20 VC 001 Guy Kawasaki of Apple, Motorola and AllTop.com

Summary Notes


Harry Stabbings kicks off the inaugural episode of "20 minutes VC" with tech luminary Guy Kawasaki, who reflects on his career from Apple's chief evangelist to his venture capital endeavors with Garage Technology Ventures. They discuss the transformative impact of Steve Jobs and Apple, comparing it to Google's influence. Kawasaki candidly shares his motivations for entering VC, prioritizing product over team when investing in startups, and his belief in the power of persuasion for entrepreneurs. He also touches on his personal use of Chrome and Airmail, his preference for impactful books like "Influence" by Bob Cialdini, and his leisure pursuit of hockey. The conversation concludes with quick-fire takes on topics like Amazon's growth, the tech bubble, and Tesla's potential to go mainstream, with Kawasaki's insights offering a blend of industry wisdom and personal philosophy.

Summary Notes

Introduction to the 20 Minutes VC Podcast

  • Harry Stebbings introduces the first episode of the 20 Minutes VC podcast.
  • The podcast aims to explore the world of venture capital in 20-minute segments.
  • Guy Kawasaki is the featured guest on the first episode.
  • Listeners are offered a chance to win books and a consultation with a VC by reviewing the podcast on iTunes and emailing Harry.

"Hello, ladies and gents. It's Harry Stebbings here. And welcome to the first ever episode of the 20 minutes VC, where we delve inside the world of venture capital, all in easily digestible 20 minutes."

This quote introduces the podcast and its format, setting expectations for the content and duration of each episode.

Guy Kawasaki's Career and Impact

  • Guy Kawasaki has had a significant career in technology and venture capital.
  • He served as the chief evangelist of Apple and advisor to the Motorola business unit of Google.
  • Kawasaki is currently the chief evangelist of Canva and a founding partner of Garage Technology Ventures.

"Guy has enjoyed an incredible career in the technology industry. He was chief evangelist of Apple. He then went on to be an advisor to the Motorola business unit of Google. He is now chief evangelist of Canva."

This quote summarizes Guy Kawasaki's professional background, highlighting his influential roles in major tech companies and his venture into venture capital.

Success and Steve Jobs

  • Guy Kawasaki considers Steve Jobs as the first person that comes to mind when thinking of success.
  • Steve Jobs is recognized for his profound impact on changing the world.

"The obvious answer is none other than Steve Jobs, of course, who is more successful, although he's."

This quote identifies Steve Jobs as a benchmark for success in Guy Kawasaki's view, emphasizing Jobs's unparalleled influence in the tech industry.

Comparing Steve Jobs with Sergey Brin and Larry Page

  • Guy Kawasaki discusses the impact of Steve Jobs in comparison to Google's founders, Sergey Brin and Larry Page.
  • Kawasaki believes that Apple, under Jobs, made multiple significant changes across different industries.
  • He suggests that while Google changed search, its impact may not be as extensive as Apple's on various fronts.

"Apple has made multiple changes. Right. So they changed the face of computing, and they changed the face of phones, and then they invented the face of tablets. And Google has definitely changed search. But I don't know if you could make the same claim that they've truly, truly changed as many things as Apple."

This quote reflects Kawasaki's opinion that Apple's influence under Steve Jobs was more multifaceted and profound than Google's impact on the tech industry.

Guy Kawasaki's Transition into Venture Capital

  • Guy Kawasaki candidly attributes his transition into venture capital to greed.

"Like any other vc, it was probably greed."

This quote provides a straightforward and honest reason for Kawasaki's move into venture capital, suggesting that financial incentives were a driving factor.

Key Investment Considerations

  • As a venture capitalist, Guy Kawasaki believes the product is the most important aspect when investing in a startup.
  • This view contrasts with the common emphasis on the importance of the team.

"This is something that everybody says. It's always the team. I must admit that I think that the most important thing is the product."

This quote reveals Kawasaki's investment philosophy, where he prioritizes the quality and potential of the product over the team behind it.

Importance of Product Over Team

  • Guy Kawasaki emphasizes that having a great product is more important than having a great team because you can replace a team, but the product is fundamental.
  • Harry Stebbings refers to Guy's role as a chief evangelist and the necessity for a game-changing product in such a role.
  • Guy agrees with Harry's understanding, indicating that this product-centric view is less common among venture capitalists, who often prioritize the team.

"And you can have a great product with a lousy team. You can get a new team, which." "Is actually where I read your blog post about being a chief evangelist. And you can only actually be a chief evangelist at something that's got a truly game changing product, which is now why you're at canvy." "Yes, it really is. But I am in the vast minority of venture capitalists who think this way. Most people would say that it's about the team."

The first quote highlights the idea that a product's quality is paramount, as teams can be reformed, but a fundamental product cannot be easily changed. The second and third quotes reflect Harry's understanding of Guy's philosophy and Guy's confirmation that his focus on product over team is atypical among venture capitalists.

