when they need to fund raise but over a long term relationship building process. Just getting to know a lot of people, particularly in & around the venture world so that there’s almost more leads. By the time they really do want to fund raise, they’re in that window they’ve got a bunch of warm leads of people they can go talk to that they know at some level.Patricia Nakache
I think from the other side, from an entrepreneur’s side definitely would change their level of confidence & their ability to pitch as well, I would imagine?
I think that’s right, because I think that meeting people in a more informal setting allows you to surface a lot of the objections & understand where an investor might be coming from in their position & be prepared. Frankly it’s good feedback, right? If you’re incorporating in your business what metrics you should be tracking, what investors care about. I think in those informal settings, you may be more likely to get really frank feedback than in that moment of the pitch? Maybe? I’m not saying that it’s always true, but I think that it’s possible that would be the case.Patricia Nakache
Sounds very fertile soil, I would imagine?
Yes, yes.Patricia Nakache
What sort of challenges do women face if they become a venture capitalist?
I think some of the challenges are similar to what women face in any profession. There’s a style challenge: how do you be assertive without being perceived as a bitch? How can you be warm without appearing soft hearted? Finding that stylistic sweet spot that everybody is comfortable with & you can appear assertive in a board setting & not have negative repercussions. Then also how do you show warmth without being perceived as too feminine. So I think that that’s true in other professions as well. It’s not unique to venture capital. The other thing, given that networking is super important both for entrepreneurs & venture capitalists, one of the challenges is that some networking venues are more or less comfortable for women. Finding ways to network effectively that are comfortable for you as a woman venture capitalist, I think are important.Patricia Nakache
What needs to happen for venture companies to employ more women venture capitalists?
I think that’s a chicken & egg question. To answer that question, to start with where do women venture capitalists come from? Where do any venture capitalists come from? Typically these days they are recruited out of startups, successful startups. Or they’re a senior executive in a large technology company. Those are the 2 major places they come from these days. So I think to have more women venture capitalists, you have to have more women who’ve been successful entrepreneurs. Or women who’ve been senior executives in technology companies. So that is one mode. Then I think some venture firms have more of a tradition of nurturing, more of an apprenticeship model where they’ll take bright people with a small amount of experience in a startup or some experience in a large technology company. Then will nurture that & train them. Trinity for example we do both. We hire people who’ve been successful CEOs out of industry. then we also hire people right out of business school & then we promote them from within. We do both models. So I think to have more women venture capitalists, we need more women who are in those senior positions in technologies. Or they could actually be at more junior levels in startups but then there would probably be more of an apprenticeship model.Patricia Nakache
OK & it probably starts even further back because apparently figures have dropped 30% in the last 10 years of women studying technology subjects. Organizations like Anitaborg & NCWIT are trying to encourage young girls to study technology.
Yeah I totally agree. You’ve got to take the pole back to it’s root, yeah.Patricia Nakache
We attended the Founders Conference in Mountain View on Tuesday. The keynote was Guy Kawasaki, brilliant as usual. Here is the first part of his talk.
Guy Kawasaki is the author of Enchantment: The Art of Changing Hearts, Minds & Actions. He is also the cofounder of Alltop.com, an online magazine rack of popular topics on the web & a founding partner at Garage Technology Ventures. Previously he was the chief evangelist of Apple.
Video interview with Elaine Coughlan, Partner Atlantic Bridge, Ireland. Elaine has over 15 years operational experience in technology companies with extensive merger and acquisition experience. She has been involved in three successful initial public offerings and two secondary offerings raising more than $1.6 billion in capital for various companies. She served as the CFO of semiconductor company Parthus Technologies plc (now CEVA Inc., a NASDAQ-listed company), from 1999 to 2003. Most recently she was a director and co-founder of GloNav, a GPS semiconductor portfolio company which was sold to NXP in January 2008 for $110 million. Elaine is also a mentor for Going for Growth, an Irish initiative for female entrepreneurs.
Transcript follows & video below
Which themes do you like to invest, what is your sweet spot?
