April 25, 2016 29 mins Download (MP3)


00:30 - Introduction
01:10 - Passion
03:00 - "Design is the disciplined version of what I am already doing"
04:05 - Struggles in Business
07:15 - Biggest Failure
10:45 - Habits
16:00 - Resources
17:15 - Life as an entrepreneur
18:00 - The Hard Thing About Hard Things
24:10 - Double Down, Technological Literacy, and Shut up and Get to Work
27:45 - Guy is a momma’s boy at heart. He loves his mom’s cooking!

Besides having a voice that you want to listen to for days on end, Guy Gunaratine is the Co-Founder of Storygami. Storygami is a video startup that allows video creators and publishers to add context to their videos. You can add image galleries, articles, and several call to action items straight into the video.

Guy is a product designer that spends most of his time in San Francisco. Originally he hails from the UK. Storygami was created by Guy and his cofounder Heidi, the business has been around for two years now.

Guy is a graduate of 500 Startups. Over past 10 years of Guy’s life has been pretty crazy. During most of that time, Guy was a filmmaker. During his nomad days, he met tons of wonderful people, got involved in rich conversations, and deep conversations. Although working on a startup is much different than the filmmaking lifestyle, Guy still tries to find time to channel that energy because it allows him to be more creative and motivated.

Guy noticed a very early on in his career that he was not a numbers person. During his early years of school, Guy was always drawn to something abstract or artistic. But it may not be the way you may be thinking, Guy was a poet!

Unlike most, Guy wasn’t an incredible web designer at first. It took him years of practice, but throughout his life there has always been an element of art. Guy started with writing, then art, website design, and then finally video. He laid the foundation and base to his studies, but eventually fine tuned these skills into what he’s doing know. Guy stated that “part of the reason why I (he) loves design so much is because it’s more like a craft and it’s something I’ve (he’s) always had to wrestle with…”

Besides design and art, another aspect of Guy’s success has been that he’s always surrounded himself around friends that are also critics. Although it may sound pretty seamless, transition from one craft to another, was challenging for Guy. “It’s good to have those people in check. Design specifically or something creative can lead you down a rabbit hole. You need those people there in your life to put yourself in check…”

When you work on something as hard as an entrepreneur, you may experience burnout. Guy was no different. Being the creative that he is, Guy experienced burnout rather quickly. So during the first part of the business it was difficult to allocate tasks because of funding issues and also that need for a personal touch. Guy focused all of his energy in one area of the business and by doing so the rest of his work went sour. He isn’t much of a micro manager, but one of the things Guy would like to work on is being able to delegate the smaller parts of the business. The 500 Startups graduate, allowed Storygami to get traction and the ability to gain funding.

Guy has an unusual way in starting his day. Guy wakes up from 5am-6am in the morning. Guy dedicates the first two hours of the day for himself. It allows him to get into a different headspace that is different than his startup.

Be sure to listen to this incredible interview with Guy Gunaratne. During the 18 minute mark, Guy discusses the term “Doubling Down on what makes us different and distinct.” By far some of the best advice that a young startup or even a seasoned vet needs to understand:


Double Down

As much as I want to transcribe every ounce of this section, I will not be able to do it justice. I strongly encourage you to listen/watch this interview from beginning to end. If you want to listen on the go, make sure you check out my SoundCloud profile.

Technological Literacy

“You don’t have to code! Being a designer I chose to learn code, but if you’re a marketer or growth hacker, it isn’t necessary to learn code. Learns as much as you needs to learn…”

If you’re getting into the world of tech “learn to speak the language. You don’t have to work in the trenches, but be able to speak the language at a level that is necessary. It’s up to you if you want to deleve into it deeper. Lastly, don’t let people make you feel bad if you don’t know how to do something technological… Just because you’re not good at tech, doesn’t mean you can’t work for or own a tech company. “Show value within the company in other ways.”

Shut up and get to work

If you feel like you’re talking to too much. Stop!” Guy loves to talk to people, he loves helping people, but as Guy eloquently says: “The main show happens when you’re alone!”