- Oh boy. this interview with Guy Kawasaki is one of the best I have done in recent months along with Neil Patel's interview. Read it and watch it here! ⚡
I don’t think Guy needs any introduction. As the bio on his website goes, and I write:
Guy Kawasaki is the chief evangelist of Canva, an online graphic design tool. He is a brand ambassador for Mercedes-Benz and an executive fellow of the Haas School of Business (UC Berkeley). He was the chief evangelist of Apple and a trustee of the Wikimedia Foundation. He is also the author of The Art of the Start 2.0, The Art of Social Media, Enchantment, and nine other books. Kawasaki has a BA from Stanford University and an MBA from UCLA as well as an honorary doctorate from Babson College.
Enjoy watching and reading his interview!
Gerard: Well just for everyone everyone knows Guy Kawasaki he doesn’t need an introduction he’s one I would say who created and expanded the word of evangelist around the world and work for Macintosh but I think most important he has one of his latest books is WISE GUY and I’m sure he will be able to share a few words about it and most importantly is he’s the chief evangelist at CANVA, board member at cheesy and Brand Ambassador at Mercedes.
I love it I love it so just digital now if you coming like the hard stuff, Guy Kawasaki, thank you for being here in the show. I just feel like I’m like, all this love that you transmitting where these come from is it because of where you come from and where these core values coming from you.
Guy: You know you very seldom meet unhappy people from Hawaii and I have four wonderful children and wonderful wife for me well what do I have to complain about I’m a happy guy I’m a lucky guy.
Gerard: When did you notice that you are a happy person?
Guy: I’ve never felt like I was unhappy that one day I turned happy. I’ve never been on him and when we work for companies, for example, myself that you have those moments that you don’t feel fulfilled what recommendations you have all change it all man you know. I’ve been fortunate so, first of all, I work for our Apple twice right so that’s like working at Disneyland and getting paid and then I started my own company I’m not this is not the same at Apple. You know I went through layoffs and at my own company we had to layoff so there were difficult times but I can’t tell you that there was ever a time where I was just totally angry and depressed and all that I’ve had a charmed life what can I say you know maybe not as charming as I don’t know John I’ve or Steve Jobs but yeah it’s
Gerard: Probably Guy, you don’t remember the bad times and you just remember the good times because getting by to get layoff from some companies you can develop great stress.
Guy: I think a lot of it is my advice is try not to let the external factors determine whether you’re happy or not you should come internally.
Gerard: I love it and is it that comes a lot from Apollo Pono? I’ll share with you on a personal level um is it surfing helping you like to relax a lot and a personal life.
Guy:: I mean you know I’ve taken I surf for about four years and surfing has definitely changed my life. I just love to surf but before that did I saw you and I played ice hockey for about 14 years and I loved it. I just love ice hockey so you know I don’t work for a company in the sense that I go in every day and supervise people or I am supervised, I speak all over the world when I want you to know where I want and when I’m not traveling for speaking I’m at home with my family and surfing so you know life is good.
Gerard: How many times do you have to visit the office of Canva and other offices, like once a month?
Guy: No for Canva, I go to the office in Australia once a year one thing yeah yeah and so Michael this is primarily out word for canvas so my job is to make sure people understand that Canva has democratized design and can make anybody an effective designer and that’s a very easy message to tell so this is called Guys golden touch, so, guys, golden touch is whatever is gold guy touches and
Gerard:: Apple democratized computing. Do you think Mercedes will democratize cars?
Guy: Mercedes is not democratizing
Gerard: Mercedes is not democratizing so what are you basically doing there?
Guy: Well for Mercedes just being a visible person who drives a Mercedes so the brand ambassador program they have Garret McNamara who’s a world-class big wave surfer they have a woman who was the first female f1 driver,, they have it’s an opera star so they have an athlete. Oh Roger Federer so they have those kinds of people and yeah you see Roger Federer driving a Mercedes you know you wanna drive our Mercedes I don’t know if you see Guy Kawasaki driving Mercedes you want to drive a Mercedes – but that’s what they think happens so I’m not gonna change their minds
Gerard-okay it sounds amazing and what’s the normal day for Guy Kawasaki?