We just do tech. In Europe we are rare enough in that the team is all from industry. We’re from semi conductors & software backgrounds, long careers. So you have people in the team that are serial entrepreneurs that have built a few companies. Executives, so CEO, CFO all types of roles. That’s not the common, it is in the US but it’s not in Europe the common approach where venture capital is typically drawn from the financial industry. We don’t like taking product risk so we like to move a little bit beyond the curb. We have done it & in our first one we’ve got a mix of mid & early stage. But we prefer to move beyond the seed & the first round & to I suppose the scaling type stage. But we’re not religious about, if you have an opportunity where you have a serial entrepreneur who has a fantastic record in a particular domain it can be of interest to us. In terms of technologies we may sometimes change but generally speaking mobile, wireless have been a big feature of what we have done both in our tech backgrounds & in our businesses. Mobile, wireless, cloud computing is such a huge part of the shift & trend. Security around that, security software, web infrastructure. It’s very difficult to know or back what’s the next facebook or Twitter so we probably focus a little bit more on the infrastructure that enables those businesses. Digital home, home networking, intranet everywhere, technologies like wifi direct which is both home & wireless play. So we accept the domains & we obviously keep them under review & they change sometimes. We then go out & try & find the companies in those domains. So we probably have 5 or 6 domains that are relatively broad. We stick to those & they’re areas that we have guys that have domain knowledge, expertise etc in. So we try to stick to what we know.Elaine Coughlan
What do you look for in women entrepreneurs & startups that indicate interest to you in investing in their businesses?
Well there’s not many of them, that’s the first problem. I don’t think there’s anything different in terms of what we look for between a woman entrepreneur or a guy. I think in general when you meet women entrepreneurs you find that they are incredibly energetic & focused about their business. That’s really critical. They probably have that in spades maybe a little bit more than some of the guys. Just purely because they’ve had to have that to evenget to the stage to spin something out, back something out, start something up. But genuinely I’ve been disappointed in terms of just the numbers coming through. They say never waste a crisis, I think the current recession particularly in Ireland & indeed across Europe will probably long term be a very good driver for women entrepreneurs. I think there’s probably better structures now & we can talk about some of those later on. But I think in general from an entrepreneur we look that they are very passionate about what they’re about to do or want to do. That they have fantastic knowledge, domain knowledge about the market, product, the competitors. Not just the technology, but how it actually fits into the ecosystem & how it’s going to compete. Then finally how they’re going to take it to market. A lot of entrepreneurs don’t actually think about (they might have great technology) but they haven’t quite worked out what the sales strategy, what the business plan is & how they’e actually going to get it into the market. I think they’re kind of personal attributes. You want them also to be keen listeners. I mean in the sense, open to taking in input. We’re not passive investors. Entrepreneurs aren’t passive people either. You back entrepreneurs, you don’t hire them! You hire CEOs, you don’t hire entrepreneurs. So we back teams, we back entrepreneurs & teams. That’s what we’re looking for first & foremost. Not easy to find the ones that are truly world class but you can find guys that can absolutely grow & scale & benefit from our mistakes, as previous entrepreneurs & founders. And our successes as well & you’re hoping to actually pass that on. To do that they’ve got to be open to it.Elaine Coughlan
- What can women entrepreneurs/startups do to increase their chances in sourcing venture?
