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Guy Kawasaki
Chief Evangelist, Author, Speaker, Investor, Advisor
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* Curated from social media today, netpreneur exchange, opentopic, 30 day books, and forbes
Any last bits of advice for social media today's readers, who work with/are passionate about social media?
My last piece of advice is that people should never stop experimenting, and they should read voraciously. there's no right way and wrong way with social media. there's only what works for you.
When it comes to social media who do you learn from?
First, I learn from peg fitzpatrick, the co-author of my book, the art of social media. I would put her up against entire agencies. and i'll tell you the secret to her—and by extension—my success in social media: we are constantly experimenting and trying new techniques. we are never satisfied. and we refuse to take anyone's word for anything.second, I learn from a select group of people on Google+. if you'd like to see who they are, click on this link to see my circle. these are the people who provide the highest quality content.
You've seen the social media industry grow and evolve from many different vantage points in your career, what excites you about the industry's future?
I love social media because it gives everyone a voice. this doesn't mean that everyone has something intelligent to say, but at least now everyone can be heard. that's powerful. that's democracy. that's what continues to excite me.
So many people spend their professional lives looking for something worth evangelizing. any tips for how people can find that one thing worth evangelizing?
I have used the title "chief evangelist" only twice in forty years: Apple and Canva. something worth evangelizing doesn't come along too often. i'm not certain that one necessarily finds things worth evangelizing…it seems like something worth evan...This knowledge is worth millions but signing up is free
The word most people associate you with is "evangelist"—first at Apple and now at Canva. what does being an evangelist mean to you?
Evangelism comes from the greek word that roughly means "bringing the good news." when I evangelized macintosh, I was bringing the good news of a new way of computing. now i'm evangelizing Canva, and i'm bringing the good news of empowering anyone...This knowledge is worth millions but signing up is free
What impresses you about your product?
Personally, I find that Canva's ability to enable people with no graphic-design training to create elegant and beautiful designs to be its most impressive accomplishment. this is like the ability of macintosh, in 1984, to enable people to create d...This knowledge is worth millions but signing up is free
How are you looking for Canva to grow and evolve?
The ability to design is as powerful as the ability to write. the evolution of visual communication has gone from scribes transcribing test to gutenberg printing bibles to desktop publishing to websites to blogs. now we're all using social media, ...This knowledge is worth millions but signing up is free
Canva is such a successful tool and yet your team continues to innovate. can you tell us about some of your newer innovations?
We just announced three new features. first, there's design school. this is where we provide educational material to help everyone become a great designer. second, there's Canva social. this enables people to show their designs to others who can t...This knowledge is worth millions but signing up is free
Give us a high-level overview of Canva with a specific focus on the problem it tries to solve?
Canva is in the business of providing amazing graphic capabilities to anyone. you don't have to buy an expensive application nor scale an enormous learning curve to use. the problem it solves is enabling everyone to improve their communication ski...This knowledge is worth millions but signing up is free
You could have done a lot of different things after your time at Apple and Google. what led you to Canva?
It's hard to top my experience with the macintosh division of Apple. truly, we were trying, and did, change the world by democratizing computing. Canva actually found me because my social-media ninja, peg fitzpatrick, and I were already using it. ...This knowledge is worth millions but signing up is free
What message would you give to an entrepreneur who has talked to, pleaded with, cajoled, and button-holed investors all to no avail?
Maybe you're onto something! some of the greatest companies couldn't get funded when they first started, so don't let the bozos get you down: keep on plugging. take little steps--business plan, prototype, first customer--make progress all the time...This knowledge is worth millions but signing up is free
Why does it matter who referred the deal to you?
Because lawyers at firms like venture law group and wilson, sonsinI in silicon valley see dozens of deals every year. if they recommend a deal to us, it means a lot. some of our best deals came to us this way.
What are the key things you look for in clearing companies for "heaven", the area of garage.com in which angels can look over potential investments?
