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Guy Kawasaki; insights for everyone

Guy Kawasaki has learned from those who have participated and contributed to industry defining shifts. He was at Apple twice in his career and is now sought by organisations to assist how they will evolve and potentially disrupt. Guy is forthright with his views and offers sharp insights: ‘I am 58 now and two-thirds dead; why should I be concerned about what people think’. Here is what I have learned from attending several of Guy’s keynotes.

Make meaning rather than money When clarifying your meaning, it should achieve at least one of these three factors:

  • Increase the quality of life

  • Right a wrong

  • Prevent the end of something good.

When considering changing, avoid taking action until you find meaning. Then, check to see if at least one of the three above factors is the meaning behind the action.

Make a mantra There are too many MBAs in the world, i.e. people who have their Masters of Business Administration. These smart people make organisations complex, and this is always a risk in any large organisation. Use life and learning from others to simplify your education. What is your mantra in a maximum of three words? Refine the mantra to become a compelling sense of purpose.

Jump to the next curve Avoid iterating, always aim to be at least ten times better, and think completely differently. Build products and services you love that have true meaning. Who has the best ideas? We have seen people under the age of 30 who are trying to solve a personal problem. Generally, this is something that really annoys them. Consider Uber, which was put together after the founders couldn’t get a late-night taxi in Paris.

Don’t be afraid of polarising people and standing up for something you believe in. Sometimes, this results in people loving what you are doing, while others dislike it. Aim to avoid neutrality and indifference. Find soulmates, your band of brothers and sisters, as these people will pick you up when you are down! Remember that Jobs had the Woz, Gates had Paul Allen, and Google was founded by Larry Page and Sergey Brin.

Roll the dice Aim to be different and remembered. Consider that Reef’s ‘Fanning Sandal’ has a bottle opener on the sole; after you see it, you won’t forget it. Ensure the product and service is intelligent and think laterally; Mercedes Benz cars release a loud noise just before an accident because a louder noise is coming, so it protects your ears.

Think of the three Es:

  • End-to-end of your product and services

  • Empowering the user; Apple achieves this across multiple devices and the App store

  • Elegance, such as the Herman Miller chair, which looks great and is super comfortable.

Start from the bottom Avoid falling into the common trap of segmenting populations, calculating future revenue of only a % of the population and converting this to profit. Consider how you weave your ‘MAT’:

  • Milestones; for example, the design or shipping of a product is a milestone, whereas setting up an office is not. Avoid being distracted by the mundane. Basically, milestones are something you would tell everyone!

  • Assumptions need to be made. Consider sales efforts (calls and meetings), ROI, installation costs and anything else that contributes to the achievement of milestones.

  • Tasks are different to assumptions. What activities are undertaken for the assumptions to meet the milestones?

Become a storyteller regarding how you started, what you are doing and where you are going!

Don’t be perfect and iterate Not everything has to be perfect; if you don’t cringe when you look back at the first version of something, then it hasn’t been shaped fast enough. Be prepared to iterate quickly – version 1.1, 1.2 or 2.0.

Let 100 flowers blossom You are unable to control what people will use, so avoid limiting your breadth. Apple only exists today due to its publishing software, which kept Macs selling in the early days. What Apple didn’t realise at the time was that their spreadsheets and other software weren’t the key and wouldn’t be. Be prepared to do a lot of things; throw it at the wall and see what sticks.

Value and Uniqueness Consider two matrices: value and uniqueness. There’s no point being unique without value, as nobody will be interested. Having value without uniqueness equals competition and reducing margins. When value and uniqueness intersect, businesses endure and margins can be maintained and increased.

Nail your pitch; I pitch, therefore I am Steve Jobs was potentially the world’s greatest ever pitcher. Did Jobs create great products, or was he great at telling you that you needed the product? Guy thinks it is the latter. When pitching, customise your introduction, use pictures and think locally and personally about those attending. Connect with people rather than target populations. Supporting materials? Great pitches have a formula of 10 slides for 20 minutes with 30-point font, nothing smaller. Steve Jobs only used 200-point font.

Don’t let the bozos grind you down Be careful who you listen to and ‘inoculate yourself from bozos’. Guy explains that bozos are people who continue with what that they have always done, achieving the same ordinary results. In addition, be careful of those who have been successful once; sometimes people get lucky and are not smart.

Finally, Guy ends by saying: ‘let’s pity those who are neither lucky or smart’.


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