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Rules for Revolutionaries: The Capitalist Manifesto for Creating and Marketing New Products and Services

Author: Guy Kawasaki, Michele Moreno
Publisher Harper Business
Publication Date: April 2000

Reviewer:Abby Leibel
Abby Leibel is the National Coordinator of the Association for Marketing Communications in Israel (AMCI). AMCI is a division of Coast 2 Coast Communications, Ltd. Founded in 1996 by Coast 2 Coast Communications, the association today includes over 100 Marcom Managers of High-Tech companies in Israel. AMCI is the only professional association in Israel for Marcom Managers in High-Tech export companies, and provides its members with regular newsletters, programming and monthly meetings designed to increase both their competitiveness and professionalism in the industry. Check out our website at www.amci.co.il

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Brilliant people make me smile.  I was smiling a lot while reading Rules for Revolutionaries: The Capitalist Manifesto for Creating and Marketing New Products and Services by Guy Kawasaki.  This book is written in such a simple, easy tone that I couldn’t help but whiz through it. 

Guy Kawasaki is the CEO of garage.com. A firm that helps technology based start-ups find investors. He was also one of the leaders of Apple Computers. Kawasaki knows of whence he speaks.  He dedicates the book “To my mother and father, because they taught me how to think, act, and defy.” In his book he stresses the importance of thinking outside the conservative bounds of the business world.

I am a firm believer that you can learn so much about a book from the content listing. Check out his section titles: “Create Like a God”, “Command Like a King”, and “Work Like a Slave”.  The first chapter is devoted to teaching the reader how to think like a revolutionary. Kawasaki names three stages: purge, prod and precipitate. The second chapter, which is one of my favorites, is titled, “Don’t worry, be crappy”.  Here Kawasaki says that had Macintosh waited until the perfect machine was created, they would have lost out on a great market. He says that sometimes, you’ve got to learn to take chances and follow your instinct. He focuses on how to build a winning team. The next chapter is devoted to change. While he may have advocated a non-spectacular beginning, Kawasaki says that a company must grow if success is to follow. 

In the next chapter of the book, Kawasaki examines looking beyond the traditional means of sales. He sees the sequence of a growing company as follows: “a. Con venture capitalists into giving you $15 million, b. Hire a big time ad agency, c. Hire a big time PR agency, d. Hold a fabulous press conference with $100,000 worth of wine and shrimp, e. Roll out a print and media campaign, f. Spend $17 million but miss the ship dates promised, g. Go broke.” Kawasaki then goes into a discussion of building consumer relationships.  Chapter five carries with it such an important message. It’s important that your company really believe in the product or service you are selling. Kawasaki says that believing in yourself is half the battle. He next defines “Death Magnets” as the “the traditional habits and patters of thinking that continue to seduce companies.” He then lists the top ten death magnets; with the number one death magnet being “The best product wins”.  Kawasaki incorporates exercises in the book. The exercise listed in this chapter is as follows: “Extra credit: Which is the biggest oxymoron? A. Apple marketing, B. Microsoft innovation, C. Family Vacation.” One thing Kawasaki is good at is driving the point home. In the next chapter he looks at the importance of collecting information. He says that the more information you know, the better for the company. But even more than this, the more information you disseminate the better it is for the PR of the company. He refers to this as Eating Like a Bird and Pooping like an Elephant. In the next two chapters Kawasaki covers some similar information that was discussed in the book Permission Marketing; creating permitted relationships with customers. 

The last chapter has many quotes and a great comic to support Kawasaki’s belief that people who will doubt you exist but you have to follow your instinct.

I truly enjoyed this book. It combines a good lesson with some great laughs. For instance, he put a copy of his own letter of rejection for a position with Microsoft and his “Guy’s Mensch Aptitude Test (GMAT)”. Truly enjoyable and highly recommended!