These three factors are the most important: who referred the deal to us? how "earth shaking" is the product? what is the educational and work background of the entrepreneurs? good answers to two of these three questions is all it takes.
In a startup, what's most important to success: concept/product, market segment, or the team?
There's no right answer to this. if the market segment is big enough, you can have a so-so product and replace a lousy team. if you have a great product, you can build a market and replace a lousy team. if you have a great team, you can create gre...This knowledge is worth millions but signing up is free
What is the most important lesson you learned as an entrepreneur?
I learn something every day. at this point, what seems like the most important lesson is that things are never as good or as bad as they seem. you just have to keep plugging away, making a little bit of progress every day.
What is the biggest mistake angels make in investing in companies? what is the most important lesson you learned as an angel investor?
I think the biggest mistake that an angel can make is thinking there is a market for a product they themselves would not buy. I learned this the hard way: I've made four or five angel investments, and I lost money only once. it was a company that ...This knowledge is worth millions but signing up is free
How much emphasis should the entrepreneur place on valuation?
Not too much. the key is to get the right kind of money, not the highest valuation. if someone with dumb, unconnected money offers a higher valuation than someone with smart, connected money, an entrepreneur should take the latter. in the long run...This knowledge is worth millions but signing up is free
Can you elaborate on what an entrepreneur should look for in a angel's background?
Assuming the angel is a sophisticated investor, you should look for these kinds of qualities: first, he or she has experience and credibility in the same market you operate in. federico faggin, (a co-inventor of the computer chip at intel) for exa...This knowledge is worth millions but signing up is free
What should be at the top of an entrepreneur's mind when seeking angel funding?
The entrepreneur should place tantamount value on the angel's background, expertise, and connections. all money is not created equal. some money is better than others.
What is the most common misconception entrepreneurs have about angel investors?
The most common misconception is that angel investors are easier to sign up than venture capitalists. in fact, they are harder because they're playing with their own money and they are probably industry experts.by the way, the most dangerous misco...This knowledge is worth millions but signing up is free
Back in 2008, you launched a content aggregation site, alltop. given your experience with curated content, what recommendations do you have for content marketers who are interested in leveraging third-party content for content marketing?
The challenge of content marketing is to have enough content to make 10-20 posts/day. there are two ways to do this: creation and curation. this volume of creation is hard. this volume of curation isn't so hard.alltop contains over 1,000 topics ra...This knowledge is worth millions but signing up is free
Today, big brands are embracing content marketing and investing dollars in original content development. but how does content marketing apply to entrepreneurs, and particularly bootstrappers? where does it fit in early-stage marketing strategies?
It's going to take quite a while for big brands and their agencies to understand that the key is not what they want to say, but what people want to hear. I don't know if this will ever happen.on the other hand, this is great for entrepreneurs and ...This knowledge is worth millions but signing up is free
With the rise of social networks like Pinterest, tools like Canva, and a steady tide of infographics circulating through the web, it's clear that the digital landscape embraces visual content. what's ahead for visual content, in general? and, more specifically, what does this mean for content marketers?
Every post should have a visual component with it at this point. Twitter, of all things, permits you to attach four pictures to a tweet. imagine that! companies are realizing that graphics and videos are essential to gain attention.the next big ma...This knowledge is worth millions but signing up is free
How does the rise of content marketing as a practice and buzzword impact its efficacy as a competitive differentiator? do brands need to approach it differently today than, say, 5 years ago?
Most companies probably embraced content marketing because they were forced to, not because they saw the light. when paid advertising and pure promotion through social media became ineffective, what choice did companies have but to seek other ways...This knowledge is worth millions but signing up is free
Earlier this year, in the context of your role as chief evangelist at Canva, you wrote on your blog: "an evangelist has the other person’s best interests at heart: try this because it will help you.” content marketers have a similar intent in that they also emphasize the customer's needs. where else do content marketers and evangelists intersect, and how do they diverge?
