Life As A Chief Evangelist For Top Tech Companies With Guy Kawasaki

What is it like working with Steve Jobs? Guy Kawasaki is the ‚Äúguy‚ÄĚ who can answer this question firsthand. Guy is presently the Chief Evangelist of Canva, an online graphic design tool. Having worked for Apple, he shares his experience working with the company and its esteemed founder. He also talks about his current experience working with Canva and what the platform is all about. Imparting some concepts from his book called Wise Guy: Lessons from A Life Guy shares some insights on jumping curves as well as the benefits of doing more podcasting than professional speaking.

TTL 611 | Chief Evangelist


I’m so glad you joined us because we have Guy Kawasaki. Guy is an American¬†marketing¬†specialist, author and Silicon Valley venture capitalist. He was one of the Apple employees originally¬†responsible for marketing there Macintosh computer in the ‚Äė80s. He popularized the word evangelist¬†in marketing and Macintosh. He’s got a lot of books out, fifteen of them and one is the¬†Wise Guy. I’m excited to talk to him about that.

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Life As A Chief Evangelist For Top Tech Companies With Guy Kawasaki

I am here with Guy Kawasaki who is the chief evangelist of Canva, an online graphic design tool. He was formerly an advisor to the Motorola business unit of Google and the chief evangelist¬†at¬†Apple. It’s so nice to have you here, Guy.¬†

Thank you.

I know a lot about you from watching some of your interviews, your TED Talks and reading your books. I love that you started your book, which is I bought as an audiobook, Wise Guy: Lessons from a Life with asking people to give you corrections if they find anything wrong. I found something wrong with my book and it was a big one.

It doesn’t matter, does it?

As long as you fix it. My dad was an English major. I am¬†a huge fan of Canva and I’m curious what a chief evangelist is. If there’s a¬†chance on the planet that there’s someone out there that hasn’t heard about you, can you give a¬†little backstory of your history?

I’ll start where most people think I began my career, which is I was a software evangelist for the Macintosh division of Apple. My job was to convince software companies and hardware companies to make Macintosh products specifically. This is in the mid ‚Äė80s. This means I worked for Steve Jobs. After that, I started some software companies, wrote, spoke, returned to Apple as Apple’s chief evangelist. Fast forward, I am an author, speaker, chief evangelist of a company called Canva and I‚Äôm Mercedes-Benz brand ambassador.

That’s an exciting life. How many people leave Apple and come back? Is that a thing?

Just me and Steve.

I saw the outline for your book that you said you blew up your Apple career with a single sentence. Do you want to start with what happened there?

This is my second stint at Apple. It was right where Steve was coming back and Apple was supposed to die. This is around ‚Äė97 and there was a meeting of all the marketing people with the ad agency. The ad agency showed us a different campaign for the first time. At the end of the presentation, the ad agency person says to Steve, ‚ÄúI have two copies of the videos of these ads. I’ll give one to you and one to Guy.‚ÄĚ Steve said, ‚ÄúDon’t give one to Guy.‚ÄĚ This is in front of twenty people. I said, “What’s the matter, Steve? Don’t you trust me?” He said, “Yes, Guy, I don’t trust you.” I said, “That’s okay, Steve. I don’t trust you either. The rest is history. Apple went on to become a trillion company and I’m still working.

Why didn’t you trust him?

He just had a different operating system. He was totally focused on what he was doing, what the company was doing. He‚Äôs not exactly a touchy-feely guy. I would not say he was dishonest, but let’s say that there was a reality distortion field around him.

That’s a nice way of putting it. I teach a lot of business courses and we talk about him a lot. I know, I’m sure you’re sick of everybody asking you about him, but it’s hard not to because he represents such¬†success but doesn’t meet what we say you should be. I¬†wrote my dissertation on emotional intelligence and he had some of the ability to understand¬†people and how to push their buttons. I¬†don’t¬†know if I’d exactly say this. The best way to develop empathy is I use it against people.

Steve had many great qualities, but I would not list empathy. It’s too high.

A lot of people say he was two different people when he was there the first time and then there the second time. Were you any different from your first and second time there?

I was pounded down.

You just try to fit the mold together, do you think? 

No, I was worn out.

As a venture capitalist, you make 20 to 25 bets and only three or four are successful. Click To Tweet

By him or the culture?

