What We Discuss with Guy Kawasaki:
- How to focus on using the success of others as fuel for motivation rather than poison for envy.
- How we can embrace the unknown when we’re looking at new ideas for our business or career.
- Why Guy believes it’s better to be lucky than smart.
- What we can and should — and should not — emulate from visionary leaders like Steve Jobs.
- What Guy means when he says the key to career success is to get high and to the right — even though we’re in California, it’s not what you might think!
- And much more…
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Before there was anything like social media, influencers actually had to do, be, or create something that warranted such influence. By this definition, Wise Guy: Lessons from a Life author Guy Kawasaki has been a qualified Silicon Valley influencer for decades, beginning with marketing the Macintosh line for Apple back in 1984.
But Guy will be the first to tell you he’s missed just as many opportunities as he’s won. On this episode, we’ll dig into the treasure trove of Guy’s life lessons and gaze appreciatively upon the sparkling nuggets of wisdom he’s picked up along the way. Listen, learn, and enjoy!
Please Scroll Down for Featured Resources and Transcript!
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Find out how 22-year-old Nick Santonastasso inspires Self-Made Man Mike Dillard by listening to his podcast here!
More About This Show
When Guy Kawasaki tells us he’s been asked by American teenagers if he’s Jackie Chan, he can’t help but hope Jackie Chan has been asked by teenagers in Hong Kong if he’s Guy Kawasaki.
Like Jackie, Guy does all of his own stunts and he’s written all of his own books — currently numbering at 15 with the latest, Wise Guy: Lessons from a Life.
As someone who’s been a genuine influencer in Silicon Valley since he was on the team that famously marketed Apple’s Macintosh in 1984, he doesn’t see eye to eye with today’s so-called influencers who advocate dropping everything to “follow your passion.”
“I can’t build a case that you don’t want an education,” says Guy. “I disagree with the theory of telling high school students you don’t need a college education and you should just start a company. Maybe that worked for Steve Jobs, but it doesn’t work for most people. You need four more years. You need a broad base of knowledge to prepare you for life.”
And Guy further notes that the most visible influencers you’ll find on Instagram and other social media platforms urging impressionable, aspiring influencers to “go all in” are more of a lucky exception to the rule rather than the rule itself.
“I don’t know how many Instagram influencers there are, but there are not that many. There are not tens of thousands of them. That, I think, is the equivalent of telling a kid, ‘Quit school to become a professional baseball/hockey/soccer — you name it — player.’ Yes, there is LeBron James. There is Wayne Gretzky. There are those kinds of people. But the reason why they’re famous is because they’re so rare, not because everybody achieves that stature.”
The odds are better that a young person starting a career today can land a good job with the proper education and preparation than striking it rich as an overnight Instagram or YouTube sensation — or professional athlete.
Guy even contends that the biggest titans of modern industry arrived to their lofty perches more out of luck than by following any surefire formula or wishy-washy notion of “passion.”
“I don’t think that Mark Zuckerberg or Elon Musk or Steve Jobs had this plan,” says Guy. “I think one thing led to another. I surf a lot, and every once in a while I turn around, I don’t even paddle, and I catch a wave. It’s not because of skill, it just happens! But that’s not a strategy to surf.”
Listen to this episode in its entirety to learn more about why Guy believes in helping others up to your level when you succeed, why it’s important not to underestimate the role of luck in success (while making sure you’re not counting on it as a strategy, either), how you can use the success of others as fuel for motivation rather than poison for envy, why you should embrace the unknown when you’re looking for new ideas, why Guy believes it’s better to be lucky than smart, what Guy picked up from his time working with Steve Jobs, and much more.
THANKS, GUY KAWASAKI!
If you enjoyed this session with Guy Kawasaki, let him know by clicking on the link below and sending him a quick shout out at Twitter:
And if you want us to answer your questions on one of our upcoming weekly Feedback Friday episodes, drop us a line at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Resources from This Episode:
- Wise Guy: Lessons from a Life by Guy Kawasaki
- Other Books by Guy Kawasaki
- Guy Kawasaki’s Website
- Guy Kawasaki at Facebook
- Guy Kawasaki at Twitter
- Rich Dad Poor Dad: What the Rich Teach Their Kids About Money That the Poor and Middle Class Do Not! by Robert T. Kiyosaki
- Guy Kawasaki: Motorcycle, Man, or the Real Jackie Chan? Newsy News
- Watch Mark Zuckerberg, Steve Jobs, and Other Famous Tech CEOs Transform from Children to Adults in These Creepy, Mesmerizing Animations by Avery Hartmans, Business Insider
- Chinese Proverb of the Week: Shou Zhu Dài Tù, Jasmine Tea & Jiaozi
- A Brief History Of Peking Duck by Sally Gao, Culture Trip
- Zvi Band | Success Is in Your Sphere, The Jordan Harbinger Show 180
- What Kodak Said About Digital Photography in 1975 by Michael Zhang, PetaPixel
- Will Facebook Really Create 1,000 Millionaires? by Robert Frank, The Wall Street Journal
- Elizabeth Holmes, Theranos and the Myth of the Glamorous Entrepreneur by Aytekin Tank, Entrepreneur
- Macintosh 25th Anniversary Reunion: Where Did Time Go? by Guy Kawasaki
- The Evolution of the iPhone: Every Model from 2007–2018 by Conner Carey, iPhone Life
- Stop Trying to Master One Skill. Instead, Build a Skill Set. by Tim Herrera, The New York Times
Transcript for Guy Kawasaki - Life Lessons from a Wise Guy (Episode 190)
Jordan Harbinger: [00:00:00] Welcome to the show. I'm Jordan Harbinger. As always, I'm here with my producer Jason DeFillippo. Before there was anything like social media, influencers actually had to do or create something. Today's guest, Guy Kawasaki has been in the game since the '80s working at Apple and other tech unicorns from the early days. He's missed just as many opportunities as he's one. And on this episode, we'll focus on how we can use others' successes as motivation, instead of diving into toxic envy. We'll also discuss how we can embrace the unknown when we're looking at new ideas for our business or our career and why many businesses and industries in the past and failed to do so, and the consequences thereof, and why as Guy says, it's better to be lucky than smart. We'll find out if there's a strategy for that. And of course, we'll talk about what we can and should and more importantly, what we should not be emulating from visionary leaders like Steve Jobs, right from the mouth of someone who spent years working closely with Steve Jobs. Guy brings decades of wisdom to the table here and I'm grateful we had a chance to sit down and get some of that for you all today here on the show.
[00:01:03] I'm able to co-create with great people like Guy Kawasaki because my network is nothing short of stellar and I've put tons of time and tons years and years of work into it. I'm teaching you how to do the same thing for free. You don't have to put your credit card number in or anything to get it. I made a free course for you at Six-Minute Networking and you can go get that at jordanharbinger.com/course. It's free. I want you to learn it. It'll change your life and then you'll come back for more, hopefully, a super fan. That's what we're looking for here, jordanharbinger.com/course. All right, here's Guy Kawasaki.
[00:01:34] How many people book interviews with you and then tell you how much they love Rich Dad, Poor Dad?
Guy Kawasaki: [00:01:38] Interviewers, very few. People --
Jordan Harbinger: [00:01:41] Most people you run into at conferences? Yeah, that makes sense. That's sort of not the first time that you've been mistaken for a different Asian guy.
Guy Kawasaki: [00:01:48] No.
Jordan Harbinger: [00:01:49] I thought it was really funny that you started the book off being more or less pretty humble about the fact that you got mistaken for Jackie Chan by a group of girls in a convertible.
Guy Kawasaki: [00:01:57] Well, that was a very funny moment. It was a very funny moment actually.
Jordan Harbinger: [00:02:03] I feel like you're riding high at that time. Can you tell us that story? I think it's a fun thing to begin.
Guy Kawasaki: [00:02:06] At that point, I had a Porsche 911 and I was stopped at a light at El Camino. I looked over. There was a car with four teenage girls giggling, smiling, making eye contact. Girl in the front seat says to roll down your window. I rolled down my window and she sticks her head out and said, "Are you, Jackie Chan?"
Jordan Harbinger: [00:02:28] Oh my God.
Guy Kawasaki: [00:02:29] It was very funny and since that day it's been my goal that some teenage girl ask Jackie Chan, as he's sitting in his Bentley in Hong Kong or wherever he lives, "Are you, Guy Kawasaki?"
Jordan Harbinger: [00:02:39] It's funny because of course at that point you're like the height -- when was this? The height of tech evangelism as we know.
