What you need to know about Guy Kawasaki

Richard Branson polishes Guy Kawasaki's shoes

Guy is currently on vacation. I tried sending him an interview request, and a responder replied. Plus I also saw on Google+ another person asking for the interview. So that wont work. I will try to get to the person that got the investment from Guy so I can reach him, but that means more research. Every step. Hustle! Research! Hustle! Work smart – work hard. Hustle!

What do you need to know about Guy Kawasaki?

Guy Kawasaki - Garage Ventures

Guy Kawasaki – Garage Ventures

He loves rottweilers. How do I know? Well, I’ve read 3 of his books (The art of the start, Enchantment: The Art of Changing Hearts, Minds, and Actions and What the Plus!: Google+ for the Rest of Us, watched several presentations,  follow him on 4 major social networks and have his picture in my room (to remind me every morning not to be a bozo). So yes, Guy has a bloodhound/Rottweiler, I am sorry I can’t remember his name, and I am not sure Google will help you with this one.

Now you also know why Guy loves to talk about selling dog food online. Pets.com, epets.com, dogfoodonline.com and many others. There’s no need for me spending time about their patent pending, curve jumping, paradigm-shifting, service with revolutionary SEO strategies. But you should know that Guy survived online dog food, and the .com bust. He also likes to say you need to eat your own dog food. Let me explain what he means by that.

My startup delivers information about domain names. We still haven’t launched, the system isn’t ready. I am using the faulty prototype, and with it I have signed our first client. Our client isn’t actually using WhoAPI, I am using it, and the first client is the end user. The client isn’t technically aware of full possibilities of our project, but he is aware of the benefits and wants to use them. I have a rottweiler. I eat my own dog food and it’s not even cooked yet.

He loves ice hockey. I am not really sure where one can play ice hockey in San Francisco or Hawaii (where Guy is Born), but if you want Guy’s attention, ice hockey is the right path. I am not sure what’s  his favorite team, but I am not here to speak about hockey either. I have two great hockey analogies for you. First one was used both by the late Steve Jobs, and Guy Kawasaki and of course the legendary hockey player Wayne Gretzky. He said:”I skate to where the puck is going to be, not where it has been.“. Wow, now that’s profound. Use this in your business, and especially in the technology. Never do what everyone else is doing, see the future, and see where the industry and the markets are going. Invent!
There were people that were cutting and delivering ice, then there were companies that were producing and shipping ice cubes, then there are people like Einstein who invented refrigeration (Szilard-Einstein refrigeration patent) and companies who built refrigerators, and you will have companies in biotech that will make food that doesn’t need freezing. That’s curve jumping, skating where the puck is going to be.

The other hockey analogy I learned from Guy Kawasaki is that of an ice resurfacer. In his presentation Guy uses the term “Zamboni” which is the most popular brand. What the ice resurfacer does it removes all the lines, and irregularities from the ice. It creates an intact ice, perfection. Similar to first snow, where no one set foot. This is the same as a new company. It’s not ruined by the logo your aunt made. It’s not ruined by nagging customers who want a discount, or by a lousy service you provide. Guy says that at that point (fresh ice, new company) is also difficult to set priorities. I don’t have to say how much I agree to this, because you have to agree to everything that Guy says (unless one thing, which I will leave for the end). He was the Macintosh evangelist, and part of the team around which the universe revolved, and one must respect that. Your focus must go towards the things you will be proud to share with your spouse. Why spouse? Well Guy celebrates women, and in all his books he is referring to “she”, rather than “he” when he wrote. This is his way of repaying them. You know what? This wouldn’t be a Guy Kawasaki post if I didn’t do the same.

Maybe that’s the reason Guy loves to fly Virgin? On a more serious note – this is what happened.

Backstage in Moscow. Richard Branson is speaking before me. He asks me if I ever fly Virgin; I admit that I never have. He asks me to try it. I say to him:  “If Richard Branson asks me, I guess I have to.” He then gets on his knees and starts polishing my shoes with his jacket in order to convince me. Can it get any better than this?

Richard Branson polishes Guy Kawasaki's shoes

Richard Branson polishes Guy Kawasaki’s shoes

So, there you have it. When was the last time you polished your prospective client shoes? Maybe today is a good day to start. Lot’s of people use some company’s products just because of the way their CEO/owner behaves. I am sure you can find examples in your lives. Be that CEO.

