WASHINGTON — BAI Retail Delivery gave onetime Apple evangelist Guy Kawasaki the job of waking up the Thursday morning crowd, and the always individualistic speaker came with a promise that his talk would consist of 10 points that – if executed – would deliver success.
He did not promise the path would be simple.
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But just attempting to hit the 10 points might well energize the marketing programs of most institutions, said the best-selling author.
Point 1: “Decide to make meaning. That you want to change the world,” said Kawasaki, who worked in the Macintosh team in the early days of Apple. That group didn’t want to make “another” computer. It wanted to trigger big change.
Point 2: “Make a mantra,” a slogan that captures what you are about. Most mission statements utterly miss this point, said Kawasaki, who made fun of what he called Wendy’s verbose and hollow mission statement that he noted was par for the course. Kawasaki stressed that a mantra should be a handful of words. Punchy. Memorable.
Point 3: “Jump to the next curve.” It’s not good enough to get to where we are; success is about seeing the next step, as Steve Jobs did with the iPhone, for instance, noted Kawasaki.
Point 4: “Roll the dice.” Take your best guess about where you need to be.
Point 5. “Don’t worry, be crappy.” There isn’t enough time to wait for perfection. Often you have to go with what you have – then make it better, advised Kawasaki.
Point 6: “Let 100 flowers bloom.” Accept that there is no controlling what consumers do with your efforts. The Mac development team, elaborated Kawasaki, thought they had good word processing and spreadsheets. But what really saved the Mac – and Apple itself, said Kawasaki – was the desktop publishing built into the Mac. Who knew? Apple didn’t, suggested Kawasaki, but the company had the smarts to let that flower bloom.
Point 7: “Polarize people.” Said Kawasaki: “Great innovation polarizes.” If everybody likes it, probably it missed the mark, he said.
Point 8: “Churn, baby, churn.” This, said Kawasaki, was “the hardest lesson I learned at Apple.” Today’s brilliant innovation requires tomorrow’s brilliant innovation to continue staying on top. The process is continuing.
Point 9: “Niche thyself.” Really owning a particular specialty is, suggested Kawasaki, much more rewarding than being a bland mainstream player.
Point 10: “Perfect your pitch.” Know how to tell your story and, in an aside, Kawasaki advised the optimal number of slides in any PowerPoint show is 10 and the show itself should never go over 20 minutes.
Point 11: “Don’t let the bozos get you down.” Call this a bonus point.
Bozos, said Kawasaki, are just about everywhere. He admitted to his own bozo moments (he declined to interview for the CEO job at the company that turned out to be a Yahoo - a decision, he figured, that might have cost him $2 billion).
Did Kawasaki wake the audience at the Washington Convention Center? For sure, his was not another financial conference talk. That is beyond debate.