Guy Kawasaki: [00:02:45] It was the dot-com days. I had just started garage.com post the Apple. I had already written books, already given hundreds of speeches, so I thought, ah, you know, I've arrived.
Jordan Harbinger: [00:02:55] Yeah. I'm in my car. Like women know who I am.
Guy Kawasaki: [00:02:59] Right, I've arrived as Jackie Chan's clone.
Jordan Harbinger: [00:03:02] Yeah, wrong ethnicity and a lot of other things are wrong with that, but hey, cool.
Guy Kawasaki: [00:03:07] He's about the same age.
Jordan Harbinger: [00:03:10] Yeah. I'm surprised you haven't run into him and been able to tell him this story.
Guy Kawasaki: [00:03:15] I have never met him.
Jordan Harbinger: [00:03:17] Yeah. I met him one time.
Guy Kawasaki: [00:03:18] I have a picture in the book of, he and I, but that's because I was in the Beijing Madame Tussauds wax museum. That was as close to Jackie Chan as I've ever gotten.
Jordan Harbinger: [00:03:33] That's pretty funny. Yeah. So you have a picture with him except he wasn't there.
Guy Kawasaki: [00:03:37] Yeah exactly.
Jordan Harbinger: [00:03:37] Got it. Yeah. I know that you're Japanese-American from Hawaii and I know that that's a culture, Japanese or Asian in general that places a high value on education sometimes to the point of --
Guy Kawasaki: [00:03:48] Obsession.
Jordan Harbinger: [00:03:49] -- obsession and driving people crazy. And I was wondering what you think about that having raised kids in Silicon Valley in sort of today's economy. Is it still all about that traditional education because there's a lot of arguments on both sides?
Guy Kawasaki: [00:04:03] I can't build the case that you don't want an education.
Jordan Harbinger: [00:04:08] Of course. Yeah.
Guy Kawasaki: [00:04:09] I disagree with the theory of telling high school students, "You don't need a college education. You should just start a company."
Jordan Harbinger: [00:04:17] Yeah.
Guy Kawasaki: [00:04:18] I don't think that's -- listen, maybe that worked for Steve Jobs, but that doesn't work for most people. And you need four more years. You need a broad base of knowledge to prepare you for life. So I wouldn't go that path. But, do you need a 4.2 and a 16,000 and you need to have taken calculus in your freshman year? Not clear to me if that matters. I don't use a lot of calculus every day in my life.
Jordan Harbinger: [00:04:48] No. Yeah.
Guy Kawasaki: [00:04:49] How about you but I don't.
Jordan Harbinger: [00:04:50] No, I don't. I deliberately avoid it. I became a lawyer to avoid math and now I interview and I let my wife do all the accounting.
Guy Kawasaki: [00:04:57] Okay.
Jordan Harbinger: [00:04:58] She's good at it.
Guy Kawasaki: [00:04:59] She probably doesn't need calculus.
Jordan Harbinger: [00:05:01] Probably not, no,
Guy Kawasaki: [00:05:02] 100,000 comes in and 50,000 goes on, your net 50.
Jordan Harbinger: [00:05:06] Right, yeah. More or less anything more complex, we're hiring that out to somebody who knows what they're doing.
Guy Kawasaki: [00:05:11] That's right.
Jordan Harbinger: [00:05:11] I think that that's important to know because right now there is this trend in the Instagram entrepreneur influencer sphere, which is getting a lot of attention and those are the folks that say, "Quit now, go all in. You don't need this. This is the old generation talking."
Guy Kawasaki: [00:05:28] Quit what? School?
Jordan Harbinger: [00:05:30] Or your job or whatever it is. It's like to go all in.
Guy Kawasaki: [00:05:33] That's insane.
Jordan Harbinger: [00:05:34] I agree. Yeah.
Guy Kawasaki: [00:05:35] That's insane. I don't know how many Instagram influencers there are, but --
Jordan Harbinger: [00:05:41] Too many, the answer is too many.
Guy Kawasaki: [00:05:43] But they're not that many. They're not tens of thousands of them. So that I think is the equivalent of telling a kid to quit school to become a professional baseball, hockey, soccer -- I mean, you name it -- player. Yes, there is LeBron James. There is Wayne Gretzky. There are those kinds of people. But the reason why they're famous is because they're so rare, not because everybody achieves that stature. So just to play professional sports, you're in the top 0.01 percent. And there's -- I don't know -- let's say hockey, there are 2000 professional hockey players, but there's only 20 on the all-star team. And even the ones on the all-star team, once they retire, what do they do?
Jordan Harbinger: [00:06:35] I don't know.
Guy Kawasaki: [00:06:35] They become a coach.
Jordan Harbinger: [00:06:37] Start hockey camps.
Guy Kawasaki: [00:06:38] They do hockey camps, celebrity appearances, coaching. And that's 20 out of the thousand and the thousand is a thousand out of a million. I mean the odds are not good. And if you went to Facebook or Google or Apple, then they have 50 to a hundred thousand employees each, all making good money, good benefits, riding buses for free with Wi-Fi, eating free food.
Jordan Harbinger: [00:07:13] Doesn't sound so bad.
Guy Kawasaki: [00:07:14] Yeah. Go ahead. Go for the dream, but I'm telling you, man, it's a lot more people working at Google than the NFL, NHL, and NBA combined.
Jordan Harbinger: [00:07:24] Yeah. Good point and I think it's important to say that playing the odds in this way or playing to the numbers is a good strategy because right now there's this narrative out there that playing to the numbers or getting a job, even if it's for a company that you enjoy doing is somehow like a suckers play and you're a chump if you do this. And people then in the same interview with that same person espousing that theory, they'll say, "What would you do if you could start over?" And my answer is almost exclusively, "I would go be the assistant to somebody who works for one of these companies, especially if they're an executive and learn all of the things that make them successful because there are a lot more successful executives that are doing big things that are helping improve the world in some way. Then there are Mark Zuckerberg or founders.
Guy Kawasaki: [00:08:12] That's definitely a long ballgame.
Jordan Harbinger: [00:08:14] Yeah.
Guy Kawasaki: [00:08:15] And I also, I don't think that Mark Zuckerberg or Elon Musk or Steve Jobs, I don't think that they had this plan to become Steve Jobs. Mark Zuckerberg, Walt Disney, Elon Musk. I think that one thing led to another that my buddy in my garage wanted to build a personal computer. So we built one and came to find out there's a lot of people in the homebrew club who want to buy them. So we sold 50 of them and then four decades later, it's a trillion-dollar company.
Jordan Harbinger: [00:08:47] Right.
Guy Kawasaki: [00:08:47] Well, that's a great story. But I don't know if they planned it. "Okay, we'll be a trillion-dollar company for 40 years. Right now we just need to build motherboards --
Jordan Harbinger: [00:08:59] Right in the garage.
Guy Kawasaki: [00:09:00] Yeah.
Jordan Harbinger: [00:09:01] And that is the story of Apple. And I think that that's important. Now I want to get into some of that a little bit later as well because I think there's a mythology that especially really popular right now in Silicon Valley and that's one of the reasons I wanted to have this conversation is you're exactly the right person to say this is a mythology emphasis on the myth part because you've been around for a really long time.
Guy Kawasaki: [00:09:20] Some myths are free. I mean obviously, Apple exists.
Jordan Harbinger: [00:09:21] It exists, but it's not necessarily a replicable strategy to be like or the next Apple.
Guy Kawasaki: [00:09:26] No, I don't I think that the -- I surf a lot and you know, every once in a while I turn around, I don't even paddle when I catch away. It's not because of skill okay. It's just happened. But that's not a strategy to surf. My favorite saying is you have to wait by the side of a river a long time before a roast duck will fly into your mouth.
Jordan Harbinger: [00:09:51] Yeah. Is a Chinese proverb or something like that?
Guy Kawasaki: [00:09:54] Must be because it's Peking ducks.
Jordan Harbinger: [00:09:56] Yeah, there you go. That's right.
Guy Kawasaki: [00:09:58] Although Peking duck was probably invented in Sacramento or something.
Jordan Harbinger: [00:10:01] Yeah, I have to check on that. I have to look that up after the show.
Guy Kawasaki: [00:10:05] Like a Caesar salad was not invented in Rome.
Jordan Harbinger: [00:10:08] No, I would imagine not. The croutons alone would be very hard to come by in ancient times. I know you're really big on -- when you make it big, provide opportunities to other people to come up. That's something that you talk a lot about in the book. And I think that a lot of folks say that they send the elevator back down. I know that you've been doing this for a long time. Why is this important to you?
