Internet evangelist brings message of hope

July 11, 2005

BY MICHAEL KRAUSS

I get the grins just knowing Internet evangelist Guy Kawasaki is in town. I get happy. Things seem brighter. Kawasaki is a refreshing ray of California entrepreneurial sunshine.

Kawasaki is the product evangelist who popularized Apple's revolutionary Macintosh computer. He's authored eight books, and served as spokesperson for the Internet boom.

Along the way he launched an early stage venture firm called Garage Technology Ventures.

Kawasaki is here to speak at AD:TECH, which convenes today at the Sheraton Chicago Hotel. Kawasaki will focus on revolutionary change in the advertising industry.

He'll face a friendly audience of leading advertisers, ad agency executives and technologists who are reshaping the world of advertising.

With the arrival of Google and TiVo, they know the days of dominance of traditional 30-second, mass- media television advertising are over. The promised Internet revolution in media is upon us. It's a revolution Kawasaki predicted years ago.

Don't worry, be crappy

Kawasaki's one-line bytes of advice are legendary, fun and insightful. Who else could tell a crowd of conventioneers, "don't worry, be crappy" and earn applause, plus a well-deserved paycheck.

Kawasaki's point is this: When you have a new business idea with revolutionary impact, it can have flaws. Change it along the way. Don't let the need for perfection inhibit your entrepreneurial zeal. It's merely one of many pearls Kawasaki will offer.

Kawasaki has advice for Chicago's tech community, which routinely complains that the lack of seed-stage venture capital stifles entrepreneurship.

"Wherever you go, they always say there's not enough early stage money," says Kawasaki. "That's true in Menlo Park, Calif. There's early stage money if you have a good idea."

To stimulate entrepreneurship, Kawasaki suggests investing in schools of engineering.

"If you get engineering, you'll get entrepreneurs," he says. "They'll come up with companies. Then venture capitalists swoop in. Lawyers show up. Everything else happens."

Those freshly minted Internet millionaires at Google in Mountain View know exactly what Kawasaki's talking about.

Hewitt on top 100 list. . .again

Sanjiv Anand, 52, chief technology officer of Lincolnshire-based Hewitt Associates, is celebrating.

Anand's company was named to Computerworld magazine's list of 100 best places to work in IT for the sixth consecutive year.

When you think of Chicago's tech community, you don't think of Hewitt as an IT powerhouse. Yet the global HR outsourcing firm does cutting-edge software development employing nearly 1,800 technologists in the Chicago area.

"From 2003 to 2005 we had 9 percent growth in tech jobs," says Anand who expects continued growth this year.

He's looking for application developers, systems integration specialists and professionals to run technology infrastructure.

"The area we're doing the most exciting work is putting together tools that help employees navigate the complex health care system," says Anand.

Hewitt manages the employee benefits programs for clients such as Abbott Labs, Donnelley and McDonald's. Anand builds portals that provide their employees clearer choices.

"Our goal is to make sure employees are picking the right health plans for their needs," says Anand.

He wants to assure they have the required information at their fingertips to pick the right doctor and gather the right information in the event of an illness.

"Hewitt's goal is to make the world a better place to work," says Anand.

Utilizing technology to achieve that goal has kept Anand at Hewitt for 25 years.

It's also helped him make Hewitt's technology group a great place to work.

Bits & Bytes

Sandee Kastrul, co-founder of i. c. Stars, hosts her third annual Big Bang event today at Northwestern University's Law School. NU computer science professor, Kris Hammond keynotes the event, which focuses on defining the shape of tomorrow's IT organization. I. c. Stars provides technology and leadership training for inner-city adults.

*Michael Mikolajczyk, founder of Catalyst Capital Management, and Rus Zitny, COO of LTW, were appointed to the board of the Illinois Technology Development Alliance last week.

Michael Krauss is a Chicago area tech writer and consultant.

 

 ©2005 Marion Consulting Partners