No, in life.

I know a lot of people don’t talk about their time in Apple. I have a son-in-law who works there and he won’t tell me anything. I’ve had people on the show and they won’t answer anything about their time at Apple, but I notice you do. How come you¬†can?

I’m 65. I don’t care anymore. I’m not applying for any more jobs for the rest of my life. What’s going to happen?

I think that you share a lot of your real-life stories and you’re honest. I love that. Your TED Talk was a¬†lot like your book and how you give all these great insights. I noticed you picked some work that I¬†used from my book on¬†curiosity. You focused on Carol Dweck‘s Mindset. I use¬†that a lot in my¬†curiosity¬†research. Who’s inspired you? Obviously, Carol Dweck did.¬†Anybody else?

In life?

Books in general that you thought were important in research maybe. 

The most important book in my life has been If You Want to Write¬†by Brenda Ueland. Nothing’s even close. The second would be the book that is closest in influence is¬†Influence¬†by Bob Cialdini. Those are two books I highly recommend people read in business.

He’s in Arizona. I went to ASU. You‚Äôre from Kalihi in Hawaii. That’s¬†halfway between Honolulu and Pearl Harbor. I’m trying to think if I know my Hawaii.

If you’re in Waikiki, which is where most people go, Kalihi is three-quarters¬†of the way to the airport.

That’s a nice area to live in. It‚Äôs right there in¬†Waikiki. I know Hawaii. You can go from a nice to a not so nice quick. You talk about your childhood. Do you want to give a little background of how you were raised?

Kalihi is many things, but it’s not nice.

It’s close to nice areas though.¬†

How bad is any part of Hawaii? It is the wrong side of the tracks. Don’t get me wrong. Having said that, I didn’t know I was poor.

It’s much more obvious when you go back?

First of all, I don’t have this made for movies life. It’s not like I came across the Atlantic Ocean or the Pacific Ocean with just the one suitcase. It‚Äôs certainly nothing like seeking asylum at the Southern border of the United States. I didn’t have that kind of traumatic life. I definitely didn’t come from wealth.

That’s why I think it’s so amazing that you ended up at Stanford and what you did. You credit your father¬†a lot for you valuing education.¬†

I don’t know how I got to Stanford to tell you the truth.

TTL 611 | Chief Evangelist
If You Want to Write: A Book about Art, Independence and Spirit

You got to Stanford, Apple, Canva and all the places you’ve been. You’re very humble but very bright.

I’m not humble. I’m honest. A lot of it is being in the right place at the right time. A lot of it is the sacrifice of my parents and a lot of it is I’m just willing to work.

You always have worked and you’ve given a lot of talks. A lot of them are interesting. I saw your interview with Robert Kiyosaki. You get mixed up with him a¬†lot.¬†

It is quite funny.

Do you just give him a little financial advice? I would start doing that and see what they do.

I keep telling people I’m a poor dad, not rich dad poor dad.

You’ve got kids in college?

As a matter of fact, no. I have two graduates from college. One is in high school and one is in intermediate school.

You’re still going to be dealing with all that. You’re going to be writing a few more¬†books. You’ve written a lot. How many was it?

I’ve written fifteen books.

This last one is more of your life story. It’s a little different than your other books.

It’s very different, yes.

What was different for this? Why did you write this one?

Most of my books are pure business books, how to evangelize, how to enchant, how to use social media. This one is more sections about family and education. It is meant as chicken soup for the soul by Guy.

It’s a how-to. I love the humor you put in where you were mistaken as Jackie Chan. What happened?

At the time I was in a portion of 9/11. I pull up to a stop sign, a car full of teenage girls to my left giggling, smiling, making eye contact. The girl in the front seat asked me to roll down my window. I’m thinking, ‚ÄúI truly have arrived. They know who I am.‚ÄĚ She asked me if I was Jackie Chan.

Did you say yes?

No, of course, I didn’t say yes.