Guy Kawasaki: [00:10:32] Well, one is karma, but listen I don't want to position myself as some kind of saint where I give me back everything I made and I'm like mentoring 50 or 100 kids at a time. I'm not, okay. I'm not mentoring. I'm not giving everything I got either. So it's not necessarily a numbers game. It's not how much you gave back or how many people you mentor. It's more I think of a philosophy that the difference between Steve Jobs, Mark Zuckerberg, and probably at an extreme, some homeless person or some immigrant who's arriving in El Paso right now with nothing, not that much. It's kind of good to be lucky sometimes. And if one phone call away or one, you know, there are so many things that had to go right. The difference between people is not that great.
Jordan Harbinger: [00:11:35] You mean just in our raw material?
Guy Kawasaki: [00:11:37] No, I mean, in terms of, you know -- listen, no question that Steve Jobs and Mark Zuckerberg and Elon Musk are smarter. I mean they are.
Jordan Harbinger: [00:11:47] Yeah.
Guy Kawasaki: [00:11:47] But Elon Musk without the right breaks, Steve Jobs without the right breaks would just be another guy. And I think it's important to remember that some people win the lottery. That doesn't mean they're any more skilled. So it's a humbling thing that as they say, "There, but for the grace of God, goes."
Jordan Harbinger: [00:12:10] Yes.
Guy Kawasaki: [00:12:10] That's so true.
Jordan Harbinger: [00:12:11] Did you have an experience when you were younger where somebody nudged you 10 degrees to the left or to the right and that changed your 20/20 hindsight?
Guy Kawasaki: [00:12:18] I would say more than 10 degrees.
Jordan Harbinger: [00:12:20] Okay.
Guy Kawasaki: [00:12:21] Well, this elementary school teacher told my parents to get me out of the public school system in Hawaii and put me in the private school system because I had too much potential. So that was a humongous change. When I graduated from high school, the choices really came down to the University of Hawaii, Stanford, and Occidental. And I want it to go to Occidental because I could have played football there. And my father told me, "I'm not spending all this money for you to go play football." You're not playing in the NFL. Even if you were playing in the NFL, we're going back to our previous discussion or something. You know, there's a thousand people in the NFL. So he said, "You're going to go to Stanford or University of Hawaii." And that was an easy choice. So I picked Stanford. Had I not gone to Stanford.
Jordan Harbinger: [00:13:04] Why didn't you want to go to Hawaii? The University of Hawaii.
Guy Kawasaki: [00:13:07] I wanted to get away. Hawaii was too small. I want it to see the rest of the world. And so, had I gone to Oxy, well, I could've been president, maybe before Barack Obama went to Oxy, or maybe I would have met him. I would have been vice-president or although I'm much older than he is. But anyway, that was another decision and at Stanford, I met a guy named Mike Boich who we became fast friends and roommates. And eventually, he hired me into Apple. So if I had to become friends with someone else --
Jordan Harbinger: [00:13:41] Yes. It's funny to look at this because it's like luck, but then focus decisions that increase your surface area for luck.
Guy Kawasaki: [00:13:49] Increases the surface area. And you know, the secret, I'm not saying that your life strategy should get lucky.
Jordan Harbinger: [00:13:56] Right.
Guy Kawasaki: [00:13:57] Because that's not actionable.
Jordan Harbinger: [00:13:58] That's a bad strategy. Not actionable.
Guy Kawasaki: [00:13:59] Yeah. But I think an actionable strategy is when an opportunity presents itself take it and run with it and work your ass off. None of those things would have really panned out to produce what I am today sheerly by luck. I may have been lucky that I had that teacher, that I had that roommate, that I had that father. But then I made the most of it afterwards. It wasn't just I was born Donald Trump Jr. I mean I had to do something.
Jordan Harbinger: [00:14:32] Sure. Of course. Yeah, I'm not trying to cheapen that. I'm just trying to get --
Guy Kawasaki: [00:14:36] I don't get offended. Don't worry.
Jordan Harbinger: [00:14:36] Good. I'm just trying to give people actionable stuff here. Because I think a lot of people look at this as a black and white situation where some people are lucky they are not, and therefore whatever they want to do is more or less impossible.
Guy Kawasaki: [00:14:46] I would make the case that by definition if you're listening to this in the scope of humanity, you're very lucky. I'm very lucky. But people who are listening to this, by definition, they're very lucky. They're not in a caravan trying to get across seeking asylum. So it's all relative I think.
Jordan Harbinger: [00:15:07] Yeah, of course. That's for sure true. Although it is easy to compare yourself to other people. In fact, you've been around a lot of success in Silicon Valley. I mean you worked with Steve Jobs, you worked with all these very successful companies. You had the CEO job of Yahoo, like right here, and then you kind of like send it back to the chef, right?
Guy Kawasaki: [00:15:25] Another stupid mistake. Yeah.
Jordan Harbinger: [00:15:27] But it's really easy to look at that and then compare upward and say, "Well, you know, I could've had this, I could've had this, but I don't, or I'm not lucky enough to have had that." You, on the other hand, seem to be using other people's successes as motivation.
Guy Kawasaki: [00:15:40] Don't get me wrong, I'm human, right? I think about, "Guy, you are so freaking stupid. Why didn't you quit Apple once? Why didn't you quit Apple twice? Why did you turn Steve Jobs down when he asked you to return the third time? You know, why did you turn down Michael Moritz when he said, 'Would you like to interview for the CEO position of Yahoo?'" When you make epic decisions of that magnitude, you know, we're talking -- well those five decisions are two billion dollars maybe. I mean, I don't think anybody would not think about those decisions every once in a while. But having said that, I mean, I'm healthy. I'm on wife 1.0. I have four kids. There are many times that I'm surfing with my four kids. So you know how many fathers can say they surf with their four kids or do anything with their four kids? And I've outlived Steve Jobs. I mean, really it depends on how you look at it.
Jordan Harbinger: [00:16:39] Do you feel like you would have had to have made a choice between having four kids that you're close to and being the CEO of Yahoo among other things?
Guy Kawasaki: [00:16:46] Well, I probably would have retired. I probably would've retired. Having said that, those paths, I probably would have become an asshole. Or more of an asshole than I am.
Jordan Harbinger: [00:17:03] Why do you think that?
Guy Kawasaki: [00:17:04] Because money corrupts people. You know, you start believing your own bullshit. And you start believing that you're indispensable, that you deserve it. No one else could do this. You gain a sense of entitlement, you know, all that kind of stuff. I am horrible at these entitlements.
Jordan Harbinger: [00:17:23] How do you keep that from -- I assume you look at other folks who have been in those positions that you think, "Okay, I could have had that." How do you stop ruminating on that? Or like turning that into time?
Guy Kawasaki: [00:17:35] I don't.
Jordan Harbinger: [00:17:35] You just let it.
Guy Kawasaki: [00:17:38] I don't spend two hours a day wondering what would happen if I had stayed at Apple. On the other hand, I cannot tell you that it never crosses my mind because it does.
Jordan Harbinger: [00:17:50] And you left Apple and the last time when was that?
Guy Kawasaki: [00:17:53] I leave every 10 years. I left in '87 and '97.
Jordan Harbinger: [00:17:57] Okay.
Guy Kawasaki: [00:17:57] I missed 2007 and '17. I left twice.
Jordan Harbinger: [00:18:03] The bursts in Apple.
Guy Kawasaki: [00:18:05] It seems like the longer I'm away from Apple, the better Apple does. I don't know that correlation or causation.
Jordan Harbinger: [00:18:11] Yeah, exactly. Yeah, that's funny. I guess we'll never know.
Guy Kawasaki: [00:18:16] We'll never know. Oh, if I go back and it tanks, then we'll know.
Jordan Harbinger: [00:18:20] That's right. That's right. You can always go back. You can see if Tim Cook will have you. I do think you're ahead of the curve in terms of quitting law school. You could after a week. So that was probably good foresight.
Guy Kawasaki: [00:18:31] Yeah. And you have a law degree, right?
Jordan Harbinger: [00:18:33] I do. Yeah.
Guy Kawasaki: [00:18:34] You took the bar, you did the whole thing.
Jordan Harbinger: [00:18:35] Do the bar. Yeah. Took the bar.
Guy Kawasaki: [00:18:37] Do you practice law now?
Jordan Harbinger: [00:18:37] Not anymore. No.
