I went and saw Guy Kawasaki the other week. It was my first trip out to the University of New South Wales and they have just opened the Michael Crouch Innovation Centre
So nice. I sat on the lawn and had a coffee while Guy set up inside
Guy setting up to Periscope livestream off his iPhone
I see a lot of evangelists in my life (and I mean -a lot, one of the greats Dr Ravi Zacharias was also in Sydney the same week to packed auditoriums so it was all pretty amazing for me- it’s kind of my thing) but not many of the secular kind and Kawasaki is still one of the best.
His choppy, confronting ‘this is how we do things around here’ style holds your attention and makes you like him. Mainly because he actually has an opinion and something to say but also because he has great Apple war stories and a magnificent smile. He's a great communicator and everything screams of experience and time on the road.
Even though he was speaking under his new banner of startup Canva, it’s not hard to tell his true love is still Apple. It didn’t take long for the ‘what was it like to work for Steve Jobs’ stories to come out and as Guy confirmed ‘everything you’ve heard about Steve Jobs is true. He was a genius and terrifying and I thought he was going to fire me at every meeting.”
He had some great yarns and advice so I’ve selected three of my favourites:
1. Engineers think engineering is hard and therefore, everything else is easy - like say, sales and marketing. Engineers think you can hire any old person to do stuff that isn’t engineering.
I just about fell out of my chair with this one. I’ve experienced this ‘hire any old random to do marketing or finance or whatever because the clever people are the engineers’ mindset so I’m glad it wasn’t just me who had to explain that if your mate’s girlfriend wants a job in marketing perhaps she could go to university for six years and the work for 10 years and not get about 50 jobs she’s applied for and start at the bottom like everyone else (by that I mean me) had to. Preach it Guy.
2. You need to be exposed to certain levels of bozo-ness to create immunity. Be glad if you have had high levels of bozo exposure because it means you will be stronger and vaccinated against higher strains of bozo.
He included in this successful bozos can knock your confidence, such as Steve Jobs who didn’t always get everything right. By treating the bozo exposure as vaccination, you will be super awesome and able to resist even the most complex and aggressive forms of bozo-ness in the future. Excellent.
3. Everyone has said and done stuff that makes them cringe, so don’t let past cringes hold you back.
Sheryl Sandberg from Facebook also talks about her huge cringe moments in her book ‘Lean In’. I can put most of mine in the ‘trying too hard’ category which fitted well with Kawasaki’s definition of just not knowing what you don’t know. Cringe is a sign that you are mixing things up and trying new things so feel the burn of the cringe and don’t let it stop you trying again. Go the cringe.
It also made me realise I haven’t really found my true-love, career defining company yet so I’ve got that to look forward to. I’ve also been fortunate to hear from several executives on the tail end of their career, looking back and that always makes me think to pace myself, slow down and enjoy the journey if you want to still be speaking to university students in thirty or forty years time.