Jumping curves means that true innovation occurs not on the current technology or curve you’re on. Click To Tweet

You‚Äôve got to start saying yes to these and mess with them a little bit. It would be fun. I’ve had people tell me I look like Ann Coulter. I’ve had that a couple of times because I have long blonde hair. I don’t look like her. I wish. She’s pretty, I take it¬†as a compliment and I don’t have any political affiliation as she does. She’s not anybody’s favorite that I know and I thought, “That’s an interesting person to be associated with.‚ÄĚ At least they’re picking people that they like. Everybody likes Jackie Chan. That’s a good¬†person to be associated with. You have a lot of great lessons in what you share. I’ve¬†watched a couple of your TED Talks. You give some insight into making meaning and¬†changing the world. What have you learned from being in Silicon Valley that you probably just¬†wouldn’t have learned unless you’ve been there?

I learned the value of dreaming big. Steve and Apple definitely dented the universe. Elon Musk is denting the universe.

Do you deal with people like him?

I’ve never met him. He’s probably the closest thing there is to Steve Jobs. The point is that I’m born and raised in Hawaii and my horizon was set to work in tourism, agriculture and in the government. There wasn’t any sense of Google, Apple, Facebook or multiple billion efforts. It wasn’t on the vocabulary. In Silicon Valley, my eyes were completely opened to that potential.

It’s interesting when you look at the Theranos and some of the ones that had tried to fake it before¬†they made it. Do you think that there’s a lot of faking it before they make it going on?

Absolutely. Every day.

Where does it draw the line where you become a Theranos and you’ve done something that’s not good?

There’s faking it in the sense that you try to have a bigger presence and you don’t act like two guys or two gals in a garage with $10,000 in capital.¬†You make t-shirts, you may have press conferences, you may have a good-looking website. That’s a lot different than saying to the world, ‚ÄúYou give us a drop of blood and we’ll do all these diagnostics.‚ÄĚ That’s a pure and simple lie.

Were you surprised who buys into some of these lies?

Look at her board of directors.

Did that surprise you?

It‚Äôs shocking. The thing in Silicon Valley or maybe in all of tech is that fundamentally we’re all lazy. Instead of figuring something out, we’re looking for proxies. One proxy, for example, is Stanford degree. The assumption is, “You went to Stanford, that’s where all these other smart founders went. You must be smart and good, too.” I would say the probability is higher that that’s true, but it’s not 100% true. Another way of proxying is, ‚ÄúSequoia or Kleiner Perkins or a world-class venture capitalist has invested in at your company. We‚Äôll invest, too.‚ÄĚ The assumption is, ‚ÄúIt‚Äôs good enough for Sequoia. It‚Äôs good enough for Kleiner Perkins.¬†They funded Apple, Cisco, Yahoo, Facebook and Google. It‚Äôs good enough for me.‚ÄĚ That’s the way it works in Silicon Valley. If you encounter a board of directors and there’s George Shultz you see, ‚ÄúThat guy was Secretary of State. If it’s good enough for him, it’s good enough for me.‚ÄĚ If you get Shultz and Madison, ‚ÄúIt’s good enough for me. I’ll join,‚ÄĚ pretty soon they have everybody and in the board meeting she stands up and says, “Yes, we’re doing well.‚ÄĚ One drop of blood and Walgreens is in and all that.

It’s like the Bernie Madoff thing.¬†

The next thing you know, you’re in jail.

I hate it when that happens. It’s a problem. I think that there are so many people that are looking for venture capital that I would imagine as a venture capitalist, you start to worry about what people are¬†overblowing. I loved how you talk about how you hate long PowerPoints and how people say¬†they know your work but don’t necessarily present to you right.

I think that a very good assumption when meeting with a tech company is whatever they say in terms of shipment. ‚ÄúI’ll ship in a month. I’ll ship in two months. I’ll ship in six months,‚ÄĚ whatever it is at a year. When they give you a financial projection, $5 million in the first year, divide that by 100. Always add a year, always divide by 100 and you’ll be spot on.

What do you think it is that holds them back from making what they think? Why are their eyes bigger than their stomachs?

For one thing, they probably never completed an application or made a device or anything before, they’re totally inexperienced and they‚Äôre making it up as they go. Basically, they don’t have pattern recognition because they haven’t seen any patterns. No software ships on time, but they are going to be the first one in the history of mankind to ship on time with someone that they met at their fraternity or sorority during rush week. It’s hard to imagine and I’ve never met an entrepreneur who said, “My¬†cofounder, the tech guy or gal is a total bustle.‚ÄĚ Everybody believes they have got the world’s greatest programmer. It’s like Lake Wobegon. Everybody cannot be above average.