I have never flown with Virgin Atlantic because I can’t afford it, and I was never on a flight longer than 3 hours. But, I will one day. I’ve read Richard Branson’s autobiography “Losing my virginity” and it inspired me. I love inspiring people, and I love to inspire other people (or at least try). I also love successful high school/college dropouts, they are like that statistical spike that no one can explain. Flying Virgin Atlantic, increases your chances of bumping into Guy Kawasaki by 0.0000001% and it also gives you a common topic with your favorite VC. You won’t bump into Richard Branson, he flies with an air balloon, or water skies.

Guy loves his family. He has 4 children, and I cannot begin to explain the respect I have for successful business people (especially investors) that have children. This also means Guy turned down a job offer from Yahoo, that he says cost him 2 billion dollars. So, if Guy doesn’t invest in you, don’t take it to your heart. He has Meniere’s disease, and he can always say he didn’t hear you right. Hint, if you are are a startup that helps people with Meniere’s disease, go for it. Guy likes to joke about his condition, and that he got it from hearing lousy pitches. What’s a lousy pitch?

As I previously said not only that I have Guy Kawasaki’s picture, I also have Richard Branson’s picture.

As I previously said not only that I have Guy Kawasaki’s picture, I also have Richard Branson’s picture.

Enter the bozos. A bozo by Steve Jobs’s and Guy Kawasaki’s definition is a person who… for example, reads of the slides. When you give a presentation, DO NOT, I repeat, DO NOT, read of the slides. The slides are not there for you to be your crutch, you must know your shitake. (Shitake is a word Guy often uses) They are there to help people understand what the heck you are talking about. A picture is worth a thousand words, right? Use pictures, use videos! If you want to create inspiring presentation read Carmine Gallo’s book The presentation secrets of Steve Jobs. It helped me tremendously! When I gave my first presentation it was of bozosity (you see you can use this as an adjective) proportions. And then one day, I gave a presentation to about 50-70 college students. First thing I said  I am not going to talk about my startup because it’s really technical and niche, and they wouldn’t understand any of what I said. I then proceeded with the 20 minute presentation about investors, inspiring companies like Apple, Zappos, and Simon Sinek. The first question from the audience after the presentation was: “What is it exactly that your company does?”. I am not telling you this to brag, but to give you an example that this stuff works! Don’t be a bozo, don’t read of the slides, remain eye contact, people want to be inspired. Guy Kawasaki also has a 10-20-30 rule. 10 slides, 20 minutes, 30pt font. Do just this, and you are better than 50% presenters. As you might have guessed, Guy doesn’t love bozos, in fact, he sets his Rottweiler on them.

One does not simply buy a Porsche.

One does not simply buy a Porsche.

Every man loves his car (no matter what they tell you). Guy drives a Porsche. One does not simply buy, drive, have a Porsche. It is a special connection. Guy often posts photos of his Porsche, of the replacement Porsche they send him, and when he goes to the track to drive a special Porsche. Tip, respect the Porsche.

One last thing. Whatever you do, if Guy Kawasaki says your startup sucks, don’t believe him. He said so himself. As a matter a fact, don’t believe anyone like him. He says, the most dangerous people for your startup are VC’s who say they won’t invest in you, and that your startup sucks.

Some VC funds even display their anti-portfolio, and there you can find companies like Apple, Google, etc. Thing is, hitting a jackpot with an investment is close to gambling. A barefoot guy on LSD, and a guy wearing flip-flops are responsible for the creation of Apple and Facebook. The asocial guy responsible for the creation of the biggest social network. Seriously, are you kidding me? Richard Branson was a dyslexic who didn’t get through high-school. How do you find the courage to invest in people like that? There are no analytic skills that can tell you where to invest for a big return. Go with your gut feeling. Why is going with your gut feeling the right thing to do? Well read Simon Sinek’s Start with Why: How Great Leaders Inspire Everyone to Take Action, and Malcolm Gladwell’s “Blink: The Power of Thinking Without Thinking“.

I have been an Internet entrepreneur since 2006. Co-founded and sold a small web hosting business. I am the CEO of WhoAPI and Webmaster.ninja. I also own 25 small websites in various niches.
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1 Comment
  • Sunil Wijeyesinghe

    Guy Kawasaki is a benevolant guy.I’d like to know whether he can outme in touch with a foreign partner seeking online writing talent.


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