Guy: Well during the summer you know I get up at about 6 o’clock I go to a coffee shop answer email do some social yeah then I go surfing and then I come back and I eat and then I do more email social media and go surfing and then I and then I go sleep
Gerard: Do you meditate?
Guy– No nothing
Gerard: You sound so profound and like I needed ten hours of meditation before I need speeches and everything I’ve to remember when we started FTL we some a few years ago what we did is the art of pitching and it’s like these 10 slideshows to make a perfect pitch and everyone’s like we were preparing our pitch page based on what you were saying and what recommendations you can give to any startup for when they are about to pitch well
Guy- First of al stepping back a little bit you know the reason for a startup is not to raise money the reason for a startup is to make customers and in order to make customers, you need funding so a pitch and funding is a means to an end it’s not the end in itself think it’s so focused on pitching that that’s all they can do and they think that you know once they are successful with pitching and raise money that you know the hard part is done actually that’s when the hard part starts. so so again remember that the goal is to make customers not raise money the second thing is I think that people are ties their company’s wrong the most important thing a start-up can do is finish a prototype, because without a prototype you know you may be just a pitch and while that may help you raise money you know like I said that’s when the hard hard work begins so focus on the prototype it’s all about shipping and in a perfect world you know you could bootstrap your company without raising money and ship that would be even better
Gerard: You’re talking I think the philosophy you have with Zappos and you talk a lot about it and it’s building the trust and if you can expand more on that?
Guy :You know I think the most important lesson of Zappos is you know what comes first customers trust you so you trust the customers or you trust the customers so the customers trust you and I think the answer is very obvious that Zappos proves that the illness or the burden is upon the company so the company has to trust its customer before the customers will trust its company and that’s just the order of things so you know if you’re waiting for the day where everybody trusts you so you can trust them that day is not gonna happen you have to them first
Gerard: it’s getting out so far out of your comfort zone. I’m putting your balls in their hands like squeeze them if you want, isn’t it? I love the fact that you say vision and you put some examples you know like getting to recreate the best CEOs the board meetings go to like a place just to make the vision of the company how an amazing vision is provided is made in any company.
Guy: The vision word is probably overused that you know people think that it’s a matter of genius and you know it’s liking boat hits you from the sky. I think the better start for a company is you make a product that you want to use and come about other people want to use it too now after you’re successful you can tell all you want about how you had this man vision and you know you saw the future and all that but at the start of a company you know Steve and WOZ tried to make an Apple one that they wanted to use Canva made a product so that they could create graphics for easily and then you know if you’re successful than their hallelujah say that you wanted to democratize computing or whatever but for two guys in a garage two gals in a garage a guy in a gal in a garage just finish the friggin prototype man and you know nobody gives a shit about your vision just finish the prototype
Gerard: I know but then how much slack how much luck it’s you talk a lot about luck and be lucky is it lucky a part of anyone’s success
Guy: You know very seldom luck comes to someone who has finished the prototype let me just put it that way right so I’m not trying to say that your corporate strategy should be “be lucky” because that’s not exactly actionable but if you finish your prototype and your ship and you revise and you support your customers guess what probably fortune will smile upon you mmm yeah and I love it you just make sure inspiration that you work in a way no problem because you used to say and in a ways that make sure you’re working it’s not the luck is never going to come.
Gerard-Few people have asked as a question about how to treat competition shall we love them, shall we hate them. shall we copy so inspire what recommendations we have about it you should do all of the above I mean?