Role of Financials in Valuing Startups

  • Guy Kawasaki discusses the role of financials in startup evaluation, indicating that most startups being evaluated do not have significant revenue.
  • Harry Stebbings inquires whether financials or potential revenues are a significant factor for Guy when looking at a startup.
  • Guy suggests that potential is more critical since many startups do not have existing revenues at the time of evaluation.

"Well, how do you mean the financials?" "Most of these decisions are made, the revenue is zero." "Yeah. So you have to go on potential then."

The first quote shows Guy asking for clarification on the role of financials, indicating that it's a nuanced topic. The second quote clarifies that startups often have no revenue when investment decisions are made, emphasizing the focus on potential rather than current financials. The third quote is an agreement on the necessity to evaluate based on potential.

Valuation of High-Profile Companies

  • Guy Kawasaki comments on the subjectivity of valuations, using Uber's valuation as an example.
  • He expresses a laissez-faire attitude toward high valuations if companies can achieve them.
  • Guy also makes a critical remark about Uber's use of funds for investigating journalists, suggesting alternative uses of capital.

"Well, valuations are in the eyes of the beholder, so if they can get it, they can get it. Hallelujah." "Yeah, I mean, imagine if they weren't spending all that money investigating journalists."

The first quote implies that valuations are subjective and vary depending on who is assessing the value. The second quote is a sarcastic remark about Uber's activities, hinting at controversy and potentially misplaced priorities.

Frustrations with Entrepreneurs

  • Guy Kawasaki expresses frustration with entrepreneurs' inaccurate and overly optimistic financial forecasts.
  • Harry Stebbings asks if the issue is that entrepreneurs are too optimistic, and Guy confirms this.
  • Guy refutes the idea that Steve Jobs was an exception to this trend of overoptimistic forecasting.

"Well, one thing that drives me nuts is that they always are so wrong in their forecast." "I've never seen one that undershot his projections." "The last person in the world who underplayed it is Steve Jobs. Trust me."

The first quote reveals Guy's annoyance with consistently incorrect financial forecasts by entrepreneurs. The second quote emphasizes that entrepreneurs tend to overshoot rather than undershoot projections. The third quote counters the notion that Steve Jobs was conservative in his forecasts, asserting that he was not an exception.

Book Recommendations for Entrepreneurs

  • Guy Kawasaki discusses his book "The Art of Social Media: Power Tips for Power Users" and his intention behind the title.
  • Harry Stebbings suggests that the book is useful even for non-power users of social media.
  • Guy explains that he prefers to present his book as comprehensive and powerful rather than as a simplistic guide for beginners.

"Why did I name it this way?" "Listen, I would rather people think that this is too complete, too encompassing, too powerful book than people think this is a book for dummies." "I just can't wrap my mind around the concept of telling your customer that you're a dummy. So you should buy this book."

The first quote is Guy questioning his own title choice, prompting a discussion about the book's target audience. The second quote conveys Guy's preference for a book to be seen as thorough and advanced rather than for novices. The third quote reflects Guy's aversion to labeling customers as "dummies," which he finds insulting.

  • Guy Kawasaki recommends two different types of books for entrepreneurs depending on their needs: one for inspiration and overcoming self-doubt, and another for practical skills in persuasion and social psychology.
  • "If You Want to Write" by Brenda Ueland is suggested for its insights into overcoming doubt, particularly self-doubt, which is a common challenge for entrepreneurs.
  • "Influence" by Robert Cialdini is recommended for its focus on persuasion and social psychology, which are deemed essential skills for entrepreneurs.

If I'm being touchy feely, I would give them "If You Want to Write" by Brenda Euland... it is about overcoming doubt, and particularly self-doubt, which is incredibly useful for entrepreneurs.

  • Guy Kawasaki suggests "If You Want to Write" by Brenda Ueland as a book that, while not directly about entrepreneurship, provides valuable lessons in overcoming self-doubt, a significant obstacle for entrepreneurs.

If I wasn't being touchy feely, I would give them the book called "Influence" by Bob Cialdini... influence is all about persuasion and social psychology.

  • For a more practical approach, Guy Kawasaki recommends "Influence" by Robert Cialdini, highlighting the importance of persuasion and social psychology in entrepreneurship.

Essential Skills for Entrepreneurs

  • Persuasion and social psychology are identified as key skills for entrepreneurs.
  • The success of a startup is simplified into two primary roles: making the product and selling it. The skill of persuasion is particularly relevant for the selling aspect.

Well, it's kind of simple. Somebody's got to make it and somebody's got to sell it.

  • Guy Kawasaki boils down the essence of a startup to two fundamental roles: product creation and sales, implying the necessity of persuasion skills for the latter.