Content marketing is a subset of evangelism because evangelism has other people's best interests at heart. one way to serve these interests is to provide great content. every content marketer is probably evangelistic, but every evangelist isn't a ...This knowledge is worth millions but signing up is free
Your top 3 tips for creating buzz/ marketing your book?
1) ask people to test your book via posts on Google+, Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn. you’ll be amazed by the amount of helpful and knowledgeable people who will contribute to the quality of your book for the intrinsic pleasure of helping another...This knowledge is worth millions but signing up is free
“author, publisher, entrepreneur.” independent authors are now filling the role of the traditional publishers, but what aspects of traditional publishing would you recommend authors do not try to diy?
There are two areas that independent authors should not try to do themselves: copyedit the text and designing the cover. these are the two most obvious ways that self-publishers blow it. copyediting and designing a cover are highly specialized ski...This knowledge is worth millions but signing up is free
Many of the independent authors I talk to are slightly older and are feeling frustrated by technology barriers that put them at a disadvantage in the current publishing climate. what advice do you have for the generation that didn’t grow up with the internet?
They’re seeing the glass half empty. would the situation be better if we were back in the middle ages and only royalty could afford scribes? the internet is a massive enabler and flattener so that you don’t have to be, or be published by, random h...This knowledge is worth millions but signing up is free
What qualities do you believe most successful self-publishers have?
The qualities that most successful self-publishers have is that they have written a book that appeals to a segment of people, and they are willing to work very hard. the first is probably the result of good fortune. the second is the result of gut...This knowledge is worth millions but signing up is free
You’ve said that your initial foray into self-publishing revealed a “complex, confusing, and idiosyncratic process”. what was your biggest frustration with the experience?
I had two big frustrations. first, when I asked people who to go from word to kindle and ibookstore, I got multiple answers, some of which conflicted. you would have thought there would be one clear “best way” or something close to a best way. sec...This knowledge is worth millions but signing up is free
Hmm ... some cnbc commentators seem to think that certain sectors will do better with a particular president. you don't think that politics influence investments?
I think that politics influence investments, but if you're trying to decide whether to start a company or to decide what kind of company you're starting based on who wins the election, then your thinking is missing the point. you start a company b...This knowledge is worth millions but signing up is free
What is the biggest challenge new entrepreneurs face today?
If you were to ask ten entrepreneurs this question, seven would say raising money, two would say closing deals, and one would say building the team. if you experience great difficulty in raising money, it's not because vcs are idiots and cannot co...This knowledge is worth millions but signing up is free
Writing a book is rather an entrepreneurial act in itself. how would you position this book in the marketplace?
I position it this way: when you get pregnant, you read what to expect when you're expecting. when you get laid off, you read what color is your parachute? when you get entrepreneurial, you read the art of the start.
There is a lot in the book about the arts of pitching, presenting and speaking. you clearly have gifts in this regard not bestowed on many. we have all sat through too many tedious speeches and power point presentations. can good presenting be learnt and what are the most important points to master if you want to become a compelling and effective speaker or presenter?
I think that no one, or very few, are born as good presenters. it's a skill that you learn. the key is the 10/20/30 rule: 10 slides given in 20 minutes using no font smaller than 30 points. if people just adhered to this rule, they would double or...This knowledge is worth millions but signing up is free
Not a mantra of "simply get it done"? that seems to be the essence of your book's message.
That's not bad. you should write a book! too bad that "just do it" is taken. maybe "just start it" and quit thinking/talking/analyzing.
What impact, if any, did the Google ipo have on your world? are silicon valley vcs feeling more bumptious these days?
Yes, I think so ... but then again, how much more downtrodden could we have felt before. my mother always taught me: things are never as good or as bad as they seem. but at least there is now a "for instance" of a successful tech liquidity event!
You are wonderfully dismissive in the book of corporate mission statements. I almost did take ours down from the lobby in honor of you being here. instead you propose entrepreneurs have a mantra for their company. something short and to the point that describes the company they are hoping to build. what would be the mantra for your book?
"generate royalties." "catalyze change." "enable butt kicking." "get going." pick one!
