Guy Kawasaki needs you to like him. In fact, he’d like to enchant you.
The entrepreneur, venture capitalist and former chief evangelist for Apple Inc. says convincing people he meets that he’s likeable is probably his most important rule on a day-to-day basis.
Likeability is a key component in his new book, Enchantment: The Art of Changing Hearts, Minds and Actions. His business tactics are about delighting people with a product, service or idea rather than manipulating them. According to Mr. Kawasaki, what’s innovative about his approach is that enchantment combines time-tested values such as trustworthiness and likeability with digital and social media techniques like Facebook, Twitter, websites and blogs.
With more than 350,000 followers on two Twitter accounts, Mr. Kawasaki is a self-described “firehose” of information, employing roughly 20 people to look for “good stuff to write up” and repeating his tweets about four times a day to ensure people don’t miss them.
“Dale Carnegie pioneered trustworthiness and likeability in the 1930s, but he didn’t have Twitter or Facebook, so I have that advantage,” says Mr. Kawasaki, who’s also the co-founder of Alltop.com, an online magazine, and a founding partner at Garage Technology Ventures, a venture capital firm specializing in high technology startups in the Silicon Valley. “My favourite part of enchantment is the introduction phase of a product. I love social media and social media marketing, and that these services are fast and free and ubiquitous. It’s a great time to be a marketing person.”
Establishing trust, the next key element of enchantment, is a little harder to achieve when you’re dealing with short term meetings. So given the current nature of his travels – flying in today and out tomorrow for speaking events and conferences – Mr. Kawasaki personally likes to lead with likeability.
“I don’t know how much trust you can build in 24 hours or how I can convince you in this amount of time that I’m a great product or service, but certainly what I can do is convince you I’m likeable,” says Mr. Kawasaki. “You have to earn trustworthiness, and then it’s about whether your product is good or it’s not.”
Mr. Kawasaki defines great products or services using the acronym DICEE: deep, intelligent, complete, empowering and elegant.
DICEE products are full-featured (deep); understand people’s needs (intelligent); come with support (complete); make people better (empowering); and are easy to use (elegant). But even with the best and most innovative of products and services, you may still have to overcome resistance, something he was personally challenged by during his years as evangelist at Apple leading the charge against IBM.
Despite his passionate belief that Mac had (and still does) a better operating system than its competitors, Apple achieved only 5 per cent market share.
“The mother of all examples for that is Macintosh,” says Mr. Kawasaki. “There has been great resistance to Macintosh – corporate standards, certain management decisions – and that’s where I learned this lesson: the most innovative doesn’t necessarily win and the most innovative isn’t necessarily the easiest to sell.”
He suggests that the way to handle resistance is by thinking that the opportunity of a launch is a process, not an event.
“Where many companies go wrong is that they launch on Monday, have the press conference, people write about it – so that’s the launch,” says Mr. Kawasaki. “But really, a launch never ends. You keep launching and revving, grinding, grinding and grinding, and then one day you wake up and you’re a success.”
In the face of today's aggressive competition in the tech sector, "You need to run scared all the time. A near-death experience is a great motivating factor."