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Guy Kawasaki: No 'Secret Sauce' for Tech Success

Posted by Jason Fell | June 1, 2012
URL: http://www.entrepreneur.com/blog/223691

Guy Kawasaki: No Secret Sauce for Tech Success

Mobile apps. Social media tools. Newfangled gadgets. You name it and someone's building or engineering it.

With an increasingly low barrier to entry and the potential for big money, the idea of starting a company in the technology business can be tempting -- or daunting. With so much potential for wild success or utter failure, what's an aspiring entrepreneur to do?

We asked Guy Kawasaki, a co-founder of Alltop, a managing director at VC firm Garage Technology Ventures, author and former chief evangelist at Apple. In an email interview, we discussed what's helped him succeed in the tech business and how others can find their own success.

What follows is an edited version of our exchange:

Related: Three Lessons a Serial Tech Entrepreneur Learned from Bill Gates 

Entrepreneur:
Looking back, what was the one thing that helped the most in breaking through in the highly competitive technology business?
Kawasaki: Nepotism. My college roommate hired me. There's a lesson here, though: It doesn't matter how you get your job. What matters is what you do with the opportunity.

Entrepreneur: What's the secret sauce to being successful in tech today?
Kawasaki: There is only hard work and luck, which are really two sides of the same coin. The search for a secret sauce is a futile waste of time. Create something, sell it, make it better, sell it some more and then create something that obsoletes what you used to make.

Entrepreneur: Who is your tech hero?
Kawasaki: There are people I admire such as Steve Wozniak, but I don't "worship" anyone. If you have to put someone on a pedestal, put teachers. They are society's heroes.

Entrepreneur: When did you know you'd made the leap from small-time to big-time? What changed?
Kawasaki: I don't consider myself "big-time." I merely consider myself a father, and one role of a father is to provide financial resources for his family. My writing, speaking, advising and investing are all means to this end. 

Entrepreneur: What helps you stay ahead of the game in tech?
Kawasaki: I'm not sure that I am ahead of the game. I do have a peripatetic and active intellectual curiosity. If nothing else, that's good for finding stuff to post on Google+ and Facebook.

Entrepreneur: What’s your best advice for entrepreneurs looking to succeed in tech?
Kawasaki: Create a prototype and get it to market as soon as you can. Ignore the naysayers. Revise fast.

Related: Mark Cuban's 12 Rules for Startups