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Guy Kawasaki has seen a lot and done a lot. He worked for Steve Jobs. Not once, but twice, and he turned down a third. He’s been a trusted advisor and evangelist for startups and Fortune 50 companies. He’s written 14 books. Richard Branson polished Kawasaki’s shoes. And, Branson used his own jacket as a shine cloth, all in an effort to get Kawasaki to fly Virgin Atlantic.
With stories like these and decades of experience in the tech industry, Kawasaki has learned more than a little about how the world works. He’s condensed much of his accumulated wisdom into his new book, Wise Guy: Lessons from a Life. The book is packed with practical takeaways for marketers, entrepreneurs, executives, and even people who aren’t sure what they are or want to be. A few nuggets caught my eye:
Motivation Can Be Anything. Conventional wisdom suggests that motivation should be intrinsic. It should come from inside you, or from the task itself. Kawasaki, in contrast, suggests you use whatever it takes to keep you going. He points out that his early motivation came from a love of fancy cars and a desire to own one. It began with using his father’s Cadillac for dates, and continued as he observed the exotic cars driven by the parents of his Stanford classmates. Wanting to have a great car might not have been a lofty goal, but it kept him studying hard. Kawasaki’s words:
Don’t worry about what motivates you. What’s important is that you are motivated.
Associate With Greatness. Kawasaki was Apple’s chief evangelist, responsible for convincing software developers and customers that the Mac was a platform worthy of their attention. He freely admits could not have succeeded if the product itself hadn’t been great. Kawasaki jokes about “Guy’s Golden Touch” – not that anything he touched turned to gold, but instead that he touched anything that was gold. His words:
It’s easy to get people excited about a great product; it’s hard to get people excited about crap.
Get Personal. Some of Kawasaki’s most interesting experiences and opportunities came from him being open about his personal interests. In one case, he joked in a speech at the Pentagon that he’d trade a sought-after Mac computer for a ride in a fighter jet. To his surprise, the commander of the Alaskan Air Command somehow learned of the offhand remark and invited him to Anchorage. His ride on an F-15E was an incredible and “mind-altering” experience. (It also briefly turned into a bribery investigation when someone reported his offer of a free computer to authorities.) This once-in-a-lifetime experience (and a far more personal connection to Air Force brass) happened only because Kawasaki expressed his interest in high-speed flying publicly. His words:
Make your personal interests known. This provides “hooks” to develop additional and deeper relationships.
Embrace Nepotism. The best opportunities don’t come from job search sites, they come from personal connections. In looking at his own career, Kawasaki points out that many key positions stemmed from the intervention of relatives and friends. His first job at a jewelry designer came via a friend of a friend. That later led to him taking over sales and honing the skills he’d later apply throughout his career. A Stanford classmate hired Kawasaki for the software evangelist position at Apple. A later role as advisor to the CEO at Motorola was based on a referral from an ex-Apple colleague. Kawasaki himself extends help to others when he can:
Help people and be generous. It’s good karma, and the nerdy punk intern may someday inherit, if not rule, the earth. Plus, your kids may need jobs.
Wise Guy is a window into Kawasaki’s life, packed with anecdotes and wisdom. Anyone, from new graduate to seasoned executive, will benefit from Kawasaki’s human insights and timeless advice.
February 28, 2019 at 12:50PM
Forbes – Entrepreneurs