Indispensable Daily Tools

  • Guy Kawasaki discusses his reliance on certain apps and software for daily use, emphasizing the importance of efficient tools for professional productivity.
  • Chrome is preferred over Safari due to its superior extensions, which are particularly useful for managing social media.
  • Airmail is favored as an email client for its speed and user interface, contrasting with the perceived inefficiencies of Apple Mail and the contact management limitations of Microsoft Outlook.

I use Chrome every day of my life... Because Chrome has better extensions and a lot of them are necessary for social media.

  • Guy Kawasaki explains his preference for Chrome as a web browser, attributing it to the availability of extensions that aid in social media management.

I use an email client called Airmail every day of my life... it's very fast, number one. Number two, I just like the user interface.

  • Airmail is the chosen email client for Guy Kawasaki due to its speed and user-friendly interface, which he finds lacking in Apple Mail.

I would love to use Microsoft Outlook, but... it saves it into its own format. I need it to save and talk to either Apple contacts or Google contacts.

  • Guy Kawasaki expresses a preference for interoperability between contact management systems, which is a limitation he encounters with Microsoft Outlook.

Personal Preferences and Leisure Activities

  • Guy Kawasaki expresses a desire for youth when asked about changing a characteristic about himself.
  • He reveals his enjoyment of playing hockey and would choose to participate in a hockey tournament if he had a free weekend.

I would be younger.

  • In response to a hypothetical question about changing something about himself, Guy Kawasaki humorously wishes for youth.

I would play in a hockey tournament... I just love hockey.

  • When asked about his preferred leisure activity, Guy Kawasaki shares his passion for hockey and his desire to play in tournaments.

Amazon: Buy or Sell

  • Guy Kawasaki believes Amazon is a "killing machine" and a strong buy.
  • He uses Amazon for purchasing, self-publishing, and reselling through traditional publishing.
  • Amazon's comprehensive infrastructure positions it to capitalize on the growth of online purchases.

Because Amazon is a killing machine and I use it as someplace I buy from. Also I publish through as a self-publisher and I resell through using a traditional publisher. So I know how freaking awesome that company is.

Guy Kawasaki expresses his multifaceted relationship with Amazon and his positive opinion on the company's capabilities and market position, which informs his recommendation to buy Amazon stock.

Perception of Online Purchases

  • Only 8% of purchases in America are made online.
  • There is an expectation of growth in online purchases.
  • Amazon is anticipated to benefit significantly from this increase due to its established infrastructure.

I read a stat the other day that only 8% of purchases in America are online.

Harry Stebbings shares a statistic that suggests there is substantial room for growth in the online retail sector, which could benefit companies like Amazon.

Tech Bubble: Reality and Impact

  • Opinions on the existence of a tech bubble are divided.
  • Guy Kawasaki acknowledges the possibility of a tech bubble but emphasizes the importance of focusing on individual companies rather than the macro environment.
  • The potential dangers of a tech bubble are recognized, but Kawasaki suggests that it is not something that can be easily influenced or prevented.

I believe it is, but I also believe. So what if it is or it isn't? What really matters is your one company, not the big picture.

Guy Kawasaki acknowledges the potential existence of a tech bubble but argues that for investors and entrepreneurs, the success of individual companies is more important than broader market trends.

Tesla's Position in the Auto Industry

  • Tesla's popularity varies by region, being mainstream in areas like Northern California.
  • Guy Kawasaki owns multiple vehicles and often reviews cars, but does not own a Tesla.
  • He questions Tesla's ability to scale up to the level of established global car manufacturers like Audi or BMW.
  • The decreasing cost of gas presents a challenge to the appeal of electric cars, but climate concerns remain a compelling reason for their purchase.
  • Guy Kawasaki believes that if anyone can succeed in making Tesla a mainstream global car manufacturer, it is Elon Musk.

Well, that is a big stretch. I mean, they're selling, I don't know, what, 10,000 cars a year, and Audi is selling hundreds of thousands. Right. So that's a big chasm to cross.

Guy Kawasaki points out the significant difference in scale between Tesla and established car manufacturers, indicating the challenge Tesla faces in becoming a mainstream global car manufacturer.

Conclusion of the Podcast

  • Harry Stebbings expresses gratitude to Guy Kawasaki for his participation and insights shared during the podcast.
  • The host encourages listeners to subscribe and comment, highlighting the value of audience engagement.

Well, thank you so much for your time, and thank you so much for coming on the show. I can't tell you how much I've enjoyed chatting with you.

Harry Stebbings concludes the interview by thanking Guy Kawasaki for the discussion and expressing his personal enjoyment of the conversation.

What others are sharing

Go To Library

Want to Deciphr in private?
- It's completely free

Deciphr Now
Footer background
Crossed lines icon
Crossed lines icon
Crossed lines icon
Crossed lines icon
Crossed lines icon
Crossed lines icon
Crossed lines icon

© 2024 Deciphr

Terms and ConditionsPrivacy Policy