Guy Kawasaki: [00:18:38] How long did you practice?
Jordan Harbinger: [00:18:39] Like a year and a half. Not even.
Guy Kawasaki: [00:18:40] Oh, so you're a smart dude. You didn't take 20 years to figure that out.
Jordan Harbinger: [00:18:43] No. I didn't have like a whole career, retire, then start this. I would say that I'm quick off the ball, but mostly that was like the economy hitting and then me going, "I don't really want to work that hard to find another job that I don't like."
Guy Kawasaki: [00:18:57] What kind of law?
Jordan Harbinger: [00:18:58] Financial transactions is what I was doing. So I was working on Wall Street doing like mortgage, backed securities, and derivatives. So it was, yeah, fun is right.
Guy Kawasaki: [00:19:06] That's a dent in the universe.
Jordan Harbinger: [00:19:07] Yeah. Right, exactly. That's really a dent in the universe. So I'd already had this show started and I was doing radio and I was like, "You know, this is more fun." I'm not making that much money doing it at the time, but I thought eventually I'll be able to figure this out. And that's what happened.
Jason DeFillippo: [00:19:25] You're listening to The Jordan Harbinger Show with our guest Guy Kawasaki. We'll be right back after this.
Jordan Harbinger: [00:19:30] This episode is sponsored in part by HostGator.
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Jason DeFillippo: [00:22:16] Don't forget we have a worksheet for today's episode so you can make sure you solidify your understanding of the key takeaways from Guy Kawasaki. That link is in the show notes at jordanharbinger.com/podcast. Thanks for listening and supporting the show. To learn more about our sponsors and get links to all the great discounts you just heard, visit jordanharbinger.com/deals. If you'd like some tips on how to subscribe to the show, just go to jordanharbinger.com/subscribe. Subscribing to the show is absolutely free. It just means you get all the latest episodes in your podcast player as they are released so you don't miss a single thing from the show. And now back to our show with Guy Kawasaki.
Jordan Harbinger: [00:22:52] One of the top concepts from the book is well to learn to embrace the unknown. That's a common refrain in Silicon Valley. But you have this ice cutter example, and I'd love it if you would go into that --
Guy Kawasaki: [00:23:00] Sure, sure, sure.
Jordan Harbinger: [00:23:01] -- and how we can practice that.
Guy Kawasaki: [00:23:02] Ice 1.0 was ice harvesting -- winter, frozen lake, frozen pond, cut blocks of ice. Next, ice 2.0 was ice factory. You freeze water centrally, much better than ice harvesting because you can freeze water anytime in any place. Next curve is refrigerator. Now you don't have a factory delivering ice to you. You have your own personalized factory, a PC, a personal chiller. And the lesson here is that none of the ice harvesters became factories. And none of the factories became refrigerator companies because most organizations define themselves in terms of what they already do. So if you're in the business of harvesting ice, you don't embrace factories. If you're the business of freezing water centrally, you don't build a refrigerator to empower everybody to freeze water. And so that's why companies die.
[00:23:53] So I could make the case that Kodak was in the business or is in the business if you consider it's still alive of preserving memories. So that's the business they're in. Now, I think what they did is they define their business as we're in the chemicals business. We make chemicals that we put on plastic film. People expose that film to light. Then we expose more chemicals to it and then it comes out a print or a slide or a negative. So if you define yourself as being in the chemicals business, then guess what? You don't embrace digital photography. And the triple irony of this is that Kodak in 1975, an engineer there invented digital photography.
Jordan Harbinger: [00:24:39] Really?
Guy Kawasaki: [00:24:40] Yes. Now, can you imagine, that said, that engineer going to his boss saying, "I have figured out a way that people don't have to buy film anymore."
Jordan Harbinger: [00:24:52] You're fired.
Guy Kawasaki: [00:24:53] Yeah, exactly. Right. Right. And you know, the ice harvesting business shows that I think digital photography shows that. Most industries show that.
Jordan Harbinger: [00:25:06] I kept imagining somebody who invents the refrigerator to transport the ice harvested out of the lake to the place where they store it and then put it in another bigger refrigerator. And nobody goes, "What if we just take water coming out of the ground and put it in this refrigerator and turn the crank up the ability to," and then they're like, "No. Then what are we going to do with all this harvesting infrastructure that we have? We have boats, we have whole teams that are on trucks and transportation and we're an infrastructure company. We're a harvesting company. We're not a make ice company."
Guy Kawasaki: [00:25:37] Actually, I would make the case that a refrigerator company is a convenience company. So you make it so that you can store food longer hygienically, et cetera, et cetera. So you're increasing the convenience of your customer, you're in the convenience business, and it was more convenient for you to harvest ice for somebody. It was more convenient for you to freeze water and ship it to people. It was more convenient to make a refrigerator. So they're in the convenience business, not the harvesting factory or refrigerator business.
Jordan Harbinger: [00:26:09] Right. Because if you think about the business in those terms, if you're in the convenience business, you think once, what's more, convenient than us bringing ice to everyone's house from our refrigerated trucks. And the answer is having them be able to do it at home or at least keep it for the whole month in their own refrigerator. Then it's really obvious. Yeah. What business you're in. And then you switched to manufacturing small home refrigerators instead of focusing on delivery infrastructure.
Guy Kawasaki: [00:26:34] And you know, then I suppose at some point you could say, well, we're in the convenience business so you know, why doesn't the refrigerator recognize that you're out of eggs and send a message to Amazon to deliver eggs?
Jordan Harbinger: [00:26:47] Right. You can down the rabbit hole.
Guy Kawasaki: [00:26:50] You can keep going.
Jordan Harbinger: [00:26:51] Amazon is a great example of this because for years and years. Everyone was like, this is the book company, and they just happened to sell these books online. Or if you're a really big thinker, this is the online book company. Meanwhile, of course, the plan or at least if we look 20/20 hindsight, but I'm pretty sure we're confident on this now. The plan was to get people used to buy things online, like books--
Guy Kawasaki: [00:27:12] Sell them everything.
Jordan Harbinger: [00:27:14] -- and then eventually sell them everything once we proved the concept that books aren't fragile. They don't spoil.
Guy Kawasaki: [00:27:20] No sizes.
Jordan Harbinger: [00:27:21] Right. There's only a certain limited number of sizes. They don't have to be packaged in foam. So once we prove that concept out, then it becomes really clear.
Guy Kawasaki: [00:27:31] That would be interesting to ask Jeff Bezos.
Jordan Harbinger: [00:27:33] I'm curious.
Guy Kawasaki: [00:27:34] 20 years ago, did you just think you're going to sell books and CDs or did you have this 20-year plan to be selling everything?
Jordan Harbinger: [00:27:42] Right. Netflix, they used to send DVDs to your house. And I remember a friend of mine actually asked one of the founders and said, "Was the plan always to stream?" And he goes, "The name is Netflix, man." It was like a really --
Guy Kawasaki: [00:27:59] Net as an Internet.
Jordan Harbinger: [00:28:00] Yeah as in like, hey, the idea isn't you order it on the internet and we mail it to you. The idea is eventually bandwidth is going to catch up. Eventually, licensing rights are going to catch up and we'll be able to do this.
Guy Kawasaki: [00:28:10] I would be interested to know if that's really --
Jordan Harbinger: [00:28:12] I'm curious too if that was just him going, "Of course, I'm telling that story now."
Guy Kawasaki: [00:28:16] Yeah.
Jordan Harbinger: [00:28:16] For shareholder's sake, "Yes. We always planned this."
Guy Kawasaki: [00:28:21] Well to the victor goes the right to reinvent the story.
Jordan Harbinger: [00:28:24] Rewrite the history.
Guy Kawasaki: [00:28:25] Yeah. You have to ask the question, why isn't Blockbuster Netflix? Because Blockbuster defined themselves as we were in the retail store, brick and mortar. People come and look at our vast selection of DVDs and rent them. But they're really in the entertainment business. So Netflix is in the entertainment business that it used to provide entertainment via DVDs and mailers. Streaming other people's movies -- Sony, 20th Century, Fox -- but now Netflix produces its own series. Truly --
Jordan Harbinger: [00:29:07] Yes. They really have embraced this. I didn't even think about that. They realize they're in the entertainment business, not the streaming movie business.
Guy Kawasaki: [00:29:13] Not the distribution business.
Jordan Harbinger: [00:29:15] The distribution business, right. So they go, "Well, what's to stop us from making our own stuff, which is going to then eventually, hopefully, force the studios to license things cheaper." Because right now on Netflix, you can't see the latest stuff because licensing it would be super, super expensive. So Netflix makes their own.
