Guy Kawasaki is a marketing legend, a venture capitalist, a renowned speaker, author of eight books, a famous blogger, and one of the original marketers of the Apple Macintosh. He is currently a managing director of Garage Technology Ventures, an early-stage venture capital firm. Accordingly, Guy Kawasaki lives and breathes trend spotting.
Guy Kawasaki is also a big fan of Trend Hunter. Earlier this month, he wrote an article on his blog titled "Trend Hunter Rocks!" In the article, he noted, "I don’t see why TrendHunter.com shouldn’t be as popular as TechCrunch, Engadet, and Boing Boing and Gizmodo."
In this interview, Guy sheds light on the importance of trend spotting, the keys to entrepreneurial success and his love for recreational hockey!
12 Questions with Guy Kawasaki
1. How did you decide to get involved in venture capital and what motivates you to continue?
I’m too old "to do," so I thought I would "fund." My personal mantra is "empower entrepreneurs," and that’s what a venture capitalist does, best case. Theoretically, anyway.
2. You’ve written eight books, which was your favorite to write, and why?
This is like asking a father which of his eight children is his favorite. The best answer is "whichever one the person has just read." I can be rightfully accused of writing one book eight times as opposed to eight books.
3. You’ve created your latest book, ‘The Art of the Start’, to be a the ‘definitive guide to anyone starting anything’. What steps have you taken to make sure the book has such broad appeal?
I’m on the board of a Montessori school and a para-church organization in addition to my venture capital activities. I’ve learned that the challenges of these types of organizations is pretty much the same as a tech startup: raising money, hiring, branding, shipping, and making money. For-profit or for-good companies have more in common than most people think.
4. In addition to buying your book, what is your most important pieces of advice to someone ‘starting anything’?
First, "just do it" for crying out loud. Stop thinking, reading, planning, testing, and waiting. You will never know unless you try, and the only way to guarantee failure is to never try. Second, don’t focus on raising venture capital. Venture capital is not for everyone; frankly, venture capital is like crack for many entrepreneurs—it may feel good, but eventually it will kill you.
5. What is the best way to create an infectious idea, product or service?
Create something that you would use and answers the question, "Wouldn’t it be cool if…?" Do not depend on focus groups and market research. That’s for losers.
6. One of your favorite speaking topics is about evangelism, sales and marketing. In a nutshell, how do companies use evangelism to get customers and employees to believe in a product or service?
You don’t use evangelism to do this in the sense that you sprinkle sauce on top of a steak to make it taste good. Like a steak, the foundation of evangelism is having a good idea. Evangelism cannot convince people that a piece of crap is good.
7. How do you define a trend?
Any sector that Google buys a company in.
8. How do you define cool?
Anything a teenager doesn’t think his parents can comprehend.
ABOUT GUY KAWASAKI
9. How do you reset yourself to be creative? (e.g. do you have any rituals, do you set aside time for creativity, etc.)
I don’t consider myself creative. I’m a grinder—I polish, buff, sand, hack, pound, and cajole. The world isn’t divided into people who are creative and who aren’t. Everyone can be creative because ideas are easy. The key is the willingness to keep learning and grind it out.
10. How does a guy from Hawaii end up liking hockey (I’m Canadian, so I have to ask)?
My sons took it up five years ago, and I decided I would be an involved father—as opposed to the typical Silicon Valley father who’s watching the game while using a Blackberry. Little did my wife realize when she told me to be an "involved father" that I would love hockey more than my kids.
11. Professionally, what do you want to be doing or studying in 10 years?
Most people say that they always want to be trying something new, different, and challenging in their profession. Not me. I’d be perfectly happy being a father/husband, playing hockey, maybe making a speech once a month, and watching HD reruns of Boston Legal and 24.
12. Other than Hockey, what are your most important hobbies?
When you have four kids, a blog, and an email address, you’re lucky to have one hobby.
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