In his blurb for your new book, ebay co-founder pierre omidyar said people should read the last chapter first. that chapter is called "the art of being a mensch." what point does that chapter make?
The point of what pierre is saying, and what the chapter is about, is that entrepreneurs have a moral obligation to pay back society, to make a difference, and to not squander their successes. that's what's truly important ... not how many widgets...This knowledge is worth millions but signing up is free
Hello, guy. my partner and I have developed and new product. so far we've bootstrapped the development costs, and we have a handful of customers, but what we really need now is money for marketing. our assumption is that an angel investor or partner company ...
Can't exactly see your entire question. let me guess what you were going to ask. don't think of an angel investor as an easy mark. sophisticated angels are just as tough as any vc, and you only want sophisticated investors because you don't want t...This knowledge is worth millions but signing up is free
You make much in the book of the importance of an entrepreneur getting the product or service out to market. how rough and ready can that version 1.0 be?
Tough question. people are forgiving of v 1.0 of a product if it's truly innovative and useful. then you can get away with a lot. but if you're merely marginally improving the status quo, then you better be rock solid.
What guidance do you have for small older companies who are reinventing themselves and seeking capital?
The good news is that your product/service is probably done. the bad news is that you can't blow smoke at your investors. your historical financials are your historical financials. the best case is that you can show reasonable revenue and now want...This knowledge is worth millions but signing up is free
Going back to what you said earlier about vcs getting pickier, does that make it harder for virgin entrepreneurs, so to speak?
Yes, very much so. btw, a virgin entrepreneur is defined as???? right now, it's very hard for a novice team to get funded. however, courageous firms like sequoia and kleiner, perkins will still take a look at such deals.
What would be a forecasted level of investment in technology under bush and what would be under kerry?
Who knows? if you're an entrepreneur and you think that the president makes a difference to your business, you should stay at your current job.
Apart from tighter purse strings and smaller purses, has the way vcs operate changed since the dotcom bubble burst?
They play more golf. -) they are, seriously, a lot more picky: proven teams, proven technology, and proven sales. having said this, I think it's wrong. I love the theory of "two guys/gals in a garage" who are unproven who change the world. that's ...This knowledge is worth millions but signing up is free
HI guy. finding it hard to raise money for an online venture in the uk, even though I've started successful businesses before. where is the vc money for exciting startups these days?
It's in money market funds and cds. we have gone from a period of irrational exuberance to irrational depression. only now are we swinging back to the middle. recently, it seems like an early stage deal meant that the founders created cisco, have ...This knowledge is worth millions but signing up is free
What can an entrepreneur expect from a good venture capitalist and how can he (i'll follow the non-sexist convention in your book here of he covering he or she) tell if he has found one?
A good vc will give you about 5-10 hours a month of intense mindshare. during this time, he or she will open doors, help with partnerships, recruit, and advise you on what you're doing. note well: most vcs are on 10-12 boards. by definition, this ...This knowledge is worth millions but signing up is free
The capital markets have become more demanding of newly formed companies post bubble. do you have a revised view of how many customers, how much revenue, and what level of profitability is necessary to take a company public and sustain its valuation?
I'm not a ny investment banker, but it seems to me that a company should be doing $50 or so a year with 10-20% profits. also, what's really important is the consistency of earnings ... that is, the ability to safely predict what your earnings will be
Is there ever a case in which 'making yourself rich' constitutes making meaning?
Yes, absolutely. but that seems like an insipid reason to start a company. however, if you make meaning, you'll probably make money. if you make money, you might not make meaning. at the end of one's life, hopefully you've done more than simply ma...This knowledge is worth millions but signing up is free
Guy, you have a top five list of things an entrepreneur must accomplish. at the top of that list is make meaning. what does that mean, and why is it so important?
It means that if you start a company to "make money" then you'll probably fail. great companies start because the founders want to change the world ... not make a fast buck. call me a romantic, but I think entrepreneurs should try to change the wo...This knowledge is worth millions but signing up is free