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Posted on: Wednesday, January 24, 2001

Guy Kawasaki talks about capitalization

By Burt Lum

If you compile a list of the digerati who originate from Hawai‘i, the result is pretty impressive. Steve Case tops the list but there are other luminaries, including Kevin Hughes, Ray Tsuchiyama and the colorful Guy Kawasaki. Each tells his unique version of a rags-to-riches story, although Kawasaki is the best at making money from the story.

You would expect no less from Apple Computer’s first software evangelist and the official "Chief Evangelist Officer" at Garage.com. Storytelling is his gift.

While in Hawai‘i on his annual holiday visit, he shared this gift with a packed room of would-be entrepreneurs and told a tale that took the audience from Kalihi Valley to Silicon Valley.

As I am sure there will one day be a book to that effect, his story is much more than a "been there, done that" recap. Garage.com is testament to that. Equipped with contacts and experience, Garage.com functions as a "venture gapitalist," bridging the gap between the venture capitalists with the money and entrepreneurs with the bright ideas. Garage.com has already helped 60 high-tech startups raise more than $200 million in venture funding.

It’s obviously more complicated than simply matching money with ideas. There’s a whole lot of grooming that goes along with it. It’s like Prof. Henry Higgins teaching Eliza Doolittle how to speak proper English in "My Fair Lady."

Garage.com finds the diamond in the rough, polishes it up, cuts the facets and finds the buyer. Kawasaki is perfect for the job. His past experiences include selling diamonds on the streets of L.A., which he confessed is where he learned everything he knows about sales.

So as a high-tech soothsayer, how does Kawasaki gauge the sentiment for the startup? In a nutshell, here are a few of his pearls of wisdom for the entrepreneur: "Focus on profitability," "Money is now more important than time" and, finally, "Would you eat your own dog food? If the answer is yes, let’s talk." ;-)

Burt Lum, cyber-citizen and self-anointed tour guide to the Internet frontier, is one click away at burt@brouhaha.net.

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