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Today we’ll be speaking to Guy Kawasaki, former Apple Evangelist and current author, speaker, entrepreneur and marketer.
A Silicon Valley icon, Guy has had a long and successful career in marketing and tech, as well as helping to pioneer the concept of ‘business evangelism’.
In addition to his personal and professional accomplishments, Guy is well known for his connection to Apple, having been involved with the tech giants across two separate periods of employment, and was a member of Apple’s original Macintosh team from 1983 to 1987.
Currently the chief evangelist of Canva, an Australian online graphic design tool, he is also a brand ambassador for Mercedes-Benz, and an executive fellow of the Haas School of Business (UC Berkeley).
An accomplished author, he’s shared his insights and life lessons across 14 bestselling books, the most recent of which – Wise Guy: Lessons from a Life – is his most personal and revealing yet.
With this latest book a personal collection of experiences that have enlightened or inspired him, it includes a reflection of his years with Apple and his time working alongside Steve Jobs, which felt like the ideal place to start our interview.
Some of the topics we explore include:
There have been three major changes.
First, ubiquity of computers and Internet access. We had copper-wire based telephones, airplane tickets, gas credit cards, and fax machines back then. There wasn’t video conferencing, email, and everything else we take for granted today.
Second, social media was non-existent. The closest thing that eventually appeared was CompuServe and AOL. Social media is fast, free, and ubiquitous. It’s much easier to reach the masses.
Third, there’s Facebook. Say what you will about Facebook, there’s no better way to reach target markets than Facebook.
All told, how hard could it be to be a marketer today?
Apple changed the world by upping people’s expectations of ease of use and convenience of devices as well as how devices are purchased and serviced. There’s no going back on expectations at this point.
Apple has also set a high bar for itself. It’s not enough for Apple to merely stuff better chips, batteries, and SSDs into devices. People expect it to create new categories, not just evolve products. This is the true test – maybe the Apple Watch is an example of this.
But the point is that Apple has to create products that make people want to give up their Macs and iOS devices and wait overnight at Apple stores.
The mistake that companies continue to make is refusing to catalyse and embrace cannibalistic products.
Did you know that Kodak invented the digital camera in 1975? Have you used a Kodak digital camera lately? Have you used any Kodak product at all lately?
Can you imagine the Kodak engineer who did this approaching his management and telling them, “I made something so that people don’t have to buy film anymore!”? I bet that went over big, and yet the failure to embrace a cannibalistic product meant the demise of Kodak.
What companies have to grok (understand intuitively) is that the purpose of cash cows is to nurture calves – not to be ‘udderly’ drained dry.
First of all, that kind of study is dubious. Were the subjects college students earning credits?
It’s one thing to say they don’t care if 77% of everyday brands disappear, and it’s another to deal with this actually happening. I don’t believe this number.
That said, there’s no such thing as an indispensable brand. The sun will rise no matter what, and something will fill the vacuum. But the point of your question is not to dispute the question.
The way to create something that is at least very valuable to people is simple: great products or services that are well supported.
Bingo. That’s it. Easy to say, hard to do.
Can it be true that there are any marketers and business owners who have not embraced technology at all?
They’re still using landlines and fax machines?
My advice would be that they ask themselves if they want a future. I mean, maybe they just want to run a small business, retire at some point, and shut it down. That’s cool. That’s their prerogative.
But if they don’t want to be a Kodak, Blockbuster, or Remington-Rand, they need to get with it.
There are three keys to selling.
First, a great product.
Second, being trustworthy.
Third, great customer service.
Any two of the three is probably sufficient.
This is so easy to list, and so hard to do.
I can’t establish a direct line from a degree in 1976 to where I am today.
If you’re trying to say that I had a plan to go into marketing, so I majored in psychology, you’d be giving me too much credit.
I majored in psychology because it was the easiest major I could find at Stanford.
It’s more likely that I will become a professional surfer than I return to Apple.
I’ve never met Tim Cook, and he probably doesn’t even know who I am – or was. But running marketing wouldn’t interest me.
I don’t need to work there. I just want someone who asks these kinds of questions:
Mike Murray, the former director of marketing of the Macintosh Division came up with the title in the early 1980s.
It represents the belief that Macintosh wasn’t yet another personal computer. It was a religion – or at least a belief that there was a better way to design computers so that “the rest of us” could be more productive and creative.
You see, evangelism comes from a Greek word that means “bringing the good news.”
Macintosh was good news, not just a personal computer.
The key to stoking belief in your customers is quite simple: make a great product.
That’s 90 percent of the battle. If you do this, you won’t be able to prevent the creation of evangelists for your product.
This is a harder question than you might think. I’m a WYSWYG (What You See is What You Get) kind of guy. I don’t have any juicy secrets – in fact, my latest book, Wise Guy: Lessons from a Life, lays just about everything out there.
Here’s a tidbit: I’ve bought eight surfboards in the last three years. And this doesn’t count the three boards that were given to me.
It’s about $20.
Wise Guy is Guy’s most personal book. It’s not a traditional memoir but a series of vignettes. He toyed with calling it Miso Soup for the Soul because these stories (like those in the Chicken Soup series) reflect a wide range of experiences that have enlightened and inspired him.
For instance, you’ll follow Guy as he . . .
In total, Guy covers everything from moral values to business skills to parenting.
As he writes, “I hope my stories help you live a more joyous, productive, and meaningful life. If Wise Guy succeeds at this, then that’s the best story of all.”
Looking for more inspiration from the best and brightest minds in the industry?