August 2016

The Art of the Start

Kevin Pledge    By Kevin Pledge

The Art of the Start by Guy Kawasaki

This is not a manual, but rather a collection of practical tips that most people who wish to start businesses will find useful. The tips also apply other projects. Intrapreneurs within larger organizations may find them useful too.

Guy Kawasaki is a well-known technology evangelist, investor and blogger. His career started at Apple Computer, marketing early Macintoshes. He now runs a venture capital firm, Garage Technology Ventures. He refers to both frequently, and most of the book’s examples come from these venues, so there is a technology focus. I would describe his style as relaxed and humorous, but also well-structured and practical.

The chapters are divided accessibly with subheads, charts, bullet points, “mini-chapters,” answers to “Frequently Avoided Questions” and reading lists, making it easy to navigate. Many of Kawasaki’s “exercises” are thought provoking, like, “Go to eBay and search for used Aeron chairs.”

This may not be the only book you’ll need to read when you decide to start a business, but even if you read many others, it will give you valuable ideas.

In this summary, you will learn:

  • How to position and pitch a new business;
  • How to get the most benefit from branding and staffing; and
  • Why starting a business is akin to a spiritual undertaking, requiring belief in the project's worth and its benefit to society.

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Kevin Pledge, FSA, FIA, is CEO at Acceptiv in Toronto. He can be reached at