The Art of the Guy

clear light bulb

Guy Kawasaki is a legendary marketing guru that helped Apple distinguish the Mac and other products in the early 80’s. He went on to become a VC, speaker, author, and evangelist for many great tech companies. I recently revisited his speech on the Art of Innovation. Here’s a recap of his 10 errr 11 tips on how to innovate.

  1. Make Meaning – Similar to Simon Sinek’s “Start with Why” concept, aim to make meaning or make a difference. The best companies make meaning and the money follows. If you start with a focus just on making money it’s much more difficult.
  2. Make a Mantra – Mission statements are often cold and inaccurate. He uses the Wendy’s mission statement as an example of what not to do (Wendy’s: To deliver superior quality products and services for our customers and communities through leadership, innovation and partnerships.) What they should say is something like “Good food fast” or “Affordable Tasty Food”.
  3. Jump the Curve – Incremental developments have a place and happen but real scientific revolution happens when you jump to a new order of thinking or problem solving.
  4. DICEE – Go DEEP with innovation, in an INTELLIGENT way, that COMPLETELY solves a problem in a way that is EMPOWERING and ELEGANT. Those 5 traits make great product in any industry.
  5. Be Crappy – Perfection is the enemy of good enough. If you wait until perfection to ship, you’ll get beat by the competition every time. Don’t ship crap, but understand some blemishes will be there.
  6. Let 100 Flowers Blossom – Try many ideas and don’t be afraid to pivot. Netflix started as a shampoo subscription company. 3M invented sticky notes. Many great companies were made by allowing their clients to guide them to new ideas often very different from their original vision.
  7. Polarize People – Innovation often polarizes people. Ad agencies hated Tivo because people could fast forward through commercials. Candle makers were afraid of the light bulb and on and on. If you’re disrupting something, some people won’t like it.
  8. Churn Baby Churn – build v1.1, 1.2, 1.3 and keep iterating as quickly as you can. Don’t listen to the naysayers who think it’s impossible – keep chiseling away at the problem you’re solving.
  9. Niche Thyself – Be valuable and unique. Not one, not the other but both.
  10. Perfect Your Pitch – Master your sales line. Make a great introduction and have an “elevator” spiel. In 20 seconds, state why your idea matters.
  11. As a bonus, Guy shared his thoughts on presentations with the 10/20/30 rule. Make no more than 10 slides, speak no more than 20 minutes, use a 30 point font. For font size, take the oldest person you expect to be in the audience and divide their age by 2 which is how he got to 30. So if you’re pitching to class of high school students you then you can go with 8 point!

Leave a Reply