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Guy Kawasaki is the chief evangelist of Canva, an online graphic design tool. He is on the board of trustees of the Wikimedia Foundation, a brand ambassador for Mercedes-Benz USA, and an executive fellow of the Haas School of Business (UC Berkeley). He was also the chief evangelist of Apple.

He is also the author of The Art of the Start 2.0, The Art of Social Media, Enchantment, and nine other books. Kawasaki has a BA from Stanford University and an MBA from UCLA as well as an honorary doctorate from Babson College.

You can follow him on Twitter: @GuyKawasaki

He will be live on March 17 from 930 AM PT for one and a half hours during which time he will answer as many questions as possible.

  • DF

    Diane Florescu

    over 3 years ago #

    Hi Guy,

    It’s an honour to speak to you and ask you these questions:

    1. For someone with such a vast professional experience like you, what have been your biggest challenges to date?
    2. Going back to the roots…When you just started your career, what was the single biggest indicator to you that you were doing the right thing which ultimately convinced you to carry on ?
    3. For the young people who are just embarking on their career, what life secrets and tips could you offer them?

    • GK

      Guy Kawasaki

      over 3 years ago #

      1) In tactical sense, keeping up with email is my biggest challenge.
      2) The biggest single indicator that I was doing the right thing when I started my career is that Steve Jobs wasn't screaming at me.
      3) My biggest tips for young people: never ask people to do something you wouldn't do; whenever your boss asks you to do something, drop everything else and do it; understand that your job is to make your boss look good.

      You do these three things, and you'll go far in life.

      7 Share
  • SE

    Sean Ellis

    over 3 years ago #

    Hi Guy, I'm so excited to have this AMA with you. I've read about you for many years. I'm curious why you've gone with the title Chief Evangelist over the years. How does this role differ from a CMO role? I noticed a few article over the years suggesting that "every company needs a chief evangelist" such as this one http://www.forbes.com/sites/theopriestley/2015/08/28/why-every-tech-company-needs-a-chief-evangelist/#6de2fe1760a4 . Do you agree that every company should have a Chief Evangelist?

    • GK

      Guy Kawasaki

      over 3 years ago #

      The title of chief evangelist isn't as important as the function. There needs to be someone in every company who truly understands the product and the reason why it makes people's lives better. You'd think this would be a CMO type, but that's often not the case because many CMOs think they can market anything.

      A chief evangelist truly BELIEVES. A CMO is paid to believe. The difference is crucial.

      9 Share
  • AK

    Austin Knight

    over 3 years ago #

    Hey Guy, thank you for doing this AMA. I have a few questions on personal branding and thought leadership (both things that you're excellent at).

    1.) Having written 13 books since 1987, how do you find the time to do it? Does working with a co-author or a ghost writer help? How have your publishers helped you? I have a goal to finish a book before I turn 25 (which gives me 3 years) and I know what I want to talk about, but the process of writing it has been strenuous.

    2.) As Chief Evangelist of Canva, what do your daily responsibilities look like? When you landed that (awesome) role, was it because Canva was looking for an evangelist or did you approach them with the idea?

    3.) How do you prioritize and determine which speaking engagements to accept / decline? In what ways does your speaking agency help you? Do you / they ever apply for speaking engagements or are they all based on requests from events now? I'm really ramping up on speaking, and I'd say 50% come from applications I submit and 50% come from events that reached out to me. Having a hard time determining which to accept and decline though.

    4.) How do you allocate your time every day? Curious to see what your schedule looks like and what you prioritize / focus on the most.

    Thank you again for stopping by. Excited to see your responses.

    • GK

      Guy Kawasaki

      over 3 years ago #

      1) You man up and make time. It's that simple.
      2) Canva approached me when they saw that I was using it. My daily duties is to expose Canva as much as I can. Mostly I do this via my speeches and presentations.
      3) There are three factors for me doing a speech: lots of money, a product/company that I like, and a moral obligation to pay back society. Any two usually does it.
      4) Mostly I answer email and post to social media all day. There's some time for original writing, but not much. There's nothing dramatic or cool about what I do every day. It's just grinding out work.

      6 Share
    • ES

      Edward Stephens

      over 3 years ago #

      Great questions Austin

  • MM

    martín medina

    over 3 years ago #

    Guy,

    Thanks for sharing, been a long time follower of your content and I'm really excited to get to ask you some questions. I personally consider myself somewhat of an evangelist for certain products I particularly enjoy (this site included), simply because they are able to provide value to me in such a way I can't help but share them with the world.

    1. How important is it to be able to able to convert your customers into evangelists like this and what are some effective strategies you have learned along the way?
    I also love that you are constantly sharing your knowledge along the way I've read many of your books and just recently watched a Lynda course you taught. I also one day hope to write a book however I believe I'll wait until I at least graduate college, which I guess kind of transitions into my other question.