Guy: Okay first of all generally speaking I think should not acknowledge the competition publicly that is that’s amazing you know you should not if you’re a car manufacturer you don’t say okay we wanna you know destroy Mercedes destroy Tesla destroy BMW, destroy Porsche because I don’t think that people get up in the morning who buying a car saying man I want to help this manufacturer destroy BMW you know people want to get a great car they don’t want to have you destroy the competition so you know why are you trying to position yourself as you’re destroying the competition. Having said that I’m not saying you should be unaware of what the competition does so you know you can want to destroy the competition you just should not say that publicly the goal if you you know let’s say that you really you know you really wanted to destroy the competition for some reason that was your whole goal in life which is pretty sad but you won’t go down that hole well the best way to destroy your competition is to succeed as opposed to do something to the competition you should do something for people and so you know so you should you know internally acknowledge your competition. I would never take them on publicly I would never denigrate them publicly you should look at what they do and copy the good stuff and avoid the bad stuff and you know your competition is also meant to the air
Gerard- I love it and sometimes I love this new I will put this on, I acknowledge the competition when I’m talking to people and I think it’s important yet I have hunter, Voila Norbert. They are also saying what you’re saying because when I say we are helping the end-user they’re helping me to do my vision better which is help 1 million businesses to find the email of the future best customers but what you saying is also make sense you know just do your part and ignore them in a way
Guy: Yeah I mean you know how often do you mention MailChimp
Gerard: I acknowledge my competitors. What are you in to? SaaS or Tech?
Guy: Yes I would say that I am a marketer but the foundation is a product so I can market a good product right, not market crap I mean some people believe there are such great marketers they could market crap. I am NOT one of those people and I don’t think it’s possible so…
Gerard: We’re meaningful companies it is probably the best marketing isn’t it?
Guy: Well yeah I mean that’s why apple succeed right because it has great products saying you’re a marketing company is negative because it is crap. In a way, this is called guys golden touch and guys golden touch is whatever is gold I touch that’s very different than saying whatever I touch turns to gold
Gerard: We consider FTL a company that helps people to send emails with love. That sounds spammy but we are a company that helps a business to get its best customers. Do you know such companies that are known for making a difference to their users’ life?
Guy: Well I mean you know you could make the case that Salesforce which is CRM is empowering people to be successful right and true CRM so you know is it is it quote-unquote just a datum this or is it empowering people or empowering companies to succeed and say you could say that about Apple you know there’s Apple sell devices or those Apple make you more creative and productive and I think you know that’s the way you should look at it
Gerard: Yeah a little bit it’s the “why” You know what, Simon Sinek talks a lot about the “why”?
Guy: Why we’re doing it? but there are so many different whys right I mean listen not everybody is Mother Teresa and trying to make the world a better place well I think it’s a continuum, so at one end you have investment bankers who just don’t give a shit about anything and at the other end you know these not-for-profits were this should be Saints so to just kind of be in the middle of it
Gerard: I know you have surfing time and I don’t want to take that out yeah. Just to let everyone know Guy has been probably the easiest person to reach who’s been in the show he’s been answering all the emails faster than I just like it’s just, first of all, thank you because you’re just an amazing person to interview he’s number one I’m secondly guy just to finish it up two things one book that you’ve to recommend and one life hack that
Guy: I recommend is a book code if you want to write by Brendan Uelend it’s a book for writers but really you can substitute any creative, and ever writing so it’s about releasing your inner writer, your inner entrepreneur your inner email marketer, you know whatever it’s about creativity and forthcoming so that’s the book I would recommend life hack in any form of life
Gerard: Whatever you decided you throw it out there and we put it in our list.
Guy: Okay so when you have garlic and you want to get the outer shell off the garlic you put the garlic cloves in a bowl and then you hold a plate over the bowl and you shake it for a minute and then it looks like shiny stuff will come off and you’re gonna have perfect garlic cloves left after shaking
Gerard: I’ve been sending an email to Marc Benioff saying Mark I hope one day you buy my company let’s have coffee and I’ve been sending it just real love emails to him. I love him really never got an answer but you know one day maybe he’s answered me if you know him it will be amazing.
Guy: So I’ll give you a little tip okay. in technology companies are not sold bought yeah what I mean by that is you cannot call Marc Benioff up and say you should buy my company that just you know and I like every day probably people send an email to Tim Cook saying Oh Apple would be so much better if it bought my company right because I make shrimp farming software for iOS you know whatever thing you do so that’s not how it works. The way it works is Tim Cook or Marc Benioff has to figure out or be told by someone inside Salesforce or Apple you should buy this company we need this company our customers are using this company this company would you know fill a hole in our product offering so the wake up is our sold is that the company that is doing the buying has figured out they need you that the company that is being sold has figured out they need the buyer so what you have to do is make such a great company that Marc Benioff calls you up that’s the test because email ain’t gonna work
Gerard: This is like I have to spot in here man I love I just think you suck I love the state man I love and
Guy: I have a question, I am thinking to start a podcast. Do you think I should start a podcast?