Guy Kawasaki: [00:29:30] Yeah.
Jordan Harbinger: [00:29:30] And I think that's going to level the playing field. Well, we'll see.
Guy Kawasaki: [00:29:33] Well, the interesting thing is arguably some of the Netflix stuff is better than some of the stuff done by the "experts" in the video.
Jordan Harbinger: [00:29:40] Of course. Yeah, if you ask who wants to go see it and this is HBO, but if he asks who wants to go see Game of Thrones, there's going to be a large number of people that would go see that. If it was only released in theaters, there would be a large number of people that would go to that too. So they're starting to realize there's a huge market in giving people what they want while they're sitting at home. So if I were in the movie business right now, I would be worried about what my next move might be.
Guy Kawasaki: [00:30:04] I would be worried too. Just making bigger chairs where you can reserve a specific seat well good because that's still the theater experience. They should be redefining it too, right? They're in the entertainment business.
Jordan Harbinger: [00:30:18] Yeah. Yeah. They've got to figure this out. If they've already got these movies, they're already projecting these, why not make it so that they have their own streaming service or something where they're the ones who get the movies before all these other outlets do. I don't know what the plan is. I'm not in the business.
Guy Kawasaki: [00:30:35] If I were in the theater business, I would be looking at the market for kids watching electronic games.
Jordan Harbinger: [00:30:44] Oh, interesting. So like eSports, "Hey, we've got a big screen. We've got a small theater that holds a few hundred kids every Saturday."
Guy Kawasaki: [00:30:53] Unlimited jolt, unlimited popcorn.
Jordan Harbinger: [00:30:54] Right. Good point.
Guy Kawasaki: [00:30:55] Come watch, you know.
Jordan Harbinger: [00:30:56] We're streaming the world championship of like Fortnite.
Guy Kawasaki: [00:31:00] Yeah. Fortnite Super Bowl. We're streaming it.
Jordan Harbinger: [00:31:02] That's actually a really good idea as well.
Guy Kawasaki: [00:31:04] You can have it.
Jordan Harbinger: [00:31:05] Yeah, yeah, I'm good. It's like McDonald's when they realized they were in the real estate business. Right. It's just like, "Okay, we're not just serving hamburgers. We're investing in all this property." There's a whole bunch here and it is really easy to get lost in it. And I'm going through this right now where I'm like, I used to do a lot of self-help related shows and I realized I'm not in the self-help industry. I'm rolling my eyes at 90 percent of the stuff that I see in that industry. I'm actually in the interviewing business if you zoom out from there, it's more of an entertainment thing. So it's like, okay, that really opens up what I'm able to do on the show in a way that's more enjoyable for me and has increased the audience significantly.
Guy Kawasaki: [00:31:43] Really?
Jordan Harbinger: [00:31:44] Yeah.
Guy Kawasaki: [00:31:44] So because you interview different kinds of people.
Jordan Harbinger: [00:31:48] Exactly. And also do it in a way where it's not like -- I used to interview very specific kinds of people and it was more or less --
Guy Kawasaki: [00:31:55] These are gurus.
Jordan Harbinger: [00:31:56] Yeah, if you will.
Guy Kawasaki: [00:31:57] Like Tony Robbins.
Jordan Harbinger: [00:31:57] Yeah, those types of folks. People who've written books on this on certain subjects. And then I was like, "Well, wait, I actually like scientists," so I'll expand a scientist. Then, "Well I like these other people too." I'll do a one-off with somebody who has a crazy story or like a performer. And those episodes became popular and I realized, "Okay, I'm in the business of educating people in an entertaining way, not in the self-help industry, guru." And then I started really gravitating more towards science-based and evidence-based material, which eliminates 80-plus percent of who's in the self-help industry.
Guy Kawasaki: [00:32:30] That low?
Jordan Harbinger: [00:32:30] Probably 99 percent and so I realized, wait a minute, I don't really want to be in that industry. And now, of course, I see that it's loaded with people that are not so innocently, I would say outright fraudulent instead of just delusional.
Guy Kawasaki: [00:32:43] They are people who couldn't make it as Instagrammer.
Jordan Harbinger: [00:32:46] Yeah. There's a lot of that. Or they're doing that too. And so I decided to get away from that and now just keep in the market as education and entertainment or edutainment or whatever you want to call it, that is a much more open platform. So now, I'm even thinking like, what's even bigger than that? What sort of niche can I fill that's even more interesting and bigger than that? And that has kept me sane and it's kept the audience growing. A lot of working over the last 12 years has also been luck. Right? Like I started podcasting early, I focused on what I was good at, which is talking and interviewing in a way that is critical because of my legal training. And because I'm a skeptic by nature, I think.
Guy Kawasaki: [00:33:24] You can detect bullshit.
Jordan Harbinger: [00:33:25] Yeah, largely and I do enough research on each of the guests. Like I read the whole book, I read their Wikipedia. I look at people's negative reviews of the book on Amazon. So I have a well thought out argument.
Guy Kawasaki: [00:33:36] What kind of arguments?
Jordan Harbinger: [00:33:36] We'll see. I don't want to have, not yet. But you have before also said that you're fond of being -- it's better to be lucky than smart.
Guy Kawasaki: [00:33:47] Yeah.
Jordan Harbinger: [00:33:47] What do you mean by that?
Guy Kawasaki: [00:33:48] Well, it's a rare moment of humility. I think that when you look at a lot of these success stories, being in the right place at the right time is about 90 percent of it. Now, it doesn't mean that you open your mouth and the roast duck flies in, but you know, if the duck comes, you got to chew.
Jordan Harbinger: [00:34:07] Right, at least try to catch it.
Guy Kawasaki: [00:34:10] Yeah. Listen if you were a facilities manager for Facebook when it was Mark and Sheryl and you know, 20 people and they needed to move from this like a dump in mountain view. And so you're employee number 50 or facilities manager and now you're worth $200 million. Were you smart? Were you looking at all the opportunities I can go work for Hewlett Packard? I can go work for national semiconductor Intel or this other company called face look or face kook or lace hook. Or what the hell is the name of that company?
Jordan Harbinger: [00:34:54] It doesn't matter mom. I just clean up the facilities and make sure they have snacks.
Guy Kawasaki: [00:34:58] They offered me this thing called options and free. I don't know what an option was, but I said, all right, I signed it and then I got 10,000 options. Now, it's for 50 million bucks. Better to be lucky than smart sometimes.
Jordan Harbinger: [00:35:13] But we can't really bank on that, right?
Guy Kawasaki: [00:35:15] No you can't. There are moments when I, with wisdom and hindsight, I could almost make the case -- you should consider the most dumb ass ideas that you hear. Because I swear to God, you know, when you hear about some of these successes at the moment, you had to squeeze the trigger. I refuse to believe that most intelligent people would see. Yeah, that's a good idea. If you heard the pitch for Twitter, we're going to enable people to make 140 character text messages so people can see the line at Starbucks is long. Well, have you heard of email? Have you heard of text messages? Have you heard of IRC? You know, so why would you need Twitter?
Jordan Harbinger: [00:36:01] Right. Why does this even need to be communicated in the first one?
Guy Kawasaki: [00:36:04] Exactly. Who cares if the line at Starbucks is long, right? And then, you know, it's easy for us to say no. But YouTube, so what's the pitch? I need infinite server space, infinite bandwidth so people can upload an illegal video. It's a business model. Sign me up, right? And then I know we're going to tip when people start dropping Mentos at the Diet Cokes. Mom, that's the plan, infinite space, infinite bandwidth, illegal stuff, and people dropping Mentos into Diet Cokes. That's what your son is doing right now.
Jordan Harbinger: [00:36:41] We're talking about their daily life.
Guy Kawasaki: [00:36:44] Right. And your mom is going to say, "Why did he stay in law school?"
Jordan Harbinger: [00:36:48] Right. Yeah. So yeah, you can't plan for that.
Guy Kawasaki: [00:36:52] No.
Jordan Harbinger: [00:36:52] All you can really do is sort of increase your surface area. And I understand that. One bit of career advice that I love that you put in the book is getting your foot in the door. It doesn't matter where you start in a job but where --
Guy Kawasaki: [00:37:02] I'm living proof of that, man.
Jordan Harbinger: [00:37:02] Yeah. Tell us about that. Because I think a lot of people are like, "I need a great job. I need to start here. I need to be a founder. I need this."
