Planoly Power Chats x Guy Kawasaki

Guy Kawasaki has an impressive CV to say the least, but he is so much more than what you’ll read on paper. Guy proves that twenty-four hours in a day is enough time to achieve and fulfill your dreams while still being a family man, and his extensive list of achievements proves just that. He is the Chief Evangelist of Canva, a member of the board of trustees for the Wikimedia Foundation, a brand ambassador for Mercedes Benz USA, and an executive fellow of the Haas School of Business (UC Berkeley). Also, remember when he was the Chief Evangelist of Apple?!! Additionally, he is an accomplished author of more than ten books and travels the world to give over fifty keynote speeches a year. We were lucky enough to steal time away from his busy schedule to ask him eight questions. Read on to find out what we asked him, his expert advice, and the biggest lesson he’s learned so far.

Who is Guy Kawasaki?

I’m the Chief Evangelist of Canva, a Mercedes-Benz brand ambassador, and an executive fellow of the Haas School of Business. In addition, I am a husband and father of four children.

You’ve mentioned that you love being a part of companies who are democratizing “x” (i.e., Apple with personal computers and Canva with graphic design). How do you evaluate if a company is heading in that direction before joining?

The product offering of a company indicates what it’s trying to do. An intuitive computer was clearly going to democratize computing. With Canva, an inexpensive and easy-to-use online design service was clearly going to enable people to create great graphics.

What advice can you give businesses on how to conquer social media, that is after reading “The Art of Social Media,” of course.

The most important concepts to understand are these:

  1. Social media is a means to an end. The end is the ability to promote your product or service.
  2. In order for this promotion to work, a company must earn the attention and permission of its customers.
  3. The way to earn this is to provide value: information, assistance, and entertainment.

That’s all there is to it. The rest is implementation, but implementation is hard.

With all of these social media platforms offering “live” features, how important do you think it is for businesses to incorporate this into their social media strategies?

Currently, live video is what’s hot—particularly with Facebook. You have to go with the flow—if Facebook wants live video, you provide live video. If Facebook wants something else, you provide that. In reality, you’re the tail, and the social media services are the dog—harsh but true!

What are your thoughts on Instagram and how does it compare to other social media platforms?

If you like photography and have good people, places, and things to take pictures of, it’s the way to go. The story feature is great. If I were in food, fashion or tourism, it would be second only to Facebook as a platform.

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How do you manage your schedule and maintain sanity in this fast-paced and ever-changing world?

I work very hard, and I have two great people who help me. This is a potent combination!

What is the biggest lesson you’ve learned in your entire career and what advice would you give to your younger self?

The biggest lesson is that you should never ask people to do something that you wouldn’t do. Assuming you’re not a psychopath, this will provide a great moral rudder for your interactions with customers, employees, vendors, and investors.

The advice I’d give my former self is not to quit Apple. I quit twice. That probably cost me $50 million.

“The biggest lesson is
that you should never ask
people to do something that
you wouldn’t do.”


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I was also raised in Hawai’i and have many fond memories growing up on Oahu. What’s the best thing about Hawai’i for you?

The best thing about Hawai’i for me is the break in front of the Honolulu Zoo called Publics: warm water, 2-3 feet, not crowded, and the folks for the Ohana Surf Project teach there.


Stay connected:

Website: Guy Kawasaki
Website: Canva
Instagram: @guykawasaki
Instagram: @canva