How Alltop Is Growing By Following Its Founder’s Advice

I think Guy Kawasaki felt I was being a jerk when I pressed him about whether he was following the advice in his own book, Reality Check, at his new company Alltop. But Guy is amazingly open and he really does live the ideas in his book.

To help you use the ideas in Reality Check to build your startups, I’ll show you how Alltop uses them.

Guy Kawasaki

Guy Kawasaki


Guy Kawasaki is the co-founder of, an “online magazine rack” of popular topics on the web, and a founding partner at Garage Technology Ventures. Previously, he was the chief evangelist of Apple. Kawasaki is the author of ten books including Enchantment, Reality Check, The Art of the Start, Rules for Revolutionaries, How to Drive Your Competition Crazy, Selling the Dream, and The Macintosh Way.

A few lessons from this program

Page 27: “Don’t confuse fundability with viability.”

Even though Guy has a much better shot than most entrepreneurs to raise money for his startup, he hasn’t taken the first step. As he says in his book, not all startups are meant to go through the funding process.

Page 176: “Do one thing well.”

We had a laugh when I interviewed him about all the different features people ask Guy to add to Alltop. From profiles to social netwoking tools, people seem to ask for everything. But Guy turns it all down to focus Alltop on doing one thing well: aggregating links to articles from around the internet.

Page 24: “Create a mantra for your organization”

Alltop is the “digital magazine rack” of the internet. I knew that before I even got on the phone with Guy. He says it all the time when he describes the site. It’s such a simple and clear mantra that I hear others repeat it when they talk about Alltop.

Page 120: “Don’t worry. Be Crappy”

Did you listen to my interview with Roger Ehrenberg? He told me how his startup had to close down even though it raise $20 million from investors. He said his biggest mistake was waiting till his product was perfect before he launched it.

Guy took a different path with Alltop. Even though some people might laugh that a startup “guru” like Guy would launch something so simple, he decided to roll out Alltop as a pretty basic site with fewer than a dozen pages. In time, he kept building it up.

Page 251: “Identify and recruit your thunder lizards immediately.”

After he launched Alltop, people started emailing Guy web sites that he should include on the site. He says most companies might have have thought, “we know better,” and turned those passionate users away. Guy recognized the value in these “thunder lizards” and incorporated their feedback. He even hired one as a full-time employee of the site.

What do you think we can learn from Guy Kawasaki about building a successful startup? Tell me by email or in the comments.

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