    2. How did you get into writing books and what tools or techniques have helped you crank out the content?

    Thanks!

    • GK

      Guy Kawasaki

      over 3 years ago #

      1) Customers that become evangelists are the most cost-effective method of marketing. Apple and Canva prove this!

      2) I wrote my first book because I was unhappy with my job. It was cathartic. Since then, I've written books because I thought I had something to say--what a concept! I want to pass on my knowledge to others.

      Writing is simply grinding it out for me. No secrets. Just set my ass down and write. No bullshit, touchy feely shit.

      4 Share
  • CW

    Clayton Wood

    over 3 years ago #

    Guy, what's the best tool or strategy to profile a target audience?

  • ES

    Edward Stephens

    over 3 years ago #

    Hi Guy,

    Thank you so much for doing this AMA, so stoked to have you on.

    1) Which start-up models fundamentally concern you? Instacart and other Uber for X models are taking a lot of heat, would you have said that the economics of those models always seemed flawed and if so why are we seeing them draw huge pools of VC capital?

    2) Faced with a work place situation (like you may have found yourself with Steve Jobs at Apple), if you fundamentally believed you were right (and lets assume you were) in a discussion with him - how would you constructively handle the disagreement and see that your point was not only heard but acted upon?

    3) In the last year Twitter, Linked and Tesla's share prices have fallen off a cliff (though Tesla is rallying). Which one do you feel holds the most implicit value and what do Twitter and Linkedin do to answer peoples questions about value and prove they have sustainability?

    4) Can you get yourself excited about the possibilities of AI or machine learning and if so, can companies like Canva learn immutable design laws - predict style trends and even serve up personalised design to users of the future?

    • GK

      Guy Kawasaki

      over 3 years ago #

      1) Every startup model concerns me. If the "right" ones were obvious, everyone would do them. The ability to raise capital is hardly validation that an idea or model is good.
      2) I would do what Steve asked and assume I was wrong. :-)
      3) Twitter I'm not sure about. Tesla could change the car business. Musk is the closest thing to Steve Jobs. LinkedIn is indispensable for any professional to exist (disclosure: I own LinkedIn stock).
      4) AI coming, but it's been coming for a while. I don't know if there is such a thing as immutable design laws.

  • AS

    Alex Sherstinsky

    over 3 years ago #

    Hi Guy, thank you so much for taking the time to do an AMA with us! I have attended your lectures in the past, but never quite got a turn at the microphone during the Q&A portions. So here is my chance for this question: What were your biggest failures that you learned from and were able to rebound? Thanks again, and Best Wishes!

    • GK

      Guy Kawasaki

      over 3 years ago #

      In a weird sense, Macintosh was a failure. It failed to achieve our goal of worldwide domination.

      I learned that the best product doesn't always win. But I learned that when people love your product, they become your evangelists. And I also learned that while everyone might not care about design and elegance, enough people do to make a company successful.

      2 Share
  • BW

    Brand Winnie

    over 3 years ago #

    Hey Guy. Great to have you on!

    1. Last time you were 'Chief Evangelist' at a company it was Apple (I think?). What is it about Canva that is attractive to you and how does what you're doing now to help them out, compare to your time at Apple?

    2. Has Alltop failed your initial expectations of it's outcome? What are your plans with it moving forward?

    Thanks!

    • GK

      Guy Kawasaki

      over 3 years ago #

      1. Indeed, the last time I was chief evangelist was Apple. Apple democratized computing. Canva is democratizing design. I'm into democratizing stuff, and Canva is changing the world.

      2. Alltop keeps chugging along. It's not going to make me rich, but I use it several times every day to find content to share. I don't know how I would do social media without Alltop. You can see my sources here: http://my.alltop.com/guykawasaki/m/

      4 Share
  • DS

    Daniel Sosa

    over 3 years ago #

    Hey Guy, i'm definitely a fan, thank you for the time.

    How do you feel about video communication in the professional space? At wiind.com we're working hard to build an asynchronous video messaging channel inside email and really crave a world where we can leverage technology for more human communication, instead of having all innovation go towards "mass-production communication". I guess my question is: Why are we not using video in the professional space? (I know we do skype/gotomeeting but those are high friction real-time meetings)

    ps. I'm a hockey player too.

  • SY

    Sia Yaghobi

    over 3 years ago #

    Guy...you are a legend...thanks for doing this AMA!
    Great questions above so far BTW.

    1. Regarding book launches and promotions-
    What are some of your favorite and/or best book promotion tactics and strategies for a book campaign (if wondering or curious as to category-lets say that this would fall under the leadership & personal development categories) you would recommend?

