Guy Kawasaki’s Hard Line: What Is Your Unfair Advantage?

One of the many nuggets of invaluable wisdom offered at last night’s Silicon Valley Association of Startup Entrepreneurs event was provided via a story about irrepresible powerhouse Guy Kawasaki. The story was told by Entrepreneur, Google and Co-Founder of Jaiku charismatic Jyri Engestrom.

As Jyri first explained he was invited to a Guy Kawasaki presentation to a group of entrepreneurs from Finland. Jyri is of Finnish heritage and acted as one of the liaisons. During one of Kawasaki’s talking points, Guy made the following statement:

“What is your unfair advantage?”

First Impressions

Jyri’s first impression of this statement was that it sounded very arrogant and confrontational until he had a moment to process. Then the statement made perfect sense and was one of the most important tips a entrepreneur could adopt.

Your Unfair Advantage

Your unfair advantage is the one powerful piece that makes your business unique, powerful, successful, and the envy of your competitors. Guy Kawasaki’s unfair advantage is the fact that he can instantly reach a huge audience due to his popularity online. When Guy says something thousands of people listen and often follow his lead

I Don’t Have an Unfair Advantage

According to Jyri, Kawasaki’s posit is simple. In the beginning, very few entrepreneurs or new businesses have an unfair advantage. They don’t have name recognition, fame, monster online audiences, or technology that is unique and ahead of the competition.

Instead most entrepreneurs and businesses begin with no unfair advantage according to Guy

The Solution

If your business does not have a unfair advantage or you the entrepreneur do not have an unfair advantage then you might consider the following:

1. Identify the unfair advantage that would make the greatest impact on your business

2. Hire the human capital, technology, or other entity that will provide you with your unfair advantage

Jyri’s Story was a simple case of recognizing a new industry trend, microblogging aka blogging platform for mobile devices (phones etc.) and chance. At a conference, Jyri met a developer he described as the #1 microblogging developer in the world. Jyri immediately accessed the opportunity and hired this man and the rest is Jaiku history.

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#1 Factor For Startup Business Success: Do You Have A “Social Object”?

Last night I attended one of the most amazing, ongoing, networking meetings available in the world. No this is not an exageration–it is the Silicon Valley Association of Startup Entrepreneurs aka SVASE. Last night’s panel has incredible substance factor and track records of success:

Patrick Chanezon, API Evangelist, Google; Jyri Engestrom Co-Founder Jaiku; Konstantin Guericke, CEO jaxtr and Co-Founder, LinkedIn; Ramu Yalamanchi, Founder and CEO, hi5

One of the big “Ah-ha” discoveries was what the panel described as “Social Objects” and the need to find a Social Object in order to build your business.

What Is A Social Object?

The examples given of Social Objects are the best way to describe what they are in business:

Ex.1-Youtube has video as it’s social object. People come to youtube to watch video, they add their own videos, and they utilize other people’s videos for their blog or website. This created the critical mass viral marketing we now see for youtube

Ex.2-Flickr has photos as it’s social object. People post their photos, share with the network, they take away photos, and they virally spread the word about other people’s work.

Do You Have A Social Object?

A great example of someone with a social object is America’s mortgage broker Brian Brady. Brian’s social object began as “the American Dream” aka home ownership aka money. People need funding to own a home and mortgage brokers provide that access to many new homeowners.

But Brian took it a giant step further. Brian became THE go-to source of information about mortgages on the internet. He socially networked everywhere, he commented, he spoke as a keynote speaker, and he built online recognition through blogging that has positioned him today.

How Do You Find Your Social Object?

What differentiates your business as a Realtor? Do you dominate a particular area? Are you perceived by consumers as the expert in that area-region? Or are you an expert in a area of real estate knowledge ie. buyer’s agent, 1031 Exchange specialist, seller’s agent, or relocation expert

Tip: Remember a Social Object is something people revolve around, talk about to other people, continue to follow, and have an ongoing interest in maintaining a level of knowledge about in their lives.

Networking Strategy #8: Network Outside Of Your Comfort Zone

One of the most challenging yet rewarding networking strategies you can employ is to network outside of your traditional groups, niche, or tried and true organizations. One such challenge I took on recently was to attend the Silicon Valley Association of Startup Entrepreneur meetings aka SVASE.

In my first and only SVASE meeting I met two priciples for the Venture Capital firm ONSET, a Phd working on stem cell research for Stanford, a real life journalist, and enough start up idealist to fill the entire Valley. If this were a card game, you would have to have an MBA just to sit at the table–I was woefully undermanned but game.

What is SVASE?

SVASE is the largest and fastest growing nonprofit association in Northern California dedicated exclusively to helping early stage entrepreneurs across all technology sectors build successful companies.

Network Outside Your Comfort Zone
The next SVASE meeting Digital Media: Building a Business with Social Networking. The speaker’s panel includes Patrick Chanezon, API Evangelist Google Inc; Jyri Engestrom Co-Founder, Jaiku; Konstantin Guericke, CEO of Jaxter (phone call widget for blogs) and Co-Founder of Linkedin; and Ramu Yalamanchi, CEO of hi5.
The substance factor for this panel is high in tech knowledge, start-up expertise, successful niche business development, and Valley connectivity.
SVASE Application #1
You could position yourself as the Real Estate specialist to the region (Silicon Valley) or to a particular job sector like high tech. Many Realtors in Silicon Valley have attempted to position themselves as “Your Google” Realtor. What special interest group or noteworthy organization resides in your area? Consider branding yourself to a particular group, business, niche, or company
Final Thought
At my first SVASE meeting I met two entrepreneurs who asked me to take on their marketing duties (a job offer), I met a principle of a VC firm, I connected my new entrepreneurial friends with my new VC contact, and I was introduced to the American Assoc. of Training and Development–a new networking experience. Whatever you choose make it an adventure!