Best Writing Assignment Ever…..A Guy Named Guy Kawasaki.

Guy Kawasaki
Guy Kawasaki

This is pretty exciting and I wanted to share this with those who take a peek at my work. I am now enrolled in a journalism class (eye roll from journalism community) and the assignment was to conduct an interview with a prominent figure. It could be a public official political or otherwise, a lawyer, pastor etc. Well, I do not know a church leader nor do I know a politician. So I decided to approach someone who I admire and WISH was my mentor!!! I approached Guy Kawasaki, Apple Fellow, Steve Job’s mentor, Chief Evangelist for Canva, participating Board Member for Wikimedia and overall cool cat. I have reviewed his book APE: How to Write a Book – Author Publisher Entrepreneur on and promoted his book on my blog so….why not? So off went the e-mail with my questions. I was nervous because..well it’s Guy Kawasaki. To my delighted surprise, he responded to my email and answered all of my questions. I was beyond thrilled! So without further ado….the interview with Guy Kawasaki.

An individual who played a part of the Apple Macintosh computer craze is a gentleman named Guy Kawasaki. Apple Fellow, Steve Jobs mentor and is known to spin several projects, jobs in the air at the same time: Guy Kawasaki is the machine of evangelism and entrepreneurship. Guy Kawasaki was born in Hawaii in 1954. His family lived in a “tough part of Honolulu” (Kawasaki) but never felt that he had nothing as his parents made sure he did not have a want. Kawasaki states that his father was a “fireman, real estate broker, state senator and government official” (Kawasaki) during his long career. Definitely a role model for Guy.

Since he was born on the island, he graduated from high school in 1972. Guy did not want to continue his education on the island. He became a student at Stanford University. A question posed to Kawasaki during our interview was “since you were born in Hawaii, what made you decide to attend school at Stanford? Was that a difficult decision and did you have any issues adjusting from Hawaii to the mainland” (Kawasaki)? Guy Kawasaki replied that “going to college on the mainland was a dream for me. My father and mother made great sacrifices for this to happen. It was a pivotal point in my life” (Kawasaki).

Kawasaki shares an interesting story about his very first job: working at a jewelry store. Kawasaki has stated in earlier interviews with others that he found that to be a very difficult job i.e., selling period. Another question posed to him about this story (for more details) was: “Your first job was working at a jewelry store and it is known that you made the quote that it was difficult, but it taught you how to sell. Was it difficult to learn consultative selling or was it more finding the inner self to yourself out there” (Kawasaki)? Anyone in sales will appreciate Guy’s answer: “Consultative selling is a New Age term. The jewelry business was hardcore, pure selling. It was a great experience to learn how to truly sell before all the BS sales theories became vogue. Every sales was a battle.” Duly noted.

He was a Chief Evangelist during Apple’s rise in the 1980’s. His job was to convince software companies and coding geeks to write applications for the Macintosh during the research and development period. Guy states that he is one of the rare people who has worked for Steve Jobs and survived, not once but twice. Kawasaki worked at Apple from 1983 to 1987 and again in 1995 to 1997. He gave a key address at the Silicon Valley Bank’s CEO Summit the day after Jobs passed in 2011. It was called the “12 Lessons Steve Jobs Taught Guy Kawasaki” and is a must listen video for those new entrepreneurs looking for a jump-start or to understand what made Jobs tick (Bariso).
So with an individual with such accomplishments as creating software firms, a Venture Capital firm, working at Apple, Motorola and now becoming a Chief Evangelist for a new website called “Canva” the question that would come to mind is “what was the most challenging to you whether it was financially or emotionally” (Kawasaki)? Guy states that “the most challenging aspect of my career was the necessity to keep going when things looked bad. You often read about “instant successes.” My experience is that that’s an oxymoron. All successes take brutal hard work” (Kawasaki). Quite true considering most entrepreneurs will tell you failure is all part of the process in becoming successful.

A follow-up question about all things challenging, rewarding, or awful in relation to entrepreneurship in general is “which job, company etc., gave you the most joy or felt was the most rewarding” (Kawasaki)? Of course “evangelizing Apple has been the most rewarding, but I predict Canva will beat or tie Apple” (Kawasaki) Guy joined Canva as a Chief Evangelist in April of 2014. Canva helps people who want to use creative designs for either a Kindle book covers, Facebook ads, menus, Twitter profiles, cards, but basically anything under the sun. Recently the website launched the Canva Design School which is a new platform, workshop series and teacher resource hub to increase the world’s visual literacy (Canva).

Not only is Guy Kawasaki a Chief Evangelist but he recently wrote two books (Art of the Start 2.0 and The Art of Social Media), but he recently became a participating member of the Board of Directors for Wikipedia. Clearly, Kawasaki is a busy man who poses the question “what made you want to join Wikipedia and will you ever start to retire” (Kawasaki)? One can appreciate his passion for his dedication to projects when he answers that he “joined Wikimedia because documenting the knowledge of the human race is one of the most important projects of all time” (Kawasaki). But will Kawasaki ever retire? Guy states that he “would love to retire” but he has “four school tuitions to pay for a while” (Kawasaki). Spoken like a true parent.