Business Philosophies to Live By - Guy Kawasaki

Business Philosophies to Live By - Guy Kawasaki

Have you ever met someone who is relentlessly positive but not in a cheesy way?  They seem to be magnets to others and see the possibilities.  Guy Kawasaki is that kind of person.  I had the privilege of meeting Guy at a dinner party in San Francisco in the mid 1990s.  He’s 66 now and the author of 14 books on marketing, entrepreneurship and his latest one is on life lessons he’s learned. He’s also a Chief Evangelist for Canva and was an Evangelist and Fellow at Apple. He’s a legend in Silicon Valley and his insights about life as well as building and scaling companies are invaluable. He has an approach I find refreshing and straightforward during this time of uncertainty.  

Barry Moltz of Small Business Trends sums up the Guy Kawasaki top lessons from his book, “Wise Guy: Lessons From A Life” :

  1. Start by paying it forward. Guy does not believe in starting a relationship out as “quid pro quo” or giving and always expecting something in return. He discusses how he started supporting brands like Mercedes Benz because he loved them and not because they paid him. He believes that “the upside for paying it forward exceeds the downside of being used…and it takes a lot less energy!” Guy insists that whenever you help others, it comes back to you tenfold eventually.
  2. By adding value, you will make money. Guy insists that great corporations are not just out to make a buck; they also want to make your life better.  He repeats that “if you improve people’s lives, you will probably also make money”
  3. The best leaders are humble: Guy recounts the time in Russia when Billionaire Richard Branson once polished Guy’s shoes to encourage him to fly Virgin Airlines. He believes that humility will take your company much farther than boasting.
  4. Don’t try to be like Steve Jobs: According to Guy, there have been so few business visionaries over the last century: Walt Disney, Steve Jobs, and Elon Musk. He describes how hard Jobs was to work for and laments that so many people want to be like the Apple founder. As Guy explains, “Being a hard ass is easy, being a visionary is hard”. 
  5. Learning is not an event. Guy supports the idea that learning is a process. This is why he started two very difficult things later in life; learning to play hockey at 48 and surfing at 62. He encourages entrepreneurs to define what new skills they are learning this year and every year to stay relevant.

In all his books, he talks about his time at Apple and working with Steve Jobs.  He said, “At Apple, you had to prove yourself every day, or Steve Jobs got rid of you”. Obviously Steve wasn’t the easiest person to work with but Guy admired his tenacity and his desire to “make a dent in the universe”. 

We are here to put a dent in the Universe

-Steve Jobs

Guy has helped so many companies grow and scale through his marketing acumen.

In his book, “The Art of the Start”, he outlines the 8 steps to starting a business:

1- Have meaning:  Without meaning, there is no money.  With all the companies he has invested in he talked about the founder having meaningful reasons for starting the company.

2- Develop your Mantra - not a Mission Statement.  See his 4-minute video below

3- Create something 10x better: Look around at how you can make something bigger to make an impact.

4- Find your soul mates: If you think differently, that’s OK. Find others who do the same and have similar interests and see the magic happen.

5- Establish a MAT (Milestones, Assumptions, Tasks):  These are goals but better because you can outline each one and see the results as you map out a game plan.

6- Niche Yourself:  Focus on a particular area and gain as much knowledge as you can about it to become an expert.  

7- Master Pitching: Love it or hate it, do it over and over to become comfortable.

8- Start bootstrapping: There are so many different “no code” tools in order to start on your idea right away.  Now more than ever, it’s time to release that idea stuck in your head.


Reviewed & Recommended:

This 50-minute video outlines his “Art of the Start” philosophy and all the elements needed to succeed.  It’s from 2013 but the principles remain the same

Guy Kawasaki - Must have Meaning

Guy has said, “Don't accept things the way they are - including about yourself.”  One of the most inspiring business leaders on TEDx.

Wise Guy--Lessons from a Life | Guy Kawasaki | TEDxPaloAltoSalon

Make a Mantra Statement - video

Guy Kawasaki-Don't Write a Mission Statement, Write a Mantra