I think that’s a very good question. I think that women have got to be really much more confident in themselves & have much more belief in themselves. Be a little bit more ballsy & going out there & sourcing capital & be willing to get nos. Because the reality is you get a lot of nos in this business. Actually you don’t even get the nos, a lot of people don’t even tell you no. The good guys tell you no. I think women aren’t as good at getting out there & networking & being a little bit more forthright. It would never be said about us that we’re too backward in going forward, which we are. Typically you find women entrepreneurs are product experts so maybe they’ve been the code monkey, they’ve been the one that has built the product. They know the space well. Completely blind on sales, pushing, marketing, getting out there. I think those front of house skills, as I call them, as opposed to back of house skills. I think they must be much, much more confident in front of house. Take a chance. Guys are much more willing to give it a whirl. Let’s spin, let’s see what happens. Instead of quietly beavering away. They don’t really shine the light very brightly in terms of saying ‘Look how fabulous I am & look at what a fabulous product I have. So in selling ourselves I think we’ve just got to be much more confident & a little bit more outgoing. I don’t want to use the word aggressive but being much more proactive about pushing. Be open & be very aware that you’re going to suffer a lot of rejection. But you just need one to say yes! You can take thousands of nos if you get one yes. Also I think familiarity with the process. I think that’s fair. Women just aren’t familar with the vc process because quite frankly this generation of women entrepreneurs are standing on the shoulders of the previous generation of women. And there wasn’t many of them that were out there as entrepreneurs. So they’re really pioneers & cutting new ground. I think that’s where we have to look at the supports, the mentoring, to help give them the framework of this is what you need to expect. Because women are really fast learners. They don’t need to be told things twice. You don’t expect people to do it in a vacuum is the reality. It’s going to be difficult for them to do it in a vacuum. I think network. We’ve got to be much better at networking. Women should not have a bias now with networking with other women & other successful women. Other successful women always to the next generation of women, to put a hand down & pull them up. At all levels, both the women that have been successful in venture, in industry, in finance, we need to be much more cohesive as a group in trying to bring women entrepreneurs forward. The reality is that entrepreneurs need a lot of support in any event. But as a minority women entrepreneurs just need much more coaching, mentoring, support to understand the rules of the game as it were.Elaine Coughlan
That’s one of the reasons I’ve been doing these interviews. I think the other piece that happens in Europe, having lived in Ireland & the UK is that failure which is obviously part of the deal when you’re doing these sort of startups or ventures is culturally looked at differently than it would be say in the US. I’m wondering how you tackle that I guess with female entrepreneurs? Because women tend to want to really make sure that they succeed, that’s what I’ve heard from other vcs & women founders. That may be also where the numbers are falling down?
That’s a very good point. I think it’s very true. Failure is very difficult & there is a cultural aspect to this. If you look at the US its a badge of honor. Here it’s a bit of a badge of honor, believe it or not, I love for a guy to say we did this but we failed. I immediately think well you know what he’s gone off & bled on somebody else’s carpet. He knows now, he’s worth backing. So culturally it is an issue & genderwise I think you’re right, women always aspire to be top of the class. I think failure doesn’t come naturally to us. We’re not probably natural risk takers either. That’s the other part, that’s the corollary of that. So I think again I think it comes back to, to the extent that they’re in the world of tech, venture, finance, they’re going to see hey you know what a lot of other people fail. It’s a bit like the banks here in Ireland. I have to say they were run by guys & you know what girls we really can’t do any worse than them. They’ve made such a screw up of it. So women need to think like that.Elaine Coughlan
Interview with Inge Geerdens, Founder CVWarehouse. CVWarehouse.com is an e-recruitment platform that is linked to the website of companies. She is also Founding Partner at Your Next Move & Ambassadrice at Executive Research. You can find Inge on her blog
Transcript follows & video below
Could you tell me briefly about your past history in sourcing venture capital?
I looked for money in 2006 to start up my company CVWarehouse & I raise Eur1m in 2007. I bought back my shares in 2008.Inge Geerdens
Wow good work
And I’m preparing for a next round of VCs in 2011.Inge Geerdens
Very good & did you source that in Europe, obviously if it was in Euros? in your own country Belgium?
Yes I have contact with VCs within Europe & I raised money in Belgium.Inge Geerdens
Fantastic, great! What personal lessons being a woman have you taken out of your successes &/or failures in that regard?
I can only speak about Europe but it surprises me a little that women are looked at differently in this case. I think I got some very strange questions. But I also think I got huge visibility as I was the only woman.Inge Geerdens
So it had its advantages & disadvantages. And you were successful which says a lot for you. What attitudes towards you being female have you noted from venture capitalists when you have been sourcing venture?
Well they ask more questions about my private life, my kids, how was I going to solve things & they were a little afraid I would spend too much time on my family I guess?Inge Geerdens
Dreadful isn’t it? It is what it is!
What can I say? It’s not only VCs that ask that question. It’s more in general that I’m confronted with these types of questions as a female entrepreneur.Inge Geerdens
Interesting, interesting, but they wouldn’t ask men those questions would they?
Well not at all I guess, no, no. They wouldn’t even think about it.Inge Geerdens
What qualities do you think women entrepreneurs need specifically for sourcing venture?