Guy Kawasaki: [00:37:09] You know, I had to give a presentation about that yesterday. So as I look back, I can barely remember my first job. And of course, this doesn't apply to my kids, but people spend much too much time thinking and worrying about their first job. I think they are definitely afraid of making a mistake. Well, several things, so number one, if you're in the job market today, you're probably going to have more jobs than most people. The concept of working 30 years for one company is just gone. Now, nobody does that. Well, there are Apple employees who have done that. But generally speaking, you're going to switch five or 10 times. And there's also the concept that, "Well, I really need to optimize my job because you know, I want to pick the next Google." So at two extremes, you do pick the next Google, you're either smart or lucky or both and you pick, XYZ, and lo and behold it becomes the next Google and now you're 25 years old and you're worth 50-billion bucks. Wow.
[00:38:11] The other side is you take a job and you think you absolutely optimize it. CEO at the Stanford board of directors as George Shultz, former general of the US Army. Huge market. Everybody needs diagnostics for their blood. They want to know. Give me a prick of little blood. I want to know what diseases I have. Can you imagine and you could just go to Walgreens, get one drop of blood, and bada bing, bada bang, you know everything. What a great idea? So you go to work at Theranos and it turned Theranosis, right?
Jordan Harbinger: [00:38:53] Turns out to be a scam.
Guy Kawasaki: [00:38:54] Yeah. So I would make the case that the people who picked Theranos as this perfect place, because of all the factors that we mentioned raised two billion dollars, all the good stuff, they're going to learn more from the implosion of Theranos then they would have by going to a successful company. They're going to learn about greed, they're going to learn about denial, they're going to learn about stupidity and arrogance and all that kind of stuff. It's a great lesson for those people. No, I don't think you should say, "All right, Guy's strategy is to find something that's going to tank.
Jordan Harbinger: [00:39:34] Yeah, good luck finding another Theranos. It's going to be pretty tricky.
Guy Kawasaki: [00:39:38] That's a hell of a tank. But my point is that the first few jobs, it's all about learning. And I also think that the rising tide floats all boats. So you know, this facilities manager for Facebook who is today vice president of real estate and worth 50 million bucks and all that kind of stuff. The rising tide floated that boat, but you still have to be competent. If you were the first receptionist at Facebook and then came to find out you had a flair for design, so you transferred from receptionist to marketing and then to graphic design and user interface design and lo and behold, you know, you're the Jonathan Ive of Facebook today. I think a lot of people would say, "Well I am not starting as a receptionist. I am not starting as an intern. I have my degree or whatever. I'm going to find a job that makes me a product manager. I want the manager word or whatever.� Right?
Jordan Harbinger: [00:40:49] Yeah. Getting a good title.
Guy Kawasaki: [00:40:51] Yeah. Yeah. I'll tell you, something man, just get in. It doesn't matter where you get in, it matters what you do once you get in.
Jordan Harbinger: [00:41:00] Because a lot of people I think don't realize that you can either produce or you don't. Getting the job is actually the easiest part.
Guy Kawasaki: [00:41:08] Listen, I got my job. I tell this story in the book. I got my job at Apple because of nepotism.
Jordan Harbinger: [00:41:13] Good. Tell me about it. That's how you get a lot of your jobs, right?
Guy Kawasaki: [00:41:16] Yeah, absolutely. My Stanford classmate hired me and I had a psych degree. I was working in the jewelry business. I had a short stint in the software business, but nothing that would make my resume pop. It was pure nepotism. But in the sense that, on day one, did it matter that I got into nepotism? Not really because I had to produce. On the other hand, on day one, if I had a PhD in computer science and I had worked for 10 years at Hewlett Packard, working with developers. I had the perfect background, but I didn't love Macintosh. It also would not have mattered. And so what I learned is it doesn't matter how you get in, it matters what you do once you get in. If you're Steve Jobs� son or daughter and you work for Apple and you're clueless, I mean you might not be fired, but you're still clueless.
Jordan Harbinger: [00:42:18] Right. It doesn't change who you are.
Guy Kawasaki: [00:42:19] It doesn't change who you are.
Jordan Harbinger: [00:42:20] Our show really circles largely around making, creating, and maintaining relationships.
Guy Kawasaki: [00:42:25] Yeah.
Jordan Harbinger: [00:42:26] And personal relationships and networking in a way that's like not cheesy.
Guy Kawasaki: [00:42:29] I have some definite advice for that.
Jordan Harbinger: [00:42:31] I'd love to hear it.
Guy Kawasaki: [00:42:32] This is Guy's wisdom about succeeding in an organization. So tip number one is your job is to make your boss look good. I think many people think their job is to make their boss look bad so they can get promoted over their boss. That never happens. Okay, so what you want is you want your boss to be successful and you want to draft behind your boss. So your boss goes from manager to director to vice president to CXO, just draft behind it. And so your boss may be CXO, you'll be VP. Hallelujah. Someday, you'll break away and you'll go to another company or something. But there's no case to be made that you should try to tank your boss because it'll make you look good. Because even if you did take your boss, no one's going to trust you because you're the guy who tanked your boss. So that would be advice number one.
[00:43:20] Advice number two is to always default to yes. You should always be thinking, how can I help people, whether it's your boss or not and because you want to be the person that is the go-to person. Now, they're going to be times where, I am actually recommending that, you know, somebody says, "Well, can you do this or can you do that?" It would be harsh to say that I'm telling you to lie, but I'm saying just say yes. Say yes and figure it out because no is an instant stop. There's no going from no, but yes, you say yes and you can come back and say, "Well, I can't quite do that, but I can do this." All right. You know, I could --
Jordan Harbinger: [00:44:03] Wouldn't we be potentially taking advantage of somebody if we tell a client we can do something and we can't?
Guy Kawasaki: [00:44:07] Yes. I mean we want real-world advice here, right?
Jordan Harbinger: [00:44:13] Yeah, sure okay.
Guy Kawasaki: [00:44:13] So are you telling me like if a client came to you and said, "You know, I understand you talk about personal security and you know, all that kind of stuff, but we're also having a motivational problem here, so can you help us motivate of our employees?" Would you say yes or you say, "No, that's not my expertise."
Jordan Harbinger: [00:44:34] Yeah. I would probably hire someone in my company to do that because it's not my expertise. I wouldn't just make it out.
Guy Kawasaki: [00:44:39] But you wouldn't say no.
Jordan Harbinger: [00:44:41] Depends if they said, "We're looking at -- we want to revamp our kitchen cooking for our catering." I would definitely say no.
Guy Kawasaki: [00:44:48] Oh, yeah.
Jordan Harbinger: [00:44:48] Yeah.
Guy Kawasaki: [00:44:49] Okay. So we have to be very careful. We don't want to mislead, you know? How about if your boss comes to you and says to you, "I need a PowerPoint presentation. Can you help me make a PowerPoint presentation?" And you know, you're the last person in the world whose never used PowerPoint or never built a presentation. I think you'll say yes.
Jordan Harbinger: [00:45:08] I think I'm up to that challenge.
Guy Kawasaki: [00:45:09] Yeah. I think you'll yes. Now if your boss comes to you and says, "Well, can you perform a brain surgery on me." You probably say no.
Jordan Harbinger: [00:45:17] Of course. So it depends on the risk. It depends on how far outside. Like, look, if somebody says, "Can you give a talk on a different topic you've never spoken on?" Sure. I give talks all the time. I can figure this out.
Guy Kawasaki: [00:45:25] Right.
Jordan Harbinger: [00:45:26] If someone says, "Change my supply chain." I'm not going to try to figure that out. That's fraudulent.
Guy Kawasaki: [00:45:32] There is the line, yes.
Jordan Harbinger: [00:45:33] Okay.
Guy Kawasaki: [00:45:33] But I think, generally speaking, you should default to yes. I mean, figure it out.
Jordan Harbinger: [00:45:38] Yeah. To give yourself opportunities.
Guy Kawasaki: [00:45:40] Yes.
Jordan Harbinger: [00:45:41] A lot of people are emulating speaking of Theranos, right? A lot of people are emulating Steve Jobs� qualities or trying to. That they'll wear a black turtleneck. There'll be an a-hole CEO.
Guy Kawasaki: [00:45:51] I wore a black turtleneck.
Jordan Harbinger: [00:45:51] Yeah. See, case in point. But Elizabeth Holmes was the first person that comes to mind when I think about this. Right? She literally just wanted to be female Steve Jobs and did a lot of the negative things that people complain about.