Gerard: I’m going to help you yes you should do a podcast Guy,one number one let me tell you three rules let me give you do a podcast talk to your five closest friends interview them and that’s it, man, you good to have like thousands of people doing it and you know people if they start podcast
Guy: But you know everyone these days want to have a podcast!
Guy: Yeah but you know what you are like the probably the happiest person I know who wrote books amazingly and everyone I mean everyone wants to have like this huge smile that you have and then you are in SAAS you’re in tech and me and in tech and smart I love to listen about this podcast yes I am I’m going to send you some a note whatever you need for the podcast man if I can have a group with 16,000 people you can have a group with like no time with the million people in the podcast and it’s just for fun from we doing for fun and I’m very sure you will enjoy the fun guy thank you very much for being in the show and let’s see you very soon oh by the way if I sell my company with the strategy that you say I certainly will come to visit you and hopefully do a lot of dinners and stuff with you.
Time Stamped Keynotes
[00.31]-Gerard introduces Guy Kawasaki
[00.51]-He is Chief Evangelist at Canva, a board member at cheesy and brand ambassador of Mercedes
[01.21]-He is always happy because he is from Hawai, and people there are rarely unhappy
[02.25]- Guy has worked for apple twice.
There was rarely a time when he was unhappy or depressed
[03.31]-Do not let the external factors determine whether you are happy or not
[04.31]-Guy speaks all over the world whenever he wants
[04.55]-He goes to Canva’s office in Australia once a year
[05.05]-His objective with Canva is to make sure that people understand that Canva has democratized designing.
It can make anybody a great designer
[05.17]-Guy talks about “Guy’s golden touch.”
[06.18]-Mercedes has a lot of athlete brand ambassadors, including Roger Federer.
[07.04]-Guy Kawasaki talks about his summer routine
[08.13]–The reason for a startup is not to make money, it is to create new customers
[08.26]-Startups think that the hardest part about a startup is to get fund, but that’s where the hardest part starts
[08.54]-The most crucial thing a company can do is to finish a prototype
[09.28]-Guy’s philosophy with Zappos is to build trust
[09.59]-Company has to trust its customers before customers trust the company
[11.04]-Guy thinks that the word “vision” is overrated
The best thing for startups is to create a product that you want to use and ask people to use it too.
If you are successful, say whatever you want to say about the product
[12.02]–Nobody gives a shit about your vision. Finish your prototype first
[13.24]-You should not acknowledge the competition publicly, because your customer does not
[14.03]-Even if you want to destroy your competition, don’t say it publicly
[14.31]-If you want to outperform your competition, think more about your customers.
Copy the good stuff your competition is doing
[15.21]-Your competition helps you execute your vision better
[16.21]-Guy believes that he can market only an excellent product
[16.48]-Apple succeeds because it has unique products
[17.03]-Guy’s golden touch- whatever’s gold Guy touches
[18.35]-Salesforce is a tool that has empowered people to be successful.
[19.00]-Apple sells devices that have unleashed the creativity of its users. That’s how one should interpret it
[19.20]-There are so many different “WHYs.” Knowing “WHY” is not essential to be successful.
Not everybody is trying to make the world a better place.
[20.32]-Book recommendation: If you want to write by Brenda Ueland. It is about every creative endeavor
[21.11]-If you want the upper layer of garlic out, just put the garlic cloves in a bowl, cover it with a plate, and shake it up for 1 minute
[22.11]-In technology, companies are not sold; they are bought.
[23.09]- CEO’s of big companies would buy your company in case they have figured out that they need to buy it
Create such a company that CEOs are intrigued and ready to buy your company
[23.40]-Guy is thinking to start the podcast
[24.10]-5000 people start a podcast every day