I’ve been thinking about that question just before your call. I think we have to act like men. We need to be proud. We need to be very self confident. We need to have excellent communication & presentation skills. We need to say that we are better. We don’t need to be emotional. So just go to the point, show facts & figures & move further.Inge Geerdens
So copy what the boys do & make sure that we’ve got all our bases covered is what you’d suggest, yeah?
Well do better than the boys do because we have female disadvantage.Inge Geerdens
Thank you that’s a salient point. Do you think that the challenges that women entrepreneurs/startups have historically faced, mean that we will always be under represented sourcing venture?
I think a lot of women will always be underrepresented in any business context. Not only but of course also sourcing but already in companies, in boards, in setting up companies, in positions in companies.Inge Geerdens
Ok, no problems. Have you noticed any changes in the last couple of years since you did your first round in attitudes from the venture community or angel community towards women in Belgium?
The period you’re talking about is of course the height of 2007 & I’m in the erecruitment sector in Europe. So we got a major crisis in 2008 & 2009 so everything closed from a money point of view. I guess it’s not only towards the women. Something that I notice is that the venture capital world in my eyes is very macho, very white male but I guess they’re macho towards other male entrepreneurs as well. So I don’t know, I’m not sure.
Ok no problems. You are a non-technical CoFounder, do you believe that it is easier for technical women founders to achieve venture funding than non-technical? If so what are your reasons for this?
I don’t think it’s easier for them. What I did when I was looking for venture, was I really started doing competitions & contests on presentations & pitching. Because I realized after my first presentation to venture capitalists that 90% of me raising money would depend on my presentation skills.Inge Geerdens
Very good, so thats a real key point.
I did a contest & I won a prize in elevator pitching amongst 500 business plans & people pitching all over Europe. I really did it in order to raise money. I think the more technical people are, the harder they find to explain in human words what they exactly do & what they’re looking for. So I think being extrovert, having excellent presentation skills rewards much more in finding money. Because in the end they invest in a person or a team of people & not so much in a company or the technical part of a company.Inge Geerdens
That’s a really good point, thank you. Could you list some of the advantages of gender diversity in a startup? Are there any disadvantages?
I think the balance would be the best. Not too many women for obvious reasons. Not too many men for obvious reasons. With balance I think women are much more long term. I also think that’s why we have so much difficulties with venture capitalists. Because venture capitalists from the business plan are short term anyway. So men are in the middle, women are very much in that long term strategy keeping an eye on the customers, the company, the employees. So I think having women is an advantage for the long term strategy. Having men is an advantage for the short term strategy because you need both.Inge Geerdens
Fantastic, so what you’re saying is that the balance is the best, most optimum in any startup?
The real situation is to have the best people. Unfortunately in a startup, you have the people that want to go with you.Inge Geerdens
Exactly, that’s great! Thank you so much for your time today, I so appreciate it. I wish you all the best for your next round.
Thank you.Inge Geerdens
Video interview with Guy Kawasaki, Founder Alltop. Alltop.com, an “online magazine rack” of popular topics on the web, and Guy is also a founding partner at Garage Technology Ventures. Previously, he was the chief evangelist of Apple. Kawasaki is the author of ten books including Enchantment, Reality Check, The Art of the Start, Rules for Revolutionaries, How to Drive Your Competition Crazy, Selling the Dream, and The Macintosh Way. Kawasaki has a BA from Stanford University and an MBA from UCLA as well as an honorary doctorate from Babson College. You can find Guy @ his blog & on Twitter @GuyKawasaki
Women are a huge market & therefore it is powerful to enchant this market. Do you have any particular ideas about how we can enchant that market?
Who’s we, when you say we?Guy Kawasaki
Entrepreneurs! Believe me, I’ve tried to enchant women for my book! This is my thinking, whether you agree or not. I believe that if you get a woman to buy your product, you can always get a man. A man is much easier. So if you can get a man, it’s no big deal. It’s not any predictor of your success with women. So what you should focus on is getting women because women is the harder test!Guy Kawasaki
Why do you think that is?
