Insights: Guy Kawasaki - Leading Through the Tech Revolution

Last week, I had the great pleasure of attending the SPU 2019 Downtown Business Breakfast with several clients and colleagues. We heard from successful entrepreneur and investor, Guy Kawaski about how to breakthrough in the tech revolution. He worked on the original Macintosh computer and estimates he missed out on $250 million turning down Steve Jobs. 😮

10 Takeaways for Breakthrough Innovation

  1. Make meaning: "Making money is a consequence of making meaning!" ~Steve Jobs

  2. Jump the next curb: Customers can only tell you what they want in terms of what you've already given them. If you define your business in a certain environment, you won't embrace innovation. Instead focus on the benefit you provide not the product or service itself.

  3. Don't worry, be crappy: "You can always hit the bulls eye if you draw it after the fact." In order to jump the curb, you're going to have to be happy with crappy. Not everything will work, but don't worry because the market is forgiving.

  4. Focus on merit: Another lesson Kawasaki learned from Jobs, who truly focused. In the 1980s when a Sony exec didn't want to negotiate with Susan Collins, Jobs was willing to walk away from the deal. He knew she was the best and wasn't going to compromise that.

  5. Polarize people: Apple is again a great example. People are either 1000% (yes, one thousand percent) Apple fans or 0% Apple fans. Don't be afraid to polarize people. The worst case is people not caring/indifference.

  6. Ignore naysayers: Kawasaki says there's two kinds of bozos. One is loser bozo - they're not dangerous because they can only impact other losers. The winner bozo (rich, famous, and powerful) makes you think they're smart. You're tempted to listen to their "bozosity," but don't - they may not be all that smart!

  7. Change your mind: We have a misconception that we'll be perceived as stupid or weak if we change our minds. In actuality, it's a sign of intelligence and courage. 

  8. Niche: Market based on your uniqueness and the immense value you bring.

  9. Let 100 flowers blossom.

  10. Churn, baby, churn: Innovation is a process, not an event. Learn to appreciate the churn.

Guy Kawasaki with his arms stretched out on stage at a podium.

Guy Kawasaki with his arms stretched out on stage at a podium.

Bonus: Tips for Perfecting your Pitch

You know my ears perked up when he said he had a few tips (particularly for those of you who will be pitching investors). I agree with all of theses and #2 was new to me. I'll definitely be sharing with clients from now on.

  1. Personalize your intro: Learn something about your audience and use that in your introduction. Kawaski says LinkedIn is a "God-send" for this research!

  2. 10, 20, 30 rule:

❇️ 10 slides/points (note, he gave us 10 points)

❇️ 20 minutes (talk track)

❇️ 30 point font (this will help keep you from using too much text)

3. Black background (for slides): It blends into the frame, shows gravitas, and is easier to read (think movie credits).

Use these three tips and you will stand out from 90% of the startup pitches out there!

We also got to take home a complimentary copy of Kawaski's newest book, Wise Guy. The learning/insights shall continue!

*Originally posted here.