Across the Board

Blog on e-business and online payments.

Interview with Guy Kawasaki

What prompted me to interview Guy Kawasaki? Well, first of all the very natural desire of meeting an author, to talk to the person who wrote something I’ve read or composed music I’ve listened to. That’s simple curiosity, I was interested what more can Guy say… Also, while reading “Enchantment”, some questions came up in my mind and I just couldn’t find right answers in the book. So, naturally, I had to ask the author! :) We talked about inspirations and enchantment process in SMB. But we also discussed Google Plus a lot – it’s the new Guy’s passion.

So make yourself a cup of coffee, sit back in your favorite chair and enjoy reading.

Ula: Hello Guy. First of all, I’d like to thank you for finding some time for the interview. I know you’re busy, so I really appreciate it. I know you do a lot of things, but which project is most important to you: Alltop, Enchantment, Garage or maybe you’re focusing now on any other business?

Guy: I spend most of my time on Google Plus [laugh]—then my priorities are marketing Enchantment and Alltop.

Ula: I had planned to ask you about Google Plus at the end of the interview, but as you already started, let’s continue. Google launched Google Plus after you’ve written “Enchantment”. I know you use Google Plus on a regular basis. How do you place it? It’s more like Facebook (pull technology) or more like Twitter (push technology)?

Guy: I would consider…Google Plus a push technology. It’s closer to Twitter than to Facebook.

Ula: Lots of people compare Google Plus to Facebook and watch what Google Plus is doing, how Facebook is changing.  Do you think Google Plus will gain such popularity as Facebook or Twitter in business communication?

Guy: For sure be popular as Twitter. Facebook is a bigger challenge, but I can even see it rival Facebook.

Ula: And don’t you think there are already too many social media now and it’s difficult to focus on all of them?

Guy: This is true except that it’s Google. Google has such advantages that you really cannot say it’s too late. I mean – this is Google. [laugh]

Ula: I’d like to talk about your latest book ‘Enchantment’, which I reviewed some time ago on our blog. Tell me, when did you realize that enchantment is a key for making business – so important to write a book about this phenomenon?

Guy: I realized it’s so important to write a book about Enchantment approximately two years ago, but I had been doing it for about twenty years. I just didn’t realize what I was doing. I started my career in the jewellery business where I had to enchant people with design and then I had to enchant people to create Macintosh software.

I became familiar with the work of Dale Carnegie How to Win Friends and Influence People as well as Robert Cialdini who wrote the book Influence. Those two books were big influences on me, so that’s why I wrote Enchantment.

Ula: Were you thinking about future readers while writing Enchantment? Did you think about evangelists from international companies such as Apple or about owners of small or medium businesses or maybe about one-man businesses?

If you just enchanted one person per day, you would make a big dent in the universe.

Guy: All of them. Anybody with 20$. That’s my target.

Ula: I was wondering about this because big companies usually have people responsible for communication and for building companies’ ecosystems. So the only problem for them is to use tools properly, those tools you suggest in your book.

But what’s with small companies or start-ups, having small teams, being responsible for everything in a company, unrecognizable, without large audience on Twitter or Facebook. How can they enchant effectively? In other words – how to start enchanting?

Guy: The book doesn’t assume that you’re active on social media although social media is one of the most powerful tools to enchant people today. Most of the book is spent in personal skills, not particularly how to use social media. Social media is but one means to an end.

Ula: I understand, but I think generally about business. When you are one-man business it’s really difficult to do everything. Even if you have, let’s say, two employees, they are responsible for everything. And it’s hard for them to remember all the things you wrote in your book and to find time in every day work to enchant.

Guy: Yes, it could be really difficult. But on the other hand, I’m not suggesting you have to do everything instantly. Any two hundred page book has a bunch things you can to do, but this doesn’t mean you have to do them all at once. So I don’t see this as an issue.

Ula: So the solution is to find the best tools for yourself and your company in the time you are. That’s right?

Guy: Yes. And then you keep grinding away. If you just enchanted one person per day, you would make a big dent in the universe.

Ula: You suggest that one of the important aspects for enchantment process is to make solution easy and intuitive. I believe so, but what about a B2B and companies from financial sector.  PayLane cooperates with banks and other financial institutions and as you know some processes cannot be done on a spot or accelerated on our side. Some processes take a long time.  Can you find a solution for this kind of businesses in order not to lose enchantment effect?

Guy: Look back to the old days: people bought an MS DOS machine and struggled with it for weeks to bring it up to speed. Then Apple created Macintosh, struggled a bit with it, but eventually succeeded. Then it went into other businesses. If your company truly wants to change the world, it would make these problems go away for customers.

Ula: I suppose we’d have to be a bank…

Guy: That’s why it’s better to be an author…[laugh]

Ula: Or running a blog and write book reviews. [laugh] We tried to educate too and show that the financial industry isn’t that boring and scary.

Guy: Let me look at the good side. Your issue is so difficult that if you pull this of, you’ll be so different that you’ll stand out. That’s how I look at it.

Ula: It is said that one way of doing business is to launch product as fast as possible even it is not perfect yet. Just to be first, forestall competition. On the other hand, you suggest to focus on a product first, prepare the enchantment process and then launch your product. From your experience how much time does company need to prepare itself and a new product to start enchanting others?

Guy: It’s so hard to say because every industry is so different. You can’t create a new model of a car in one year. It takes five years to make a car. On the other hand, it can take five days to make a website. This is something where you have to use your judgment, that you have something that is powerful, useful and different.

But try to achieve perfection–it’s impossible to make something perfect. When it first came out , Macintosh was hardly perfect, but it was so much better already. It was good enough…

Ula: I don’t thing about technology side, because of course it depends on the industry. But let’s say you already have a product and now you have to start preparing yourself to enchant process so as you suggest: gain likeability, trustworthiness etc.  It could be a long process. How many times do you need to start? For example, one year or if you feel you are ready – can you just start?

Guy: When you feel it, you just start! There’s no science to it. When the spirit moves you, you go.

Ula: Finally, I’d like to ask you about your future plans? Are you working on anything new, business or maybe a book?

Guy: I’m going write a book about Google Plus…

Ula: In a co-operation with Google or it will be your own book?

Guy: It will be my own.

Ula: And when can we expect your book?

Guy: If I keep doing interviews, I might never finish laugh] I hope by Christmas. It’s going to be an e-book.

Do you use Google Plus?

Ula: I have an account. But I’m still not sure if it has any chances to become popular social media for business communication. In Poland most of people who use it are from marketing or Internet trade. Among average people Google Plus is not so popular as Facebook. So I’ll watch what happens.

Guy: It already has 50 millions users, which is 1/16 of Facebook after three months. I believe you’ll see it will succeed.

Ula: We will see. For sure how Facebook is changing and adding new features because of Google Plus.

Guy: That’s right.

Ula: So thank you very much Guy for the interview and I’m waiting for your new book and hope you’ll talk about it.

Guy: Of course! Thank you for the interview.


Interview with Guy Kawasaki for the Across the Board blog, 7. October 2011

Sociologist and researcher, particularly interested in what happens at the interface between individuals and society, nature and culture. Fan of commercials- claims that ads are Art! Admires pure form in any field of art. At PayLane responsible for good visibility, audibility, readability and brand presence. Thinks about new markets, channels and partners. Open to any form of cooperation. After work - follower of the slow food movement. Always finds time to support NGOs.

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