    2. Do you write or help with many guest posts from time to time & would you be willing to write or drop a line for a brief post related to millennials?

    3. Happy Aid eh Nowrooz Persian new year & Spring! Do you like Persian food & have many, if any, Iranian friends? What is Guy K's favorite food?!

    Much Love & Gratitude to you Guy

    • GK

      Guy Kawasaki

      over 3 years ago #

      1) The best book promotion idea I have is to freely distribute the draft and even the final copy to people who say they will review it. This takes a leap of faith that people aren't just trying to get a free copy, but it has worked for me.

      2) I seldom help with guest posts. I can't even do what I have to do already.

      3) My wife's family has ties to the Persian community in the central valley. I have lots of contact with your culture. Very cool!

      My favorite food, though, is musubis!

      • AA

        Anuj Adhiya

        over 3 years ago #

        Having been on the receiving end of review copies I can totally say it works. It guarantees:

        a. Social media updates of the "I'm special - I got XYZ's book in advance to review" variety
        b. Telling your friends offline the same thing
        c. Amazon reviews
        d. Social shares of those reviews

  • ES

    Edward Stephens

    over 3 years ago #

    Light supplementary questions:

    1) Who has completely surpassed your expectations having met them face to face (in the valley or otherwise) and who do you intellectually respect or seek inspiration from?

    2) You mention in a previous interview - changing your mind is a sign of intelligence (citing the Steve Jobs app in Safari example). How have you implemented this into your own life and how do you define, outline and execute your personal goals.

    • GK

      Guy Kawasaki

      over 3 years ago #

      1) Let me answer this a different way: the closest thing there is to a Steve Jobs right now is Elon Musk.

      2) I change my mind about stuff all the time. Especially about people. I've learned to always give people three chances. I've also learned that everyone you meet is better at something than you.

      Honestly, I'm not big into setting personal goals and getting formal. I basically just kick ass.

      • AA

        Anuj Adhiya

        over 3 years ago #

        " I've learned to always give people three chances"
        I've never heard that one before - why three chances?

  • AL

    Arsene Lavaux

    over 3 years ago #

    Bonjour Guy,

    Thank you for doing this AMA.

    When you were at SXSW, I enjoyed your Facebook livestreaming sessions a lot.
    And more and more social influencers appear to be joining the livestreaming trend.

    Where do you see the future of livestreaming now backed by powerhouse names such as Facebook with their own live product?
    Do you think that the uprise of computer vision can have a sustainable impact on the future scale of that growth channel?
    If so, how?

    • GK

      Guy Kawasaki

      over 3 years ago #

      I love Facebook livestreaming. I get so much interaction because of it. Nothing comes close (eg, Periscope) to Facebook for me. Facebook is clearly making live video a priority, and I'm all over jumping on that bandwagon.

      Honestly, I don't know jack about computer vision. Sorry!

  • MS

    Martin Skakala

    over 3 years ago #

    Hey Guys, thanks for visiting Slovakia in 2015!

    Concerning Canva.com - what did marketing look like in first 12-18 months and how has the strategy changed? What's the biggest reason(s) for the change?

    Thanks, Martin

    • GK

      Guy Kawasaki

      over 3 years ago #

      I wish I could return to your country. I had a GREAT time there. I wasn't at Canva during its first 12=18 months.

      But the Canva mentality is to build a great product and support it well. No secrets or mysteries there. We want to democratize design so that anyone can make great stuff.

      You can make a great graphic in Canva faster than you can boot Photoshop.

  • TR

    Ty Richendollar

    over 3 years ago #

    Is there any specific advice you'd have for someone who wants to work with a startup but has worked outside of the corporate/for-profit world for his or her career?

  • HQ

    Hila Qu

    over 3 years ago #

    Guy, super excited to have you here.

    Is there anything you changed your opinion about compared to when you are younger?

    If you are suddenly 22 again, just graduated from Standford, how would you start a life/career again for Guy 2.0?

    • GK

      Guy Kawasaki

      over 3 years ago #

      I would have taken at least one programming class so I would be better able to tell when programmers are bullshitting me. Although, a good rule of thumb is to take whatever a programmer says and double the time. i figured this out without taking any classes!

      I wish I had not quit Apple--twice! That cost me about $100 million. Though I would not be doing an AMA if I was worth $100 million.

      5 Share
  • HP

    Hugo Pereira

    over 3 years ago #

    Hey Guy,

    It's a honour and pleasure to chat with you. I've attended a Growth Marketing meetup a week ago and many of us felt that there's a rise on the demand for many metrics being reported across departments, teams and to management.

    Do you feel that there's a request to track tons of metrics rather than focusing on few key ones? How do you tackle this as an evangelist of Canva?

