Guy Kawasaki is positive, outgoing, easygoing, and full of lots of remarkably concrete, practical advice.
Last night I interviewed Guy in front of a crowd of about 100-150 young entrepreneurs at General Assembly San Francisco, in an event cosponsored by Draper University and Young Professionals of San Francisco (YPOSF).
I’m not exaggerating when I say this was the most entertaining, engaging, and useful “fireside chat” I’ve ever done.
There were several livestreams — this one was from Guy’s phone (which was operated by his daughter). Draper has a more high-res archived Guy Kawasaki livestream (interview in this one starts around 22:00).
Skip past the first couple of minutes (me finishing a beer, chitchat, introductions) and jump to the 8:00 mark to listen to Guy talk about how he got started, how important it is to learn how to *sell* stuff, what the secret to evangelizing a product is, and how to create a compelling VC pitch with his 10-20-30 rule. Plus, you get to hear his opinions on Trump, racism in Silicon Valley, raising children, what his ultimate purpose in life is, and even what he imagines heaven is like. It’s a fun, amazing conversation. Enjoy it!
A few quotes:
On first seeing the Macintosh: “When I first saw MacPaint and MacWrite … WYSIWYG, mouse-based, all this kind of stuff, it was as if the clouds parted and the angels started to sing. It was a religious experience.”
On the importance of learning how to sell (which Guy learned in the jewelry business): “Entrepreneurship can be divided into 2 simple processes: Somebody’s got to make it, and somebody’s got to sell it. … All you have to do is make it and sell it. If you’re not an engineer, you better be able to sell. And if you can’t sell, you better be an engineer.”
On evangelism: “Guy’s Golden Touch is not that whatever Guy touches turns to gold. Guy’s Golden Touch is whatever’s gold, Guy touches. … It’s very easy to evangelize something that is great, and it’s very difficult to evangelize something that is crap.”
On hard work: “I love to grind it out.”
On success in Silicon Valley: “What we do here is we throw lots of things at the wall, very few things stick, and then we walk up to the wall, and paint a target around whatever stuck, and say ‘I hit the bullseye.'”
On advice for entrepreneurs: “Number one: Focus on your prototype. … The goal of a company is to create customers, and the way you create customers is to ship a product or a service. If you do a good enough prototype, you never have to write a business plan.”
More advice for entrepreneurs: “Number two: You really don’t have to write a business plan. For an early stage startup, a pitch is good enough.”
Kawasaki’s 10-20-30 rule on PowerPoint pitches: “10 slides, which you give in 20 minutes. Minimum font 30 points. The bigger the font, the better the plan. … Steve Jobs used 190 point font. … If you want to make your presentation better, make your background black and your text white.” (It shows you know how to make a master slide and change the background color and text; it also looks better!)
On hiring: “You should hire people who complement you, who are different from you. … You need diversity. It increases your perspective, and it increases your ability to relate to customers, and vendors, and other employees.”
On humanity’s greatest challenge: “Global warming, because if we don’t contend with global warming, we’ll all be dead, and it won’t matter.”
On his life purpose: “I want to go down as someone who empowered people.”