Guy Kawasaki Interview: Entrepreneur Secrets from Silicon Valley

guy kawasaki interview entrepreneurial secrets I recently interviewed Seth Godin – and so next up I decided to interview the amazing Guy Kawasaki – a Silicon Valley based author, speaker, and entrepreneur.

Kawasaki is the chief evangelist of Canva, trustee of the Wikimedia Foundation, brand ambassador for Mercedes Benz and executive fellow at the Haas School of Business at U.C. Berkeley.

Plus formerly, Guy Kawasaki was an advisor to the Motorola business unit of Google and chief evangelist of Apple.

My Guy Kawasaki Interview

Guy – as my readers know, I love creating inspirational posters. In fact,  my inspirational posters which I write and design each day are the fuel behind how I grew my Facebook author page to over 1.3 million fans.

It’s no secret that I’m a huge fan of your company Canva – to create posters.

I know you’re the chief evangelist of Canva and helped to grow Canva from 1.8 million users to 10 million users in 12 months.

This brings me to my first question….


What made you so passionate about Canva in the first place?

Guy Kawasaki:

guy kawasaki successI’m into leveling the playing field and democratizing stuff. My first job in tech was in the Macintosh Division.

There our task was to democratize computing.

Canva is democratizing design. Empowering people so that with out expensive software and extensive training they can create great graphics.

So the passion for Canva is because it is a great platform for changing the world—making a “dent in the universe” as Steve would say.


How do you plan to keep growing Canva?

Guy Kawasaki :

It’s not “my” plan. There is a great team of people around the world that is sustaining our growth. It’s not any single thing: there’s the added functionality of the desktop, iPad, and iPhone products; additional stock photos and vector graphics, customer service and support, reaching out to more markets in their own languages, and addressing large enterprises. In short, “it’s complicated”—but we have lots of hardworking and talented people.


One of your suggested tools for entrepreneurs is to create a mantra, not a mission statement. What are some examples of a mantra vs. mission – so my entrepreneurial readers can benefit from creating a mantra?

Guy Kawasaki:

A mission statement is typically ten to fifty words long.

No one can remember them. You’d never guess which company they apply to.

A mantra is three to five words long. Anyone can remember them.

For example…

  • A mantra for Nike would be “authentic athletic performance.”
  • A mantra for the Air Force would be “kick butt in the air.”


What is your personal mantra for this upcoming year?

Guy Kawasaki:

My personal mantra is “empower people.” That’s what I try to do with my writing, speaking, advising, and investing—my interviews too!


You work on so many businesses – while also raising four kids, two dogs, three guinea pigs, 10 chickens, and one rabbit.  How do you balance being a dad?

Guy Kawasaki:

It’s not easy. It’s not clear that I pull this off. I travel a lot. But when I’m home, I don’t go to an office and work sixty hours a week. Plus I try to never travel on a weekend. Also…I have a rule that I never get on a plane for free.

guy kawasaki loveQuestion:

What are some of your parenting philosophies?

Guy Kawasaki :

My most important parenting philosophy is “Drop everything when your wife asks you to do something.” That’s all a man really has to know.


Please offer quick one-to-two-sentence advice for companies in (a) pre-launch (b) launch, and (c) post-launch?

Guy Kawasaki :

Pre-launch: focus on prototypes. Launch: focus on sales. Post-launch: focus on bugs. Overall, companies should always remember, “Sales fixes everything.”


What do you see as the future for online digital courses?

Guy Kawasaki:

I have my doubts that online digital courses will replace face-to-face teaching. But I have no doubts that they will democratize education. When all you need to learn is Internet access and intellectual curiosity, good things are bound to happen.


Which platforms do you foresee being powerful for creating/distributing digital courses?

Guy Kawasaki:

guy kawasaki success silicon valleyI’m totally bullish on social media for creating and distributing content. Right now Facebook and its sub-brands reign supreme but we know what happened to MySpace If I could predict the future, I would know where to invest.

Canva, my company, is particularly good at helping people create great graphics to enhance communication capabilities. Here’s a link so that people can buy free photos and designs: canva.com/gift/guylive


What do you see as the future for online videos?

Guy Kawasaki :

I love online videos—in particular “live” online video such as Facebook Live. This platform is the best source of interaction and engagement for me right now. I think that brands should leap on this as a source of good, fast, and cheap marketing.

Thanks so much, Guy! Love all you do!! Find out more and follow Guy Kawasaki here!

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