Because women are smarter.Guy Kawasaki
I have another theory, not exactly perhaps scientifically confirmed. I believe that men have a predisposition to want to kill things. So men want to kill other people. They want to kill plants. They want to kill animals. They want to kill. They just have a predisposition to conquer.Guy Kawasaki
It’s that testoreone!
Yes that’s in their hunter gatherer DNA, ok? by contrast women do not have this need to kill things. They’re nurterers. They’re mothers. So if you show a man anything & you say to the man, this is a way to kill Apple, to kill Microsoft, to kill Virgin America, to kill whatever, to kill the competition, almost every time the man will say ‘Yes it’s a good idea!’ Because men like to kill things! You show the same idea to a woman, a woman doesn’t have that disposition to want to kill things, you get a much sounder judgement. Therefore, my theory is when you have a product or service & you want to see if it would be successful, you should always ask women. But not waste your time asking men! That’s my theory!Guy Kawasaki
You’re a champion of us!
I am a champion of women! I have a very strong wife & a very strong daughter. So what will make Enchantment successful, I think, are probably the mommy bloggers? And you know either women will like this book or not. I don’t know.Guy Kawasaki
And I would give you feedback, that really all the points are very (I say the word feminine but not as in female, more the relating aspect of Life). It can’t be passed over, which many geeks try to. It’s incorporated in the heart of our lives because we’re all people.
What a concept!Guy Kawasaki
So that’s why it’s such a great book, because all your points in the model are all about that. I don’t see any obstacle really for women taking up this book.
Your mouth to God’s ears!Guy Kawasaki
Exactly & spreading the word! It’s also wonderful to see a man championing these values as well! As well as championing women because I think that that’s not done enough. Particularly in this world of startup, entrepreneur, vc, angel area, it’s not done enough & not valued enough. So I really appreciated it & I think it’s great. Thank you very much. Do you have any other ideas about how we can enchant & #changetheratio?
Well remind me to say 10/20/30. But first let me say something else which is: honestly the ratio, the percentage, the macro figure is not important. For anyone watching this, if your studies show that venture capitalists fund 95% men & 5% women, so what’s the deal? Why is it 20 to 1? First of all, you have to ask yourself, who comes into this room? Is it 50/50? So 50/50 come in & 90/5 go out? That’s not true. It probably comes in about 90 to 10, right? So then you have to ask yourself is it the venture capitalists’ fault? Do we have a sign on the door ‘Only Men Can Apply’. Absolutely not, anyone can apply. So the question is why are only mostly men applying? That is a bigger societal issue. That’s not because of a sexist pig venture capitalist.Guy Kawasaki
And there are a lot of women’s groups that are encouraging technology training for young children & girls, yes & changing that!
Yes so Maths & Science, so it may start as young as that? It may be that women are smarter because it’s such a pain in the arse to be an entrepreneur. You know I have to tell you, it may be that raising children is more important than starting a company? I mean?Guy Kawasaki
Adeo Ressi brought up a great point. He said that the startup culture was evolved through men. And that many women look at it & go ‘No Way Jose!’
Yeah just like I look at giving birth?Guy Kawasaki
Yes No Way Jose!
Thanks, but no thanks, you can handle that!Guy Kawasaki
So his suggestion was that we need to go into the startup culture & change how we run startups to encourage women.
Change society! So my point here is, let’s say you find out the figures are horrible 95/5. You can go into a deep funk ‘The odds are very much against me, that as a woman I will be funded!’ But really how you approach this, is that you don’t care about the macro statistic. All you care about is if you got funded. 95% of your women peers may have got rejected. Statistics are bad. You don’t care! All you care about is your $1m. A way to look at this is like unemployment. So if you wake up in the morning & The Chronicle says unemployment is at 10%. Next day you wake up & it says unemployment is at 5%. The next day you wake up & it says unemployment is at 15%. So the day you wake up & it is at 15% they’re quoting an Economics Professor ‘Worst unemployment since the Depression!’ So you think this is a horrible time to find a job. But you know what, it’s not the 15%. If you’re President Obama, you need to fix this, you need to get 15% down to 2% or whatever it is to make him happy as a politician. But you’re not Obama. All you care about is how many jobs? One job! So with unemployment you only hear about one job. With venture capital you only care about your funding. You don’t care if funding is up 50%. You know, if funding is up 50% in Q1 & you’re not funded. Are you happy? No. And the funding is down 50% & you are funded. Are you happy? Yes. All that matters is that you got funded! So ignore the macro statistics. All you care about is ‘Look out for number 1!’Guy Kawasaki
Now the 10/20/30 rule. The thing that could improve most people’s pitches, male, female, gay, straight, black, white, brown or yellow, is if you use the 10/20/30 rule. Which is have about 10 slides, be able to give that pitch in 20 minutes. Use no font smaller than 30 points. 30 points forces you to just put the basics on the slide & you talk about the slide & you don’t just read the slide. If you just did that, you would be better than 95% of people that come into this room. If you add a compelling demo, you would be better than 99% of people in this room. It’s that simple.