TTL 611 | Chief Evangelist
Chief Evangelist: The thing in Silicon Valley or maybe in all of tech is that fundamentally we’re all lazy. Instead of figuring something out, we’re looking for proxies.


I think a lot of people like to over-promise and they under-deliver and when sales, we were always taught you always under-promise and over-deliver, but I don’t see enough people doing¬†that. You get sucked into that sometimes because you believe it.¬†

In venture capital, you have to think, if I truly do believe it’s only going to be $1 million, they’re not going to be interested in that because they’re looking for the next Google, Apple, Cisco, Yahoo, Facebook, Pinterest or Instagram. I have to make my number come out $25 million, otherwise I won’t get any interest. That’s part of the game that’s played.

How do you know as a VC whether these people can do it or not? What can they do? 

You don’t. Do you mean in terms of the person?

The whole idea that they’re pitching to.

There’s the idea, there’s the market and there are the people. Besides that, there’s nothing to worry about.¬†The truth is nobody knows. The way it works in Silicon Valley is you throw a lot of stuff up against the wall. Some of it sticks. You go up to the wall, you paint the bullseye around that, and you say, “I hit the bullseye.”

That’s what happens exactly.

I started my career at Apple. I am ending my career at Canva. Apple was in 1983. Canva is in 2013. That’s 30 years. I will tell you that an opportunity like Canva and Apple come along once every 30 years or so. Prior to Canva, I hit some singles and stuff, but nothing like Apple or Canva. Once Canva has liquidity, I will declare victory. I will say, “I worked for Canva.” I know Canva would be successful. The thing is that in the 30 years I went to work and started several other companies and I knew they would be successful, too. As a venture capitalist, you make 20, 25 bets and three or four are successful.

It takes one to make it good. You get one Apple out of it.

If you’re three out of 25 or four out of 25, you say, “I knew those guys, Larry and Sergei would make a great company. I knew David and Jerry would make Yahoo a great company.‚ÄĚ You never mentioned the 22 others where you lost everything. You blame those on your partners.

Canva has been amazing. I love Canva. I’m not an affiliate. I’m just telling you. I use it every single day. When I found that, I was like, ‚ÄúThis is the best thing ever for what I need, for all this stuff I can¬†do on my own stuff because it’s idiot-proof.‚ÄĚ Give me a little history of Canva and how it came to be.

I came to be at Canva because they saw me using it through my Twitter account because of my social media assistant. Thank God for her that she was using Canva.

It wasn’t even you?¬†

No, it wasn’t even me. The genesis of the company is that Cliff and Mel, the cofounders, they were teaching students in Western Australia how to do graphics using Photoshop and Illustrator. They figured out it’s too hard for most people.¬†That was the genesis that there must¬†be a better way.

It’s amazing how some companies are able to reach the next level and see the next thing. I think¬†you called it about jumping curves on one of your talks. Can you explain what jumping curves are? I¬†thought that was a great thing.

Jumping curves means that true innovation occurs not on the current technology or curve you‚Äôre on. The most historical example is ice. With ice, there was ice harvesting and then there was ice factory and then there was a refrigerator, but no company went from harvesting ice, cutting a frozen lake to ice factory to refrigerator. Most companies define themselves in terms of what they already do. If you believe you harvest ice, you don’t embrace factory. If you believe you freeze water centrally, then you don’t embrace refrigerator. That’s the problem. A great story is that in 1975, an engineer at Kodak invented digital photography. Can you imagine when he went to his boss and said, “I have figured out a way where people don’t have to buy film?‚ÄĚ That’s going to be good.

We don’t want to cannibalize our products. That’s all they were thinking.¬†

That’s the problem. It’s easy for us to say, “They should have embraced digital photography and they could own the world.” Back then, if you said to the management, “Here’s¬†a way not to buy film anymore,” it‚Äôs hard to imagine. They said, “Let‚Äôs¬†take on our current line of film products and shoot it in the head.”

Most companies define themselves in terms of what they already do. Click To Tweet

That’s exactly the same with the Blockbuster and a lot of others. I talk about that in some of my talks and in my book, I discuss that because I think we need to be curious to the next level of thinking. It’s sometimes¬†hard to see that curve.

A case in point, if you are an early Netflix user, you basically got things as a mailer. You said, “I want to see these five movies.” You send me the DVD and I watch it.‚ÄĚ Send it back. You send me the next¬†DVD. The name of the company is Netflix, not Mailflix.

