Guy Kawasaki on Social Media & Working with Steve Jobs

Guy Kawasaki social media london real 1000

Hey guys it’s James here with this week’s #ThrowbackTuesday!

Today it’s Guy Kawasaki – the former evangelist for Apple and social media expert.

There’s so much value in this episode. But also Guy is just hilarious!

He’s a straight shooter and what I love about him is he’s not afraid to piss people off. He embodies the idea that if you want to build a brand, then you need to build trust.

And Guy does that. He’s got natural authority, not just because he’s got the experience to back it up, but also because he’s not selling anything.


This is not simply entertainment though. I got some serious takeaways from this interview.

The fact that Guy is a kind of old sage of the tech world, and he delivers his lines like a seasoned stand-up comic just adds the power of what he has to say.

There’s almost too much in this episode – stories, social media tips and hard facts and advice. You have to watch it a couple of times, and distil it for yourself.

But here are my three favourite bits of wisdom that I have take away from it.

Firstly, Guy’s tips on writing. As a writer myself, I found it a bit of a relief to hear that he is not the perfect writer.

Guy has four kids, gives 50-75 talks a year and has written 13 books.

Guy Kawasaki On Writing

But it made me feel a lot better to hear that he finds it hard to get down to the page just as much as the rest of us!

Guy laughs at himself when he says that he will answer every email in his inbox, check Twitter and Google Plus before he feels ready to write.

I think we can all sympathise, but writers in particular know what it’s like to go through this procrastination and distraction.

There’s no doubt about it that Guy is a high performance individual, but he’s also very human, and he’s a family man.

The truth is writing never fits into daily life easily. There’s always something else you could be doing, especially in the social media world.

I also thought it was hilarious that he makes most of his money from the part of his life that takes the least work – public speaking.

It’s an interesting little vignette to hear Guy talk about his public speaking, and to hear him talk about how he had to train himself to get good at it.

Coming out of the tech world, it wasn’t something he was naturally drawn to, but if you can be remotely at ease talking to crowds, you are already streets ahead of everyone else in that industry.

Guy Kawasaki On Curation vs Creation

Secondly, I got some genuine practical tips from Guy on how to run my social media.

No matter who you are, social media is a vital skill to have.

When you are an artist like me, it’s just as important to your daily life as it is for entrepreneurs.

As Guy says, for those of us who don’t have £40million a year to spend on marketing, it’s all we’ve got, so it’s crucial to make it a priority.

Guy’s funny when he talks about how his book on social networking deliberately avoids what he calls “duh-isms”.

In this age of multiple platforms, it seems like everybody’s a guru, everybody’s selling some kind of online expertise like they have the keys to the secret garden.

But most of it’s common sense, and pages and pages are written about stuff that’s just kind of obvious!

Guy knows this, and he’s not the kind of man to waste time. He gives specific advice on how to build your profile and how often you have to Tweet and post.

For instance, it was interesting to me to hear him talk about the way cover photos and profile photos should complement each other, and how important they are.

Guy says that the cover photo should tell a story about you, and show subscribers and followers that you are reliable and competent.

You shouldn’t use any stagey “mug-shot” pictures.

For the profile picture, it should be the place where you show yourself doing what it is you do.

Cover photo shows your personality in action, profile picture is you at work. And they should be high quality pictures, lit from the front.

Another thing that I thought was gold dust was Guy’s tip on your tagline or description. We should avoid being sarcastic or trying too hard, but use this to sum up our brand.

And that doesn’t mean slogans and missions statements. It means summing up our purpose.

For example, Guy suggest that Fed Ex should use “Peace of Mind”, for theirs.

Guy’s own description is “Empowering People”.

My way of connecting with this is that our description should let people know the impact we want to make on the world, how we want our audience or client to feel when they use our product.

The overall takeaway I got from Guy’s “practical and tactical” advice is that you should think long-term.

He says a lot of people write books to simply build their brand, but it comes off too “selly”.

Guy says this is bad karma. You need build loyalty and trust. It’s a long game.

Focus on building a community around yourself, a trusted platform that delivers value, and overtime that will ay off.

I think for people like me in the creative industries this is the true bottom line. It’s a hard pill to swallow, because it means the big bucks are going to be hard to come by at first.

In the end, though, you will be the last man standing, because you will have positioned yourself in such a way that you are part of people’s lives – they come to you.

Selling never really becomes part of it.

That takes time though, and it means you have to think in a different paradigm.

Guy Kawasaki On Good Communication

The third and last thing that sticks with me from this interview is when Guy talks about working for Steve Jobs.

This is where Guy gets a little serious. He talks of Jobs in hushed tones, and you can tell he had a huge impact on Guy.

It seems that all the stories about Jobs being a hard taskmaster are true, but Guy remembers all this as a good thing.

It’s like they all knew that his obsessive volatility was part of the package.

Guy says everyone lived in fear of him, because he would notice crazy details, even down to the kinds of dustbins used in the office.

But it was this attention to detail that marked Jobs out. It wasn’t just about busting people’s balls. It was about vision.

The way Guy talks about Jobs reminds me of the way people talk about Picasso or Neil Young or Hemingway.

Just being around people like that is an intense experience, but Guys says everyone that worked for Jobs did their best work.

It’s really striking the way Guy’s mood and demeanour changes when remembering Steve Jobs. He has nothing but reverence for the man.

Overall, this episode is practical and entertaining in equal measure. Watch out for Guy’s story about all the hate tweets he got after sending out a picture of whale sushi.

Guy doesn’t care if people hate him, and in fact, he says a certain amount of divisiveness on social media is no bad thing.

One thing big companies do wrong is trying to please everybody all the time and avoid controversy. That’s why they are scared of social media.

Guy insists we should avoid worrying about that. Just focus on being authentic, and projecting that authenticity and the brand will grow over time.

That pretty much sums up what Brian has done with London Real, and it’s a model we all need to follow on social media.

Like Brian says in his Ted Talk, when you put your true self out there, your true tribe will find you.

Guy Kawasaki - The Art Of Social Media - TRAILER

Let me know in the comments below how you can change up your social media game TODAY after watching this episode.


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