Guy Kawasaki: [00:46:02] That's because people cannot separate correlation and causation.
Jordan Harbinger: [00:46:06] Right.
Guy Kawasaki: [00:46:06] So Steve jobs, black turtleneck, Levi's jeans, New Balance shoes, Mercedes, always black. Never registered it because he didn't like license plates. Drives in the carpool lane by himself, parks in the handicapped slot, rips people in public. Those are all facts.
Jordan Harbinger: [00:46:30] Yeah. Okay.
Guy Kawasaki: [00:46:31] Okay. But the fact is that if you went into Steve Jobs emulation mode, bought the New Balance, bought the jeans, bought the black turtleneck, started ripping people, bought a Mercedes, drove in the carpool lane, parked in the handicaps lot, you would not be Steve jobs, you would just be an asshole. And so people need to be able to separate causation from correlation. So little things correlate with Steve Jobs, but they didn't cause Steve Jobs. They didn't cause him to be successful. He could foretell the future or invent the future. No question. So the hard part of Steve Jobs� emulation is the ability to invent the future or to predict the future. That people will want a graphic user interface. People will want a device that holds all the songs. If people will want a store where they just sell one product with people who love the product and understand it. What a concept? Okay. That's the hard part. The easy part is buying the jeans and the black turtleneck and the New Balance and you know the Mercedes. And so people should not confuse correlation with causation.
[00:47:43] And I see this all the time when people come to Silicon Valley and they visit Google and they visit Apple and they visit Facebook and you know, I just imagined it, okay, so now they're flying home and they're going to tell their bosses and their shareholders and their employees, "Okay, so we're going to be more innovative. I just came back from Silicon Valley. So the first thing we're going to do is we're going to buy pool tables and ping pong tables. We're going to have an outdoor volleyball court. We're going to have a fitness center. We're going to have free food in the cafeteria. We're going to have buses with Wi-Fi to pick you up. We're going to have people come to us and do our dental work while we sit at our desk. We're going to have massage therapists and then we're going to be like Facebook and Google. No, you're not. You're just going to have employees with really great tea, well-tuned car, or who are fat. And so --
Jordan Harbinger: [00:48:36] So halfway to Silicon Valley companies.
Guy Kawasaki: [00:48:39] The reason why Google is great is because of engineering and engineers, I think, neglect their lives. So you need to provide all the services or they literally wouldn't fix their cars or brush their teeth or whatever. And then they became some of an arms race that people realize, "Wow, we need engineers."
Jordan Harbinger: [00:48:56] Right. To retain talent, they have to do all these.
Guy Kawasaki: [00:48:59] You have to do that. Right? But Google didn't become great and Apple didn't become great and Facebook didn't become great because it had free food. No, the Macintosh division and this is in 1980, we had unlimited supplies of soda and Odwalla. And just to show you how old I am, we thought that was freaking huge. We don't have to pay for our soda and Odwalla. And so I guess if you visited the Macintosh division circa 1980s. You'd leave the Macintosh division. You'd go home, you'd go back to your company, and you'd say, "Man, I went to Macintosh division and I opened up the refrigerator. It was full of soda and Odwalla for free. It wasn't the honor system. It wasn't deducted from your paycheck. You can drink all the soda you want, so let's do that and we'll be like the Macintosh division." No, you won't. You'll be a shareholder for company of free soda.
Jordan Harbinger: [00:50:02] Having worked with him for so long, do you, what do you think people should try to emulate from someone like Steve Jobs?
Guy Kawasaki: [00:50:09] I think emulate is the wrong word.
Jordan Harbinger: [00:50:11] Okay.
Guy Kawasaki: [00:50:11] Okay. I think the lessons of Steve Jobs are several. One is that your current customers cannot tell you how to innovate. They will tell you how to build better, faster, cheaper. You ask an Apple 2 owner, "What do you want from Apple?" "Better, faster, cheaper Apple 2." You asked Macintosh owner, "Better, faster, cheaper Macintosh." You ask an iPhone owner, "Better, faster, cheaper iPhone." Nobody ever tells you if you are an ice harvester to create an ice factory. Nobody went to an ice factory and said, "You know, what?, You should miniaturize your ice factory so I can have one in my house." I think customers are incapable of doing that. I'm not trying to insult customers because --
Jordan Harbinger: [00:50:51] They just don't have the incentive to think about.
Guy Kawasaki: [00:50:53] As much as you may love a company, you're not thinking about a 24 by seven. So all you can really think about is, "Well, so I met this camera company and asked me what I want from a camera company." And I said, "Bigger, faster, cheaper lenses. But it never occurred to me to say I want digital. I don't want to film. �Because it's outside of you. So I think that's the major lesson of Steve Jobs. Number two lesson of Steve Jobs, he did not care about your race, color, creed, gender, sexual orientation. He just didn't. You are either great or shit. Those were the only two things. And that was a beautiful thing, right? So it led to harshness because no matter what your background if you are shit, he calls you out as shit. But it also meant that much more than your usual 10 percent of his direct reports were women because he didn't care if they were women, they were either greater shit. If you're great, it doesn't matter. So I think he was way ahead of his time in terms of meritocracy. Now, he had the most scary way of implementing meritocracy by intimidation. But nonetheless, I don't think anybody, for example, I never felt he picked on me because I was Japanese. I don't think any woman who worked in the Macintosh division, just said "Yes, Steve." He looked down on me because I was a woman. I would find that inconceivable. So if you do those two things, you know --
Jordan Harbinger: [00:52:27] Like pure meritocracy.
Guy Kawasaki: [00:52:30] Pure meritocracy and understanding that customers can't tell you how to truly innovate. I would say a third thing that you cannot avoid with Steve is he loved the great design. And so it's minimalist, it's beautiful, it's elegant, and it's not money. You know, because there are many companies, they have all the money in the world to hire their Jonathan Ive or whoever makes beautiful Apple designs. It's not money, it's taste. And so the taste is important. That design does matter. It may not matter to everyone.
Jordan Harbinger: [00:53:18] People overlook a lot of other flaws if the design is there.
Guy Kawasaki: [00:53:25] Well, I wouldn't put it that way, but that is a fact.
Jordan Harbinger: [00:53:28] Yeah.
Guy Kawasaki: [00:53:28] But I mean, like today you could still go to Fry's and buy ugly plastic laptops. Right? Why is that? I mean, if you were the manufacturer of ugly plastic windows laptops, what'd you think? You would have seen it? Wow. You know, Macintosh Macbook Airs are thin, they're beautiful and made of aluminum. They looked like somebody, some Tibetan monk can do this thing. So why don't you think God and they sell like hotcakes. "At 50 percent premium, what do we sell? Maybe we should make ours beautiful." Wouldn't you think that would occur to people? But it doesn't,
Jordan Harbinger: [00:54:14] I don't know if they haven't thought of it or if they sell a higher-end model that just looks better but has the same hardware inside and then they make their money in that.
Guy Kawasaki: [00:54:22] Okay. But why not revamp the whole line?
Jordan Harbinger: [00:54:24] I agree. Of course, but I don't know. I don't run that business. But it leads to another point, which you've mentioned in the book, which is that changing your mind is a sign of intelligence. Explain that. That's a concept that's near and dear to my heart a little bit.
Guy Kawasaki: [00:54:37] Now we're just going to Apple rat hole here. So the example I love it I use in the book is that when iPhone was introduced, it was a closed system. The only way you could add functionality to an iPhone was a Safari plugin. A year later, now there's SDKs and APIs and now you can write any kind of app you want for an iPhone. It's a 180-degree reversal from a closed system to an open system. When it became an open system, all of a sudden we had tens of thousands and hundreds of thousands and now millions of apps. And those apps added functionality and compelling reasons to buy an iPhone. And I think many companies, many CEOs would say, "I can't admit that I was totally, utterly wrong. I mean, I said it's a closed system. We have to maintain a closed system and so we told people. And we looked like fools if now we open it up." Steve Jobs did a 180 and the reason why Steve Jobs is so different from everybody is that he did a 180 and when he said the system was closed, all the experts said, "That's a genius move." A year later he opened it up and all the experts said, "That's a genius move." That's the Steve Jobs reality of distortion.
Jordan Harbinger: [00:55:46] That's right. Yeah, that totally makes sense. And I think for someone like him to say, "Hey, we were wrong about this or that worked for the time being because we got a feel for how people consume and it turns out, they want to make their own." You know that that does make a lot of sense. It is easy to get hooked on the ego factor. I mean you see this with Kodak. I'm sure someone there went, "Look, we control this whole industry. We're not going to let this digital thing take off. It's going to take a long time. Let's focus on our film business." And that killed the whole company. Now I want to respect your time, but there's one last career success tip that I really liked, which is you talk about getting into the right.