They saw the curve in the name.

I think so, either that or they just got lucky. It’s better to be lucky than smart.

You make fun of a lot of company‚Äôs names and I think, you make fun of Microsoft. You’ve made fun¬†of Apple and even Wendy’s. I loved your mission statement discussion. Should we have a¬†mission statement or do we need a mantra?

You need a mantra. You don’t need a mission statement.

What’s your mantra?

Empower people. In two words, I can explain what I do.

I was thinking after you were saying that I was like, ‚ÄúMine’s more about curiosity to improve performance.‚ÄĚ Just come up with two, three words and meaning to figure¬†out your mantra. I love Nike’s. If Nike didn’t have that one. I love that one. There are so many people¬†that would put off everything for whatever reason.¬†

For the shareholders, the employees, the dolphins, the whales and for the customers, you basically mean nothing.

Some things I know you loved but don’t exist anymore. In some of your older talks, you talk about TiVo. I guess you don’t TiVo anymore.

No, I’m a Comcast Xfinity customer, so I use Xfinity.

Are you good at seeing the next curve?

Probably no better than anybody else. The difference is I realize I’m no better than anybody else.

Do you think it’s luck for people where sometimes you just happen upon it?

I think 99.99% of the world, yes. Having said that, if you look at Apple, Apple was Apple I, Apple II, Macintosh, iPhone, iPod, iPad, Apple Watch and Apple Store. It’s hard to find an example of a company that made the right call more than Apple. I don’t work there anymore. I have three shares of stock. It doesn’t matter to me anymore.

You say you speak more for Microsoft, even though you used to slam Microsoft more than Apple. What do they think of you at Microsoft for doing that? What didn’t you like about Microsoft?

Let’s say that I thought that they were a little too inspired by the Macintosh interface when they created Windows.

TTL 611 | Chief Evangelist
Chief Evangelist: It’s hard to find an example of a company that made the right call more than Apple.


That’s a good way of putting it. It‚Äôs very tactful. What do you think of what they’re doing? Do they seem to not be the same as they were? Do you think that they do better things?

They’ve reinvented themselves again. They went from operating systems to applications and gaming. They went through the internet, but they’re highly successful in whatever they’re doing.

It is interesting to see the way companies go. I was selling System 36 and 38 in the ‚Äė80s as a VAR¬†for IBM. Back then, everything was IBM. I remember Apple coming up and you thought,¬†‚ÄúThat’s just for schools in my day.‚ÄĚ Do you remember that timeframe? You were¬†already probably an Apple enthusiastic by that time. When did you get into Apple?

I started working there in 1983.

I was working at IBM in ‚Äė85. You’re early getting into Apple and back then, wasn’t it more¬†school-based than everything?

Apple II was school-based. That was ‚Äė76 to ‚Äė84. ‚Äė84 is when truly it was Macintosh who started to make it into a knowledge worker machine as opposed to a school and hobbyist machine.

If you look around my house, I have everything from Apple TV to iPads to phones and everything. The GarageBand is the only reason I use my Mac instead of my PC because the software on Apple computers is not the same as the software on a¬†PC. Quicken for example, it’s completely different. I’ve never understood why¬†they have every app in the world that works great on their iPads and their phones, but then they¬†don’t have the greatest software on their computers. Do you have an explanation for that because¬†it¬†drives me crazy?

Probably because the number of Macs compared to the Windows machine is 25 to one. Whereas the number of iOS devices to Windows mobile is infinite to zero. Android is bigger. Android is 60%, 70%, and iOS is 30% or 40%. The ratio is a lot closer. It’s not just the ratio. The fact is that it’s the ratio which is good enough, but there are tens and hundreds of millions of iPhones. The target is big enough so that’s why.

I know that there are so many choices out there. It’s going to be interesting to see where each of these go. Microsoft and Apple are the hugest things. You never even know what they’re going¬†to be just like we said with Kodak and Blockbuster. A lot of these companies we think will be here won’t be here. That’s what led to my interest in studying curiosity¬†because curiosity is the spark that leads to all this innovation. Have you always been a curious¬†person? I know you said you value education because of your dad. Where does that come from?

Probably my father. This is one of the little things you can look back and say, “It was because of this.” I’m a curious person. I don’t know why.

