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'I lived in complete and utter fear of Steve': Kawasaki

Byron Connolly | May 8, 2015
Apple's former chief evangelist, Guy Kawasaki, gave a rundown of the 10 lessons he learnt from the late Steve Jobs in his keynote speech at CeBIT yesterday.

Apple's former chief evangelist, Guy Kawasaki, gave a rundown of the 10 lessons he learned from the late Steve Jobs in his keynote speech at CeBIT yesterday.

"He was a fantastic person — a difficult person to work for, very mercurial, very demanding. All the great HR practices that you've all learnt about meeting with your employees and developing goals and helping people reach their goals — Steve did none of that," he told the audience.

Kawasaki, who worked at Apple twice, initially marketing the Macintosh in 1984 before returning in 1995, admitted that he lived in "complete and utter fear" of Steve Jobs.

"He would not hesitate to tell people in front of the whole division what a bozo, clueless person you were and I just lived in terrible fear of that. Having said that I would not trade working for Steve Jobs for anything in my past," he said.

Kawasaki is now chief evangelist at Sydney start-up, Canva.

Below are the 10 lessons he learnt while working for Steve Jobs.

1. Learn to ignore naysayers

"If you're an innovator, you're a revolutionary and you want to build a great tech company, you need to ignore naysayers," Kawasaki said.

These are the clueless, pessimistic people who say things can't and should not be done.

"Many people told Apple that when we created the Macintosh. Many people told Apple that when we created the Apple stores," he said.

"Naysayers is a form of 'bozosity', when you're clueless, you're a clown."

An example of bozosity, he said, was when Western Union wrote off the potential of telephony in 1876.

2. Customers can't tell you what they need

Customers in the mid-1980s told Apple they want a bigger, faster, cheaper Apple II, Kawasaki said. He believes Apple would have died if it built the next Apple II.

"Great innovation occurs when you don't listen to your customers — when you use your passion and your vision and insight and you create what you believe they will need, or they will come to need or that you can convince them they need, which is what Steve [Jobs] did," he said.

3. Innovation happens on the 'next' curve

"If you are a typewriter business, it's not about making better typewriters. If you are a letter quality printer company, it's not about adding more typefaces," said Kawasaki.

It's about making the leap to the next curve of innovation. He used the example of the once thriving 'ice harvesting' industry in America.

"During the winter months, people would go to frozen lakes and ponds with saws and horses and cut blocks of ice. In 1900, 9 million pounds of ice was harvested," he said.

 

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