Hello Reddit, Guy Kawasaki here. I'm an entrepreneur, startup investor and author, as well as the new chief evangelist at Canva and former chief evangelist at Apple.

Today, I'm launching my first class in partnership with Skillshare, an online learning community. It's called "The Art of the Start: Turning Ideas into High-Growth Businesses” at http://skl.sh/1h7aDKI. You can ask me anything about entrepreneurship, social media, Canva, Apple, Android, or whatever your heart desires.

Proof: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FObbRuIqEE8&feature=youtu.be

Comments: 289 • Responses: 82  • Date: 

Guy_Kawasaki46 karma

What's so hard about an AMA? Woody Harrelson and his peeps couldn't handle this?

nl_fess4 karma


Guy_Kawasaki2 karma

If 10,000 comments had come in, I could handled them. Of course, many of those comments were complaints--which would not have happened with me.

Do you believe that Woody tanked his AMA because of the volume?

drawingartist14 karma

hello mister kawasaki. i draw you http://imgur.com/yVck39h hope you like

Guy_Kawasaki12 karma

Please make me look happier because I am a happier person than that.

drawingartist8 karma

yes i will draw better one right away!

Guy_Kawasaki1 karma

drawingartist15 karma

http://imgur.com/lGCmB54 i try again but i think your happiness is too much for my skills

Guy_Kawasaki4 karma

Looks better! Thanks for doing this.

shogi_x12 karma

Recently Google announced that they were going o drop the Google+ requirement to use other Google services. It seems like G+ is dying. Is it? What went wrong? Where is it's future?

Guy_Kawasaki11 karma

Haven't heard this. I still believe that Google+ will end up being the biggest social-media service when all the dust settles.

Alex_jaymin9 karma

Why do you think it'll end up being the biggest?

ferminriii4 karma

Isn't it his job to say this?

Guy_Kawasaki31 karma

I don't work for Google.

shogi_x2 karma

What makes you so confident? After all this time G+ adoption is still rather low. Is G+ doing something in particular that others are not?

Guy_Kawasaki9 karma

Because when Google decides to do anything, nothing can stand in its way.

davidpardo7 karma

You have met some of the most brilliant people around. Who impressed you most?

Guy_Kawasaki16 karma

Steve Jobs. No one comes close.

Alex_jaymin5 karma

Guy, I know you're a big fan and user of Google+, Why do you think it has failed to catch on in a big way?

Guy_Kawasaki0 karma

It has caught on in a big way. The people at Wired and TechCrunch are too clueless to understand Google+.

liquiddrugs5 karma

What do you think of the job market for new CS grads?

Guy_Kawasaki15 karma

Very good, but only study CS if you love CS. Don't study something because you heard that the job market is good.

yodaman921 karma

What about new grads looking to move to do a PhD? What would you say the scope would be for them in the industry, say, by the time they are done with their PhD?

Guy_Kawasaki3 karma

If you're going for a PhD, you must love learning for the sake of learning. More power to you.

sw_dev4 karma

If you had a startup and needed VC funding, but you had no contacts, which VC firm would you approach?

Guy_Kawasaki17 karma

Hard to answer this. You need to examine the portfolio of local VCs and the partners within the firm. That said, are you sure you need venture capital? Indiegogo and Kickstarter won't work for you? Venture capital is like crack: it makes you feel good, but it will often kill you.

graybis3 karma

Hello Mr. Kawasaki, Let me get straight to the point. I will be really soon 18 years old, and I have created a company with a european telecom tycoon. Now as you have suggested here, I did not focus on an industry. I focused on creating a product that I really loved and luckily there were other people that needed this too. The problem is that we need to increase the awareness of the whole idea as we are on the cyber security market. This is why I have submitted the project to startup competitions and it seems like we are a clear winner. The whole product has been done for more than one year (PHP, C#, SQL, Javascript .etc.) So my question is do you think we should accept or go for VC? (mostly because they have connections). Our product is based on a new emerging market with extensive growth. Are there any catches? There are a several things I want to clear out but a corp lawyer cost a lot $ that I do not have atm. Thanks, really appreciated for your time.

Guy_Kawasaki2 karma

Pursue all paths at once. You never know which will succeed. If possible, though, try to never have to take venture capital.

t0ddba3 karma

Hey Guy, big fan. Thanks for doing this. Whats your favorite book?

Guy_Kawasaki4 karma

t0ddba1 karma


Guy_Kawasaki5 karma

That book changed my life. Seriously.

ballplayer00253 karma

Guy, back when I was fresh out of college, you came to Fargo, ND to speak at an event called “Stampede” put on by the first company I worked for, Great Plains Software (now Microsoft Business Solutions). This would have been around 1998 I suppose, so we’re talking 15-16 years ago. During your speech you said something that has stuck with me ever since. It was about having kids, and how with the first one you are so cautious that you treat everything like it’s dangerous. But once the second one comes along, and he/she picks up a handful of dirt to put it in their mouth your first thought is “Well….dirt probably has some essential vitamins and minerals in it.” So here I am, 16 years later at a different company, with a different job, in a different state. I don’t remember anything else you said during your speech, (which is a shame because I like your message very much) but every time I see a child with dirt in their mouth I think of what you said and chuckle. Keep up the good work!

