The Marketing Wisdom of Guy Kawasaki


Guy Kawasaki is a likable guy. He was the chief evangelist for Apple when it was a company trying to find itself, he’s one of the most recognizable names in Silicon Valley, he’s written nearly a dozen books, and he has lots of tech-y feathers in his cap. But the guy has a way of making marketing, networking and project creation seem as easy as hanging out with friends.

Last night, as part of the Santa Cruz New Tech Meetup event series, Kawasaki came to Santa Cruz to talk about the ideas in his latest book, Enchantment: The Art of Changing Hearts, Minds, and Actions. Throughout the event he dropped countless ideas, tips and nuggets of wisdom. I imagine most of them are in Enchantment (I haven’t read it yet), but here are some of my key takeaways from his presentation.

Default to Yes: Most people default to no when asked to do something, suspicious that they’ll be taken advantage of. The benefits of defaulting to yes far exceed the downside of being taken advantage of.

Trust People: The way to be trusted is to trust.

Be a Baker: Eaters see the world as a zero sum game. If there are only so many pieces of pie and people are eating them, it only leaves so much for me. Bakers don’t see the world that way. If the world needs more pie, bakers bake more pie…and cookies and cake etc.

Great Stuff is DICEE: A great product is Deep, Intelligent, Complete, Empowering and Elegant. Make great stuff.

Tell a Story: Everyone’s using the same adjectives to describe their new, better, faster, scaleable product. Don’t use the same old adjectives, tell an interesting story.

Plant Many Seeds: It used to be that the end goal was to get a media giant to endorse your product. No more. These days, the playing field has been leveled. Kawasaki kept returning to the fact that @lonelyboy15, who lives at home and sleeps under Buzz Lightyear sheets just may be the factor that makes your product tip.

Hit the Right Points: Don’t talk about how many gigabytes your product has, tell us how many songs it can hold. Don’t talk about dollars, talk about how those dollars can pay for a month of food for a family.

Build an Ecosystem: Going along with planting many seeds, you also need an ecosystem. This can include user groups, blogs, conferences, resellers, evangelists etc.

Smile with Your Eyes: People can see through a fake smile that begins and ends with your jaw. Let your smile take over your eyes too. Embrace those crows feet!

Invoke Reciprocation: When you help someone out, let them know how they can help you out.

Present Better: When giving a presentation, keep it to 10 slides, 20 minutes and a 30 point font size. Customize the presentation to your audience and sell your dream, not the product’s specs.

Provide Value: Provide so much value, in fact, that when it’s time to ask people to buy your product, they’re happy to give. Great ways to provide value include sharing information, insights and assistance.

Enchant Up and Enchant Down. Drop everything else to what your boss says, and don’t ask the people who work for you to do something that you wouldn’t do.

Prototype Fast: Get something out there. It shows that you’re working.

Deliver Bad News Early: That thing we do, where we avoid sharing bad news in the hopes that it might get fixed, doesn’t work. Get the bad news on the table early so you can deal with it.

Don’t Sell Crap: It’s easier to enchant people with great stuff than with crap.