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Guy Kawasaki spoke at the Commonwealth Club event on April 1, 2019. He has been an oracle of Silicon Valley and the tech world since he was part of Apple’s original Macintosh team in the 1980’s. Guy’s newest book “Wise Guy” discusses the personal experiences that have inspired him over his prominent career and personal life. His father named him after the musician Guy Lombardo. Guy heartily opened up about how he struggles to write with all the distractions of emails and social media. He laughed while while saying he wrote twenty-five percent of his books flying on United Airlines, but he was being serious.

Start ups

During his days at Macintosh, he worked as as evangelist. An evangelist is someone who has the best interests of the customers in mind, unlike salespeople. Guy articulated that some things need to be believed to be seen. For example, completeness of a product and viability of a company are two of the fundamental things that sometimes need to be believed before it’s achieved. The nature of huge tech successes is that it requires two people with different but complementary skills working together to make a product that they want to use, such as Yahoo to organize the internet and Google for an internet search tool. Of course, Guy laughs, founders hope that they’re not the only people who want to use it. His advice sharply contrast that of looking for expert advice or market trends when you start up a company. Guy said, “You should not be market driven, you should be passion driven.”

Guy Kawasaki with Lincoln Students and Faculty

Advice to graduating students

In response to the audience seeking job searching advice, he said that seniors in college worry too much to try and optimize their first and second jobs, thinking that it will either make or ruin their career. Guy said, “You won’t even remember what your first job is. You either have to be able to make something or sell something”. He advised to figure out what you can make or sell. Startups won’t work if you have two engineers and there is nobody to sell or if you have two salespeople and nobody to make the product. And, he said, don’t worry about what motivates you to study and work hard as long as something motivates you to study and work hard. He admitted that he was initially motivated by wanting a Ferrari. He also added that the core of Silicon Valley is engineers, engineering schools, and career hungry immigrants.

- Abishek Gyawali