I found a lot of people are held back by their fear. You don’t seem to have a lot of fear. You jump in. If¬†you talk back to Steve Jobs, you can’t have too much fear.

I only did it once.

It’s all it takes. I liked your other story of what you said when he brought the guy to your desk. Do you want to¬†share that story?

Steve showed up with a guy and asked me what I thought of a company or product, and I told her it was crap and then he says to me, “This is the CEO of the company.” That was a precious moment.

What was his face like?

I wouldn’t say that was a highlight of his life.

Did he reward you for doing that?

He did not fire me, which is a reward in and of itself.

You don't need a mission statement. You need a mantra. Click To Tweet

You’re known as this marketing genius. What makes the go-to for that?

I fooled a lot of people all of the time.

You give amazing speeches. I love your TED Talk when you say you start off¬†when you gave your top ten formats. I think that your sense of humor makes your ability to communicate really important things critical. I think that a lot of people can learn from that. That’s a hard thing to teach somebody. Do you think you’ve gotten better at speaking from having to do it so much?

Yes, it’s definitely repetition. It‚Äôs a skill like anything else, surfing, hockey, sports music, drawing, whatever it is. I don’t know if it takes 10,000 hours. I probably have spoken 10,000 hours. I can think of a person who cannot speak and give them tips to make them a better speaker, but to truly be comfortable and fluid is just repetition.

Reactions when you see people not react, you don’t do that again. If something works, you feel it. If it doesn’t, you get rid of it. Did you take up surfing at 62?

Yes, it’s not optimal.

Are you any good at it?

Let’s say for a person who took it up at 62, I’m probably among the best in the world. How’s that?

That’s a good way of putting it. My brother was a fisherman in Maui. He always terrified me about getting in the water in Hawaii because of all the fishing that they were doing. All the sharks are going in closer to shore. Are you ever worried about the sharks in Hawaii?

No. I know at some scientific level, probably the most dangerous part of us surfing is driving to the water. It’s much more likely I’m going to get in a car accident and die then than the shark’s going to bite me. How many shark attacks are there in the world in a year? Five, ten?

They’re all in McKenna. It seems like every time I go there.

Definitely in Australia, you don’t surf after dusk because of sharks. I think you figure it out.

You’re thinking of doing more podcasts or radio shows. Do you want to talk about that? I’m curious what’s your planning?

I travel a lot. I take 50 to 75 trips a year for professional speaking. I would like my podcasting to replace my professional speaking. I have talked to some podcasters because I’m always on the other end. There are podcasters who make millions of dollars. You‚Äôre expecting Malcolm Gladwell, NPR or all those, but these are people you might not have ever heard off who are making millions of dollars. If they can do it, I can do it.

What are the great tips they’re giving you?¬†

You‚Äôve got to start. That’s the one. I’m going to ask you about that. I have a question for you. My book is called¬†Wise Guy. The logical thing for me to call my podcast would be Wise Guy.¬†I’m not a logical person. I want to ask you what you think of me calling my podcast Duh.

I like Wise Guy better because it’s catchy.¬†

Also as Duh.

TTL 611 | Chief Evangelist
Wise Guy: Lessons from a Life

Duh could be good, but then you’re insulting those who are listening.¬†

There are some people and that depends on how you fall on that spectrum.

It’s like the Dummies books.

Only dummies buy them. A lot of people buy those dummy books. That’s number one. Number two, what I think in this age of approaching fascism. This is going to be the nature of the podcast about how to do things right, interviewing famous people and their advice. There are much stupidity and situational ethics that a podcast called Duh is an intellectual statement. We’ll take a real sports example. Let’s say, I interview Bob Pearson. Bob Pearson is one of the world’s greatest surfboard shapers. In this conversation, I’ll ask him, ‚ÄúBob, if you’re a beginning surfer, what kind of board?” He will probably say something like, ‚ÄúMost people start with a board that has too small a volume. You need volume and length to learn to surf because you can’t catch waves. If you can’t catch waves, you can’t learn to surf. Starting out, you should get a ten-foot board, not a six-foot board or a five-foot board, like your friends who have been surfing for the last¬†twenty years of their lives think you should get.‚ÄĚ To me, that’s a Duhism. Bob Pearson says, ‚ÄúIf you’re going to start surfing, start with a longboard.‚ÄĚ

