This evening I went to Lighthouse Venture Forum’s premiere event at Peachwoods restaurant, with special speaker Guy Kawaksaki (former Apple Fellow, CEO of garage.com, and author of Rules for Revolutionaries, The Macintosh Way, and other classic books). The place was filled with nearly 200 people, many of them CEOs of local companies such as Aladdin Systems, Thuridion, Tartan Technologies, and many others; I recognized a number of SVP’s printing customers. Guy’s presentation was amazing. He has such a flare for speaking, so relaxed and comfortable and witty he makes you feel the same. Nearly every sentence out of his mouth was a clever phrase, designed for you to remember (such as “Eat like a bird, poop like an elephant” — his way of saving absorb information and spread it around, not just in your own company, but in your entire industry). He actually gave several presentations (each about 15 minutes), and he had a question-and-answer follow-up. Full of excellent tips on entrepreneurship, business development, and securing venture capital funding, he had the crowd laughing at his great stories and hilarious examples of business stupidity (including making fun of both Microsoft and Apple, calling “Apple Marketing” an oxymoron, and saying, “If Apple had licensed the Mac OS in 1987 the desktop market would be 95% Mac and 5% Linux.”). Guy managed to offend most of the audience in one way or another, making Santa Cruz, women, men, guys with goatees who drive German cars and wear Armani, and other groups the butt of his jokes. It was hilarious, considering the CEO of Thuridion, founding member of the conference, drives a German car and has a goatee! (Even better was Guy’s attack on Herman Miller chairs: he declared that if a start-up buys Aeron chairs they are guaranteed to fail. In fact, he’s banned them at garage.com. I was at the Thuridion table, where the CEO was turning purple: everyone at Thuridion has an Aeron chair!) Note that Guy handled all this very well — when he realized the event’s sponsor had Aeron chairs he tried to use a different chair in his example, but finally gave up and picked on Herman Miller anyway. It was all in fun, but made a serious point about not wasting money just for the impression money creates. If you ever get the chance to hear Guy speak, take it. You’ll remember it for the rest of your life!