Guy Kawasaki: The Art of Empowerment

Here is a man who greatly contributed to democratizing computers. He is now democratizing design and information. Why? Because his mission to empower people. This is about "The Art of Empowerment.”


Guy Kawasaki: Evangelist, Author, Speaker

Guy Kawasaki is the chief evangelist of Canva , an online graphic design tool that democratizes design. Additionally, he is on the board of trustees for the Wikimedia Foundation, a brand ambassador for Mercedes Benz USA, and an executive fellow of the Haas School of Business (UC Berkeley). He helped Steve Jobs change the world as the chief evangelist of Apple. He has extensive experience in the tech industry as an evangelist, entrepreneur, and investor. He shares his wisdom with people through giving speeches and writing books (The Art of the Start, APE: Author, Publisher, Entrepreneur, Enchantment, and nine other books). He is without a doubt one of the most inspiring speakers in the world. In this interview, Guy Kawasaki tells us about the essence of his life. 

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The Art of the Start 2.0
The Art of the Start 2.0
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The Art of Social Media
The Art of Social Media
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APE: Author, Publisher, Entrepreneur
APE: Author, Publisher, Entrepreneur
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-----For those who are not familiar with you, please tell us more about you. You have founded several companies, gained successful exits, and worked in huge corporations. How did you come to be an evangelist and what is involved in the role?


Evangelism comes from Greek words meaning “bringing the good news.” Evangelists bring the good news about a product or service. I originally brought the good news of Macintosh—how it increased people’s creativity and productivity. Now I am the chief evangelist of Canva, an online, tool. I’m bringing the good news about how graphics-design Canva can democratize design.



-----You engage in a number of keynote speeches every year and you have written more than 10 books. As a result, you often get a lot of media exposure. What motivates you to empower people?


It’s my calling. It’s what I enjoy doing. I want to leave this earth slightly better than when I got here by empowering people.



-----What is the greatest moment you have had in your career and why?


My greatest moment was probably the three years I worked in the Macintosh Division of Apple. We changed the world with Macintosh—it was enormously satisfying to help democratize computing.

-----When you start something new, like starting a new company, what is the first thing you think of and what is the first step you actually take?


The first thing to think of and do is to build a prototype and get it into the hands of people. This is more important than planning, pitching, and forecasting.



-----You have a deep understanding of social behaviour. Do you think people can truly evaluate the value of content or do they just follow what others follow? What do you need to remember when you deal with a large number of people?


People make instant judgements about the quality of content. The clues are the inclusion of an attractive graphic or short video, bulleted or numbered lists, and subheads. These are all functional clues—but they are good indicators of the quality of the content.


The social clues are also good indicators of quality. Social clues include the number of “likes,” comments, and retirees. By considering the functional and social clues, it’s easy to make a quick judgment about the quality of content.




-----Most people know the price of everything but the value of nothing. The price is visible and the value is invisible. Normally the majority of people cannot understand the value of great visions. People can understand figures given by a market as a price. How can you convert the value into the business?


I would not say that value is invisible. Value is the totality of the costs and the benefits. The costs are not only monetary but also support and training. The benefits are not simply getting the job done but also the pleasure and coolness of working with a product or service.

-----What does “be successful” mean to you? Who is the first person you can think of when you hear the word successful and why?


Success means making the world a better place. It’s not necessarily tied to money. Teachers, for example, make the world a better place and are highly successful in my book.



-----What is the greatest advice you have ever received and who gave it to you?


The best advice I ever got was to never ask people to do something that you wouldn’t do. This is applicable to customers, employees, and partners. Unfortunately, I don’t remember who gave me this advice!



-----If you could make a call to 20-year-old Guy Kawasaki, what kind of advice you would give to him?


I wish I had a bit more engineering in my background so that I understood product development better. In other words, I could tell when programmers are lying to me. I would also have lived in other countries besides the US when I was young.


-----If you could leave one message to make the world better, what would your message be?


The ultimate way to judge people is whether they made the world a better place. Everything else pales in comparison to this goal.