Let’s say I interview some famous scientists or pediatricians. I say, ‚ÄúWhy do people believe that MMR causes autism?‚ÄĚ They’ll say, ‚ÄúIt was this guy and he put it out. It’s been debunked. The study has been pulled.‚ÄĚ Now there are all these actors and actresses who have no scientific background whatsoever, purely allegorical. There’s no proof of this whatsoever. The downside of not getting MMR is far greater than the upside of not getting MMR and thinking you won’t get autism. That’s another Duhism. Get your kids vaccinated. I’m not necessarily¬†debunking, but I’m saying that they’re probably a lot of people who would say, “Get your kids vaccinated.” ‚ÄúYou should have only ten slides in your PowerPoint, not 60.‚ÄĚ

I’m thinking of the Stuff You Should Know podcast. I had those guys. It’s Chuck and Josh actually endorse my very first book. I love their podcast. If you haven’t listened to it, it’s a great one. I liked the simplicity of saying what the show is about and stuff you should know.¬†I like that yours is short. I think¬†with younger generations, you and I are both Boomers. With Gen Z and Y, they want it¬†more simplistic. It doesn’t have to be as sophisticated in terms of coming up with something¬†witty. They would see things as easy, don’t you think?¬†


I think that you could have something unique about that. I like not narrowing it so focused that¬†you can’t do anything. When I was trying to name mine, somebody¬†interviewed me. I was not planning on doing this and I was trying to get more audio clips from my¬†website because I was wanting to go do more speaking. The guy who interviewed me had a¬†nationally syndicated radio show and I said, “That’s cool.” I just came off from interviewing Ken Fisher from working at the Forbes School of Business. He was speaking for us. I thought, “I enjoyed¬†doing that so much.” I said, “How do you get this gig? He goes, “I can get you the show but you’d¬†have to start in two weeks.”¬†I had to get the whole show put together, thank God for Canva to get the graphics put together. Also, I was happy about Fiverr because I had to get all the other¬†sound things. Everything put together in two weeks. I had to up with the name and I’m thinking,¬†“What do I want to talk about?” I came up with Take the Lead, but everybody pretty much finds it¬†from my name. They’ll probably end up finding it from your name, to be honest with you because you’re so famous.

I hope. Don’t get me wrong. Wise Guy would work because of my name. I think Duh has an attitude.

It’s got your name. I think if you had Duh with Guy.

Who else would have the balls call their podcast, Duh?

I don’t know you better search for somebody. You‚Äôll never know. There are probably others.

There is something called the Department of Human Understanding.

Who do you want to interview on the show? Is it just all the best of people in certain areas? Is it not business necessarily?

Jane Goodall, Arianna Huffington, Richard Branson, those people.

Send them on my way when you’re done because those three I haven’t interviewed.¬†That’s why they should be on my show, too. They would be interesting and you would¬†be a great person to do it because of your sense of humor. I think that a lot of people who do¬†podcasts just go down a list of questions. How many shows have you been on where they have question one, question two and question three? It’s very boring and I don’t think you would do that.¬†It’d be much more conversational. It would be fun.¬†

You don’t have to worry about that.

I‚Äôve already felt what you bought into this. When can we look for this?¬†You’re still looking at ways of recording obviously.

To truly be comfortable and fluid in speaking is just repetition. Click To Tweet

I’m still figuring it all out.

I used my GarageBand on Apple hooked into Focusrite. 

I have Focusrite open on my desktop.

It’s an external hardware that I connect.

They make many different products. What’s the exact name?

It says audio engineering.¬†That’s all it just says what it is. It’s a red box. I’d say it’s about six inches by four inches. It has the¬†cables that you hook to your computer and another one that hooks to the cell phone. You have¬†to get an adapter to hook it to the cell phone and then your microphone.

Can you send me a picture of your setup?

