There is no need to introduce Guy Kawasaki - Evangelist, VC, Blogger and long-time Silicon Valley icon. His latest venture is called Truemors (here's the Software Abstractions review ) - a digg-like social network for headlines and short posts. Recently, I had the opportunity to get his thoughts via email on a variety of topics - our (electronic) conversation is reproduced below.
Q - Congratulations on your new startup, Truemors, which seems to be doing very well. What attracted you to this particular idea, out of the hundreds of potential candidate ideas out there?
GK - I was inspired by three events: Listening to James Hong explain how he created HotorNot; SpinVox enabling people to post blog entries via voicemail; and the success of Twitter. I love the concept of the democratization of information, so when I put all four together, I came up with Truemors.
Q - What is your business model for Truemors ?
GK - Hopefully we'll attract enough page views to sell advertising and sponsorships in significant amounts.
Q - How will Truemors differentiate itself from established social headline sites like Digg, Reddit et al?
GK - Digg, Reddit, et al are mechanisms for people to rate content. Truemors is a way to generate content. In an ideal world, people will start Digging our content and drive up our page views.
Q - What do you make of the mostly negative opinions of the blogosphere about Truemors?
GK - First, don't exaggerate. The feedback hasn't been "mostly" negative. It's been totally, unequivocally negative. :-) One of the consequences of the democratization of information is that you have to be able to take the Heat. So my reaction is, We shall see. Maybe they are right. Maybe they are wrong. But you never know unless you try.
Q - You've been an active blogger for a while now. What has your blogging experience been like?
GK - Very, very gratifying. I like working without having to get approval and waiting for publication. "I blog, therefore, I am," is my new mantra. I'm #15 or 16 right on Technorati now. My stated goal when I started blogging was to be in the top ten, so I've been fortunate.
Q - What type of key differentiators do you look for in your investments through Garage.com (now Garage Technology Ventures)?
GK - We're looking for two guys/gals on the West Coast who are trying to change the world with a software, IT, or clean-tech startup. We're a small fund so we don't participate in companies that need $25 million to break even or build a factory.
Q - What are the two or three most influential business books you've read?
GK - If You Want to Write by
Brenda Ueland, Influence by Robert
Cialdini, and Crossing the Chasm by
Q - Who are your business heroes?
Q - It always amazes me that Apple users - the so-called "Mac faithful" -
have displayed such fierce loyalty to Apple through all of the travails and even
mis-steps of the company; now the wheel has turned full circle, and Apple is
back on top.
What do you think is the "secret sauce" that inspires such passion and loyalty in Apple users?
GK - There's no secret sauce. It's purely engineering. When Apple makes stuff that people like, it does well. When it doesn't, it doesn't.
GK - It's too early to tell. Basically everyone is conjecturing how good or bad it will be without having used it--unless you're Walt Mossberg and Apple is sucking up to you.
Certainly the first million or so will fly out of the stores, but so did the first 250,000 Macs. Then the hard work really begins: battery life, no keyboard, durability of the screen, ATT's sucky data network, size and weight, lack of Exchange server (I can't believe I'm saying this too!), price point (a mere 20-30x more than a Razr), cancellation fee of your current plan (unless your two-year anniversary happens to be June 29th).
Still, when all is said and done, it's very dumb to bet against Steve.
Q - What message would you give to would-be entrepreneurs out there?
GK - Asking bloggers about anything beyond tools for bloggers is dubious as a feedback mechanism. Whatever the blogosphere says, do the opposite. [Ed: Aw, gee, thanks for the compliment!
Q - In one sentence, what's your core philosophy?
GK - "Empower entrepreneurs."