IBM SmartCamp Global Finals: Guy Kawasaki On Twelve Lessons He Learned From Steve Jobs
In the last keynote session before Profitero was announced as the “IBM Entrepreneur of the Year,” Garage.com founder, VC, former Machead, and all around tech cheerleader Guy Kawasaki paid a visit to speak to the gathered IBM SmartCamp finalists.
Though his talk was entitled “The Art of Enchantment,” Kawasaki, in typical Kawasaki fly-by-the-seat-of-his-pants fashion, announced he was supplanting that canned pitch with one more geared towards the gathered entrepreneurial masses, “12 Lessons I Learned Working With Steve Jobs.”
Kawasaki started his pitch by joking that he’d just been in the greenroom where the judges for the competition were gathered, and that there were five bottles of wine in there, so don’t expect a verdict anytime soon!
Then, he got semi-serious and explained he’d worked from Apple on two different occasions, 1983-1987 and again in 1995-1997, so he was uniquely positioned to comment on what all he learned from Jobs.
Before he turned to the lessons, Kawasaki suggested “the world is a lot less interesting without Steve Jobs. Most entrepreneurs would be fortunate to create one standard…Jobs created five or six (the iPhone, the iPad, the iPod, etc.)
Kawasaki went on: “I’m sure right now he’s up there telling God how to run the universe.”
Then, on to the lessons.
Number one. “Experts” are clueless. As entrepreneurs, if you start listening to all the experts, you will be led wrong. Time and time again people told Steve Jobs nobody would buy an (insert Apple product here)…At one point, even Michael Dell told Apple they should dissolve the company and give the money back to shareholders. Ignore the experts. Correlation and causation are not necessarily the same thing.
Rich and famous often equals “lucky.”
Number Two. Customers can’t tell you what they need. If you ask customers they’ll say give us better, faster, cheaper, and status quo. Build the product YOU want to use, and that you think the world can use. Fact: Nobody told Apple to build the Macintosh…iPod…iPad…
Number Three. Jump to the NEXT curve. He then explained a simple but revealing analogy. Ice 1.0, 2.0 and 3.0
Ice 1.0 was when ice harvesters sawed blocks of ice out of the lake when it was frozen and then distributed it.
Ice 2.0 saw the advent of the ice factory, so you could get ice any time of the year, and didn’t have to be in a “cold” city.
Ice 3.0 saw the advent of the “ice box,” better known as the refrigerator.
The ice harvesters did NOT embrace the ice factory, and the ice factories did NOT embrace the refrigerator. Yet, all served the same purpose: Keeping your food fresh.
So, if you want to be successful, put your solution to the problem in terms of the benefits, NOT the process you use to get there.
Number Four. The biggest challenges beget the best work. Ram a big challenge down the throat of your employees. The challenge Steve Jobs gave us was to compete with IBM. Remember the print ad we ran. It’s headline was” “Welcome, IBM. Seriously.” IBM was a magnificent competitor, and it was a great challenge for us to take them on.
So, find a mighty opposite for yourself.
Number Five. Design counts. Don’t think it’s all about price. Most people also care about design, and Apple’s premium pricing has proven that over and over again.
Number Six. Use big graphics and big fonts. Consider this slide when Jobs introduced the Windows version of iTunes. It had a massive Windows logo, then underneath the following headline: “The best Windows app ever written.
Number Seven. Changing your mind is a sign of intelligence, not a sign of stupidity or lack of conviction. When things change, you have to react and reform. Steve Jobs demonstrated this when he evolved from accepting no independent applications for the iPhone one year, to fully embracing them the next.
He saw which way the wind was about to blow, and he realized to bolster the iPhone app ecosystem, he needed to open it up to outside developers.
Number Eight. Value is NOT equal to price. Nobody ever bought an Apple piece of equipment because it was the cheapest thing.
Number Nine. A players hire A+ players. You should always be hiring someone as good or better than you in your own field.
Number Ten. Real CEOs can demo. They can run the product, show the product, build stuff with the product.
They don’t hand it over to someone else. They DO the demo.
Number Eleven. Real entrepreneurs ship. Don’t worry, be crappy.
Imagine you were the first refrigerator company. The first fridge had to be better than the best ice factory, but it didn’t have to be perfect.
Once you jump curves, that’s when the real excitement begins. When you ship, you’ll learn more in two weeks from your customers than you will sitting in a dark room.
Number Twelve. Marketing equals unique value. Pets.Com was a classic example where that rule did NOT apply.
You have a dog. You have a cow. You kill the cow, put it in the can, and give it to the dog.
That was the Pets.com business model. Shipping dog food. The problem was, it’s dead cows in cans. It weighed a lot. It was less convenient and just as expensive to order it via the Internet. It wasn’t unique. It wasn’t valuable.
And finally, number thirteen. (Never mind Guy said there would only be twelve).
Some things need to be believed to be seen.
But sometimes you also need to believe in things before you will see them.