I certainly can. It’s something very simple. I know you could get great sound if you do it other ways. I’ve found that if you’re on Zoom, they started to be able to separate the sound files, but you always have issues with mountains and where I live. That’s the only reason I love Zoom. I’ve had people from Zoom on my show. It’s far my favorite. I¬†like it way better than Skype. I would like to see a little bit better audio controls and maybe I haven’t learned to use it that great. Sometimes when I do the video, the voice and the audio aren’t in sync. If I use it for the radio show, I‚Äôve got to have them turn off their video to get the audio to work well. I don’t like that, but I’m sure that’ll get improved. Everything gets better. Is that what you were envisioning? It’s a red box that plugs into all your different media. Guitar City was the best place to get started with podcasting. They’re so good. They tell you everything you need. The hardest part is coming up with commercials¬†and the audio stuff, having jingles and you have to do that quick. I’m sure you have a million¬†connections with the tech world so I wouldn’t worry¬†so much for you.

When you’re talking to me, are you holding your phone up to your ear?

No, my phone is on a charger on the desk. It’s plugged in into the Focusrite box and the Focusrite box¬†is plugged into the computer. It’s quite easy to do it and you know who to call. I’ll answer any questions. We’re¬†friends now. You can call me anytime.¬†This was fun and we got a little off track, but I think some people¬†probably¬†are¬†interested in that¬†because I have a lot of people who want to do their own show. All that you have¬†done and all you shared on the show has been inspirational to me, Guy. I was so excited to¬†have you on. Thank you so much. If people wanted to buy your books, how do you want them to reach you or is it just Duh?

I’m Guy Kawasaki on Gmail. My most active social media account is LinkedIn. People should understand I‚Äôm highly political. If you don’t want politics, don’t follow me on LinkedIn. As far as my day-to-day personal existence is Instagram.

It’s so nice to have you on the show, Guy.¬†

Thank you.

You’re welcome.

I want to thank Guy for being my guest.¬†We get so many great guests on this¬†show and it’s so much fun to learn everybody’s backstory and all the things they’ve gone through. Guy definitely has some great talks out there.¬†I loved all of his¬†work. If you’ve hadn’t had a chance to read some of his books or watch his stuff, I hope you check¬†out his websites and check out the TED Talks. He’s entertaining as you could probably tell from¬†the show. He’s very popular for a good reason. There’s so much he and I talked about before the¬†show that made me think, this guy’s super curious. He’d had a whole bunch of questions for me¬†about podcasting and different things that I’m working on. I love to see curiosity in people and¬†obviously is one of his strong suits.

I have a lot of people who ask me questions about curiosity¬†because of my research. There’s a lot of information you could find on the website.¬†If you go to¬†, you can download the manual for some of the training that we give just¬†to get an idea of whether you might be interested in training people to develop their levels of¬†curiosity. In my research I found four things that keep people from being curious and they‚Äôre fear,¬†assumptions, technology and environment. When we train people to give the CCI, we teach them all¬†about the background of curiosity and how these four factors come into play. We help them create personal action plans and corporate action plans for organizations.

Anybody who¬†goes through the CCI training gets five hours of SHRM certification credit, which is¬†very nice. We have all that, plus we’re starting to work with wholesaler situations and affiliates.¬†If¬†you’re a consultant and you’re working in the area of emotional intelligence, DISC, Myers-Briggs or any of the emotional intelligence types of tests or any engagement type of tests, this is¬†very¬†unique.¬†It makes you much more relevant to what’s going on because curiosity is the thing that ties¬†into innovation, engagement and motivation. Everything they’re trying to work on in the workplace, this is the key to unlocking them all. I have a lot of people interested in doing this.

If you want to¬†know more information, you can contact me at or you can go to the site to¬†learn more about curiosity. If you’re interested in catching up on past shows that you’ve missed, you¬†can still go to You¬†can also hear us on iTunes, iHeart, Roku, you name it, we’re out there. You can even ask your Echo to¬†play Dr. Diane Hamilton show and it will play it. I think Google does this as well. It’s out¬†there. Everybody can sign up to receive it on my website if you’d rather get it that way. I¬†appreciate your support of the show and please let other people know. If you have any questions,¬†please contact me. I hope you enjoyed this episode. I hope you join us for the next episode of¬†Take The Lead.

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About Guy Kawasaki

TTL 611 | Chief EvangelistGuy Kawasaki is the chief evangelist of Canva, an online graphic design tool. Formerly, he was an advisor to the Motorola business unit of Google and chief evangelist of Apple.

He is also the author of APE, What the Plus!, Enchantment, and many other books including his most recent book Wise Guy: Lessons from a Life. Kawasaki has a BA from Stanford University and an MBA from UCLA as well as an honorary doctorate from Babson College.

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