Guy Kawasaki in Utah …

I came down to the Salt Lake Valley last week to listen to Guy Kawasaki and what he had to say. As usual, he started off with his background at Apple, with the Macintosh, and railing on Windows, Bill Gates, and Windows users. It’s funny … but to me this really dates him … but of course appeals to the “religious” technical folks.

The title slide of his presentation was “The Art of Innovation” … and he indicated that what he is sharing is not necessarily what he did, but what he learned. He went through his top 10, actually 11, key points to innovation. I have to admit that I really like his suggestions overall … and he presents them well.

1. Make Meaning – it’s not about making money! Money is a natural consequence of making meaning. Make things better, or remove bad things.

This is something that I learned a long time back about “commitment” … what are you really committed to? The example that I heard is that football is not about the score on the scoreboard … it’s about getting the ball across the goal line. If you think it’s about the score, then the best way to get points on the board would be to run up to the box where the scoreboard is controlled and flip the switches! Most people get very confused about doing things for money … but instead consider that money is a measurement of whether you are doing other things right.

2. Make Mantra – this is beyond a mission statement. Short. To the point. What is your company or product about. Why does it exist? What is the purpose?

  • Wendy’s – “Healthy fast food”
  • Nike – “Authentic athletic performance”
  • FedEx – “Peace of mind”
  • eBay – “Democratize commerce”

3. Jump to the next curve – it’s not about being 5%, 10%, or 15% better … it’s about a leap forward. It’s not about being slightly better.

I like this one a lot … it’s all about thinking beyond everyone else. Not taking an existing idea and working to improve it … but making that leap to something completely new!
4. Roll the DICEE

  • Deep: Fanning, Dram (Reef) – Sandals with bottle openers, or bottles! – complete functionality
  • Intelligence: BF-104 Flashlight (Panasonic) – support for various types of batteries
  • Complete: LS (Lexus) – it’s more than just the product … it’s service and support
  • Elegant: nano (Apple) – great UI, easy to use
  • Emotive: Harley Davidson – cause emotion

These are the key components that Guy talked about for success of your company or product.

5. Don’t worry, be crappy – it does not have to be perfect when you ship! Evolve it! But get it out there for people to use.

This is another point that I fully believe it … it is a cornerstone of Agile development methodologies. Get your idea out there quickly and get it into use! Get the feedback and iterate. Many people often spend too much time working to perfect something … and end up with something that is only perfect for them!

6. Polarize people – you do not have to appeal to everyone. This is not bad … feel free to create in a way that some people love, and some people hate. This is much better than people don’t care what you have created!

7. Let a hundred flowers blossom – let it go how it goes. If people who are not your target market are buying your product … let them! They are now your target market! Do not believe that you know exactly who and how things are going to go.

8. Churn, baby, churn – evolve. Listen. Alter. Customize. Enhance.

9. Niche thyself – Ability to provide unique product or service vs. Value to customer.

Guy presented a quadrant chart that show these two values on each axis. The point is that the best place to be is where you have a unique product that provides the most value to the customer.

  • Not Unique, little value to customer = DotCom
  • Not Unique, value to Customer = Price competition
  • Unique, little value to customer = stupid
  • Unique, value to customer = sweet spot!

10. Follow the 10/20/30 rule – the PowerPoint rule. Life is a pitch. Be prepared to pitch.

  • 10 Slides – the optimal number of slides in any pitch.
  • 20 Minutes – the amount of time to present your slides.
  • 30 Point Font – the best size to use for the audience.

11. Don’t let the bozos grind you down – no matter what, do not let the people who doubt and question stop you from believing in your vision! There are at least two types of bozos … the loser bozos, and the winner bozos. Loser bozos are the obvious people who just do not get it … they themselves are not necessarily accomplished … and they want to tell you why your idea will not work. The most dangerous bozos are the ‘winner bozos’. The people who look accomplished … have money … maybe even had one or more successes themselves. In most cases … they are lucky. So even they are not the ones to listen to. Pursue your dream!

He ended offering a copy of the presentation (contact, giving a plug for (“NPR for your eyes”), and acknowledging his photos come from He then went to Q&A …

I had to leave before the Q&A took off … but was glad that I went. It’s always nice to hear a refresher from someone like Guy … he’s a good speaker … fun to hear him.

Leave a Reply