Guy Kawasaki: [00:56:24] Yes.
Jordan Harbinger: [00:56:24] We are in California. So getting high into the right doesn't necessarily mean what I think a lot of people think.
Guy Kawasaki: [00:56:28] And it's not political.
Jordan Harbinger: [00:56:28] Right, yeah.
Guy Kawasaki: [00:56:31] Or drugs.
Jordan Harbinger: [00:56:33] Right. Developing skills that are in demand and then go deep to be the best. Can you explain this because I think right now there's a tendency or a temptation or both for people to be like, "Look, I need to know a bunch of things about a bunch of things because that makes me great more."
Guy Kawasaki: [00:56:47] I think so the high end to the right theory is that there is a two by two matrix. Vertical axis is your degree of specialization, differentiation, uniqueness. Horizontal line is the further out you are, the more valuable you are. If you're close to the zero point, then you're not valuable. So I think as a mental framework for your entire existence, you should be thinking, how can I be high into the right, i.e. some value. You know you're the best interviewer, you have to have this value. And it also has to be unique or differentiated because if there were tens of thousands of great interviewers, that's a valuable skill, but there's too many of them. So what you want to do is you want to pick an area, expertise, or whatever that is valuable, important, but also you can uniquely be in there. So when iPod first came out, it was the only system that a mere mortal could operate with the click wheel. It had unique properties like you could legally, easily, inexpensively buy the most popular songs. So it was unique and valuable. Mercedes makes a smart car. It's one of the few cars you can park perpendicular to the curb. Breitling makes a watch called the emergency where you can unscrew a knob, it starts broadcasting an emergency signal. That watch can save your life. There are not too many watches that can save your life. Canva, the company that does work for online graphic design service, we have created literally hundreds of design types, presentations, covers, social media graphics, and within those hundreds of design types, there are hundreds of templates pre-done. So anybody can be a great designer, unique and valuable. So my career advice is you got to be unique in value. Maybe the best three-minute YouTube video producer in the company. That is a unique and valuable skill. If you are unique but not valuable, you own a market that doesn't exist, you're basically clueless.
Jordan Harbinger: [00:59:17] Right. It's like arts in a lot of ways. Not that all artists are useless or clueless, just that that's a market that typically, depending on the art, depending on the art, of course, doesn't really exist.
Guy Kawasaki: [00:59:26] And if you're valuable, not that unique, then you always have to compete on price or you'll never have, you know, power in the, in the relationship. And if you're not unique and you're not valuable, you're just a total loser. I don't know what to say.
Jordan Harbinger: [00:59:40] Well, you can work on it I suppose.
Guy Kawasaki: [00:59:43] Yeah. So, the goal for your listeners, I think is to somehow position themselves as unique and valuable. I have a very special skill and that's very important and you will always do fine. How would I place myself in that corner? I would place myself in that corner as I have a unique and valuable skill of seeing through the BS to help you market and evangelize a product. That's my unique and valuable skill.
Jordan Harbinger: [01:00:17] And I think it shouldn't demoralize people if they feel like they're not there yet. The idea is you should get high into the right. Like right now, if you know you're not unique or valuable, you can work and hone these skills according to what the market needs.
Guy Kawasaki: [01:00:30] You can hone these skills. You may switch skills. You may say, "Well, everybody can write a blog post. Not that many people really know how to use a GoPro drone, iMovie, and get the right song. And you know, not that many people know how to make a great video, but everybody knows how to write a blog post. I'm going to switch my skills." So I'm not saying that you just wake up one day and you're unique and valuable but you need a road map. You need to have in your mind, "Okay, you know, I listened to this thing and I get it. I need to be unique and valuable. So how do I get there?" But the realization that you need to get there is probably 90 percent of the battle.
Jordan Harbinger: [01:01:18] Yeah, exactly. And I think that this makes it possible for people to see the gaps in the market and sort of skate to where the puck is going.
Guy Kawasaki: [01:01:26] Yeah. Yeah.
Jordan Harbinger: [01:01:27] That's the other half.
Guy Kawasaki: [01:01:28] I think it's also important that maybe you hear this and you say, "You know what, I've been telling people I can do everything. I can make videos, I can make blog posts, I can make speeches, I can make pitches, I can do all that." And maybe you'll come to the realization that, "Well, maybe I should do one thing really well." And maybe by miracle, you truly can do all those things well, but you may want to ratchet back your positioning and focus on one or two because it's more credible. So it's hard to imagine. Someone says, "I'm good at video, I'm good at photography, I'm good at writing, I'm good at editing, I'm good at speaking, I'm good at acting, I'm good at modeling." Why don't you just say you're really good at whatever is really valuable?
Jordan Harbinger: [01:02:21] Right. Yeah. You see that in Los Angeles, a lot. Singer, actress, model dancer, and you just think, you know what --
Guy Kawasaki: [01:02:27] Social media group.
Jordan Harbinger: [01:02:28] Right social media but you think if you just put singer or singer-actress or just actress and someone goes, "Can you sing?" "Yeah." "Great. We need you to sing and dance for this." "Perfect." You're still going to get the jobs. When you're a singer, dancer, actress, model, photographer --
Guy Kawasaki: [01:02:41] Equals mediocre.
Jordan Harbinger: [01:02:42] You just think, "So you work at Equinox, right? That's what I assume at that point."
Guy Kawasaki: [01:02:48] You're a waitress.
Jordan Harbinger: [01:02:49] Yeah. Which is fine if that's where you are now, but if you're marketing yourself as all of those things you notice, I noticed that people at the top of their field, they are always very specialized, and I think that makes sense. Guy, thank you very much for sharing your time with us today. I want to be cognizant of your time.
Guy Kawasaki: [01:03:05] This is fun, fun twice.
Jordan Harbinger: [01:03:07] That's right.
Jordan Harbinger: [01:03:11] Big thank you to Guy Kawasaki, his new book, one of his 15 books. The newest one is called Wise Guy. And this is fun to do this one in his house. It was really a pleasure to go and sit down with him. He's a super-sharp guy, as you might imagine.
[01:03:25] If you want to know how I managed to create networks with people like Guy Kawasaki, well, I'm teaching you the systems, the tiny habits that I do every day. It's all about that consistency in my Six-Minute Networking course. It's a free course. It's at jordanharbinger.com/course. Don't do it later. Start doing it now. It's six minutes a day, people go do it. Don't kick the can down the road. Once you need relationships, you're too late. So dig that well before you get thirsty, jordanharbinger.com/course. Speaking of building relationships, tell me your number one takeaway here from Guy Kawasaki. I'm at @JordanHarbinger on both Twitter and Instagram, and there's a video of this interview on our YouTube channel at jordanharbinger.com/youtube.
[01:04:07] This show is produced in association with PodcastOne and this episode was co-produced by Jason "Proto- Influencer" DeFillippo and Jen Harbinger. Show notes and worksheets are by Robert Fogarty. I'm your host Jordan harbinger. Remember, we rise by lifting others. The fee for the show is that you share it with friends when you find something useful, which should be in every episode. So please share the show with those you love. And even those you don't. In the meantime, do your best to apply what you hear on the show, so you can live what you listen, and we'll see you next time.
Jordan Harbinger: [01:04:36] A lot of people ask me which shows I recommend and listen to. And one that I listened to all the time is the Mike Dillard Show. Mike, recently you had on this 22-year-old kid and this kid is really inspiring. His name is Nick Santonastasso and I know I'm probably butchering that pronunciation, but tell me about this guy.
Mike Dillard: [01:04:53] Yeah man, Nick's story is unbelievable. So he was born with this incredibly rare disease. There have only been 10 cases of it worldwide that they've ever found. Eight of those kids have died. So he's one of two that have lived into his 20s, and he was born without legs and with only one arm. And what are you going to do? What are you going to do when you're born, like with your life? Well, he's chosen to become a source of inspiration for literally hundreds of millions of people around the world. He's hanging out with The Rock. He's hanging out with guys like Dan Bilzerian. Speaking on stages with Tony Robbins, and his story is just one of the most epic stories I've ever heard.
Jordan Harbinger: [01:05:35] Of course, we'll link to that episode in the show notes. That is Nick Santonastasso on the Mike Dillard Show.
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