Thank you for that, such pragmatic advice.
Video interview with Guy Kawasaki, Founder Alltop. Alltop.com is an “online magazine rack” of popular topics on the web, and Guy is a founding partner at Garage Technology Ventures. Previously, he was the chief evangelist of Apple. Kawasaki is the author of ten books including Enchantment, Reality Check, The Art of the Start, Rules for Revolutionaries, How to Drive Your Competition Crazy, Selling the Dream, and The Macintosh Way. Kawasaki has a BA from Stanford University and an MBA from UCLA as well as an honorary doctorate from Babson College. You can find Guy @ his blog & on Twitter @GuyKawasaki
I originally came from Ireland & London & definitely there’s more challenges for women to source venture over there. And I know that you’ve spoken in European countries including Ireland. (I missed that unfortunately!) I wondered if you would care to give any advice or tips to entrepreneurs in general there about how to enchant European investors & how to achieve funding?
These are some data points from an American with the caveat that I could be full of shit. So one thing I’ve noticed about European entrepreneurs. I’ll be more general I’ve noticed in European societies that they really care about the legacy & heritage to the point where I think it’s a negative. There’s some people who I meet with & their whole shit is that their father’s sister’s uncle’s brother’s cousin’s nephew was Napoleon’s lietenant. So 500 years ago my family was with Napoleon & so that’s my claim to fame. And you know from an American investor’s standpoint we don’t care. In fact I prefer if your family ran a 711. The great stories are 1st generation comes to America, cleans yards, runs 711, maid, housekeeper, whatever, saves every penny. Puts their kids through college. Their kid happens to be very bright. Goes onto graduate school compsci, material science, electrical engineering, anything. In the middle of their masters or PhD they get this brilliant idea. They want to start a company. They tell their parents who are working in 711 that even though I’m at Stanford or Carnegie Mellon or Harvard or Yale whatever, Michigan, they say I want to stop this & I want to create this company. The parents freaking freak out ‘Five generations of our family it took to get you here into this college, into this Masters program & now you’re going to quit to start this company!’ That’s the guy or the gal we want because that person doesn’t have a sense of entitlement. That person is not copping this attitude that my relatives came over on the Mayflower, I’m a 3rd generation American, my father has endowed a chair at Yale, I have this huge trust fund, you should fund me! We want people whose parents work at 711, who scraped together, who left Vietnam in a helicopter in 1976. Those are the people that create great companies.Guy Kawasaki
So we got on this question about Europe. We don’t care about your past. The other thing is we don’t care that you failed because in Silicon Valley everybody’s failed. A failure doesn’t tarnish your family for the next 5 generations. No more than success 5 generations ago will make you successful in our eyes either. It doesn’t count either way.
The second observation I have about European entrepreneurs is they often want to create the European version of an American idea. They want to create ebay for Germany, they want to create facebook for Germany so they are shooting too low. Their goal should be that they have such a great idea that the Silicon Valley entrepreneur wants to copy them. That’s what they should aspire to, not to be the German version of youtube (how hard is that?). True innovation occurs when the test is 2 people from Stanford say ‘Have you heard this great idea, we should copy this!’ That’s the test!
Brilliant, fantastic. That’s really great advice. I’m sure we’ll all appreciate hearing that. Thank you so much for your time today Guy thank you!
My pleasureGuy Kawasaki