    • GK

      Guy Kawasaki

      over 3 years ago #

      There is a rise to track metrics, and metrics are very important. But, honestly, I don't pay much attention to metrics. I just do what I think is right and hope that everything works out. I look at some basic numbers for my social media, but I'm not at all a "quant."

  • SD

    Shawna Davidson

    over 3 years ago #

    Hi Guy,
    What's the best approach for self-branded marketing and selecting merchandise?

    Thanks,
    Shawna N. Davidson

  • TJ

    Todd Jones

    over 3 years ago #

    Hello, Guy. What kind of value do you place on teamwork? Thanks

    • GK

      Guy Kawasaki

      over 3 years ago #

      Very high. I think the concept of the lone-wolf, genius is over-rated. Success is a team process, not an individual event.

  • MS

    Martin Skakala

    over 3 years ago #

    Hello Guy, one more question: Can you recommend a great resource (book) for non tech guy to learn to speak & understand development?

  • MR

    Maria Rahman

    over 3 years ago #

    Hey Guy,

    I am quite excited about the live AMA session and also participating for the first time in such an activity. I am an entrepreneur and a fresh computer science graduate and I would love to know your opinions and suggestions regarding some queries.

    1. Can you please provide some guidance on how to identify personal strengths?
    2. How to identify what work can we do that is in alignment with our personal strengths?
    3. What career advice would you suggest to a fresh computer science graduate?

    • GK

      Guy Kawasaki

      over 3 years ago #

      IMHO, you're thinking too much. Over the course of your life, you'll have 10-15 jobs so don't try to get the perfect one right out of college. Just work for companies that make stuff that you like, and things will probably sort themselves out.

      It's not like the old days where you went to work for a company out of college and retired there forty years later!

  • BW

    Brand Winnie

    over 3 years ago #

    One more Guy.... How did you go about becoming a brand ambassador for Mercedes Benz? What are you providing for them and what are you getting out of the partnership?

    • GK

      Guy Kawasaki

      over 3 years ago #

      I approached them. I love their cars and wanted to help them penetrate the tech and digital markets. I provide social media amplification, personal appearances, introductions to digerati, and tech/marketing advice. They provide me bad-ass cars.

  • ES

    Edward Stephens

    over 3 years ago #

    1) Do you envisage the barrier to entrepreneurship (the bar feels like it's got quite low) rising again as meaningful problems become more complex to solve? E.g. you'd be hard pushed to beat Palantir, Facebook and Tesla in their respective verticals.

    2) If number 1 is the case, should smart money just be backing the front-runners (Googles, Apples) to get bigger given that they are fuelled by exceptional talent and pools of data?

    3) I just saw your mention of Linkedin stock - this is less of an academic question and more of bewilderment, why do people still insist on CV's (Linkedin shits on CV's)?

    4) This is based on your experience with the Wikimedia Foundation - what does the future of ed-tech look like and how would you you like to see your children or your grandchildren to educate themselves (are current institutions anywhere near up to scratch)?

    • GK

      Guy Kawasaki

      over 3 years ago #

      1) The barriers to entrepreneurship are now quite low. That's good. The more entrepreneurs, the most likely the next Apple. Every current problem looks hard and complex until someone solves it, and then we all say, "Why didn't we do that?"

      2) Smart money should back both: the innovative large companies and hedge on two guys/gals in a garage.

      3) CVs are a vestiage. It will take a while, but LinkedIn is the future of search.

      4) We're just scratching the surface of education. We'll look back and ask, "What were we thinking?" I wish I could tell you how it will evolve, but I don't know. But I do know we are just beginning to improve our educational systems.

      I wish I could tell you more, but I just don't know. I'm not a visionary!

  • MR

    Maria Rahman

    over 3 years ago #

    Hey Guy,

    How would you suggest entrepreneurs to cope with the different challenges they have to face including but not limited to social pressures, peer pressures, family pressures etc.

    Thanks.

    • GK

      Guy Kawasaki

      over 3 years ago #

      There's no magical answer to this. It's simply hard because there are a lot of challenges. If entrepreneurship were easy, more people would do it.

      The key is to hire people who are better than you at their job. At least this way you spread the pressure and responsibility!

  • JJ

    Jess Jessop

    over 3 years ago #

    I am curious, is A/UX on the list of biggest failures and if so what you learned from it. I have to thank you for it being so late and so bad. That enabled my startup based on it to fail fast and I got to move on. I could have been stuck in that dead-end for years.

  • VV

    vvv v

    over 3 years ago #

    Hello My Kawasaki,

    It is an honer to have a chance to ask you a question!

    What do you think about the Mobile App builders? Do you think they are going to overtake developers jobs as it has happened with Website Builders?

    Thank you in advance,
    Vladimir

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