Guy_Kawasaki3 karma

Love it. And my kids are very healthy--knock on wood. I still remember the blackjack tables in Fargo! Doug Burgum was the man.

dayofthedead2043 karma

I once heard a rumor that Apple was in the process of developing TVs. And not Apple TV actual physical TV sets like so. Is there any truth to this rumor?

Guy_Kawasaki29 karma

No idea. If Apple made a TV, though, it would take subscribing to a special Apple channel and the TV's plug would be different so that everyone would have to rewire their house or buy a $29 adapter.

latetakeoff2 karma


Guy_Kawasaki22 karma

Yeah, and Russia and the US will merge to compete with China.

yodaman922 karma

What is one Android and one Apple app that you would suggest everyone to use?

Guy_Kawasaki5 karma

Have many that I love: Evernote, Tripit, Dropbox, Carousel, Fandango!

krystalsb2 karma

What is the next greatest social network?

Guy_Kawasaki7 karma

Define "next"

krystalsb2 karma

What direction will social media go? Facebook can't be forever...can it? I thought Google+ would be a worthy place to spend my time, but I can't seem to find a network over there yet.

Guy_Kawasaki5 karma

You can't find a network on Google+? Have you done a keyword search for your passions? Hard to believe you can't find anyone else there.

Guy_Kawasaki2 karma

koetsuji2 karma

How do you make money?

Guy_Kawasaki2 karma

Writing, speaking, and doing.

wellvis2 karma

If you could change one thing about Apple today, what would it be?

Guy_Kawasaki2 karma

I wish iOS was as good as Android.

YouthfulWater2 karma

What advice would you give to someone about to start their career? Also, what do you wish someone had told you before you entered the workforce?

Guy_Kawasaki9 karma

Over the course of your life, you'll probably have 5-10 jobs. Your first job really doesn't matter, so don't make yourself crazy "optimizing" the decision since you're going to change 4-9 times. You can learn something from every job. It doesn't matter where you start. It matters where you end.

Alex_jaymin2 karma

I love Alltop.com, any future plans for expanding/growing the site?

Guy_Kawasaki7 karma

We don't know what to do. It hasn't reached critical mass, but it also keep on chugging along.

agschil2 karma

So excited you're doing an AMA! If you were a young entrepreneur starting a company, what industry would you focus on and why?

Guy_Kawasaki5 karma

I would not focus on an industry. I would focus on creating a product or service that I love and hope that I'm not the only one.

Rena_222 karma

What do you think of the following quote by Elon Musk? "[My biggest mistake is probably] weighing too much on someone's talent and not someone's personality. I think it matters whether someone has a good heart." If you agree, maybe any stories? Thanks.

Guy_Kawasaki13 karma

Elon Musk is the new Steve Jobs. My issue with his advice is that people with bad hearts look just like people with good hearts until you really work with them.

ferminriii2 karma

Good afternoon! I have been following you on Google+ since the beginning. I am fascinated by your posts and your career.

I created an account on https://www.canva.com today and started messing around. I know you like the specific phrase “For the rest of us” but I am curious who the target market is?

There are a lot of tools available as part of productivity packages which can do the same sort of thing.

Guy_Kawasaki3 karma

The target for Canva is people who want to design their own graphics but cannot afford or afford to learn high-end products.

We want to empower people who couldn't do graphics to now do their own and enable amazingly simple graphic design.

Ultrashock2 karma

It seems that you are always working on something new, every company is different but success is always the main goal (success having different definitions to all of course). I am assuming that due to the differences there are no "formulas" for success when it comes to evangelism. How do you determine the means and ways of evangelizing whichever company you are a part of?

Guy_Kawasaki3 karma

I'm a creature of habit. I love to evangelize stuff that I love. I need to believe in my heart that I have the other person's best interests at heart. When I tell people to use Macintosh, I believe it's the best computer for them. When I tell people to use Canva, it's the best graphic design tool for them.

stoicka2 karma

Hey Guy, what are your thoughts on the future of physical newspapers and how do you see them develop? Thanks for doing this AMA!

Guy_Kawasaki4 karma

I am not bullish on physical newspapers. We subscribe to the SJ Mercury and SF Chronicle. Luckily, they are auto-billed, and I don't know how to cancel the subscriptions or I would have already.

I like reading them once in a while, but not enough to get everyday.

Still, someone/something has to be pay for true journalism.

stoicka1 karma

Thank you! Do you think the role of the local physical newspaper as in distributing local news has been or will be completely took over by the online news (apps) and social media?

Guy_Kawasaki2 karma

"Completely" is a strong word, but I'd say "predominantly" is either true or soon to be true.

Ultrashock2 karma

Hey Guy thanks for the AMA!

A few questions:

The Verge usually does something called, "Whats in your bag." I know that you are on the move a lot, what do you typically carry with you when it comes to being productive on the go?

Any cool apps that you are using these days? (thanks for turning me into a huge Evernote fan)

What is the next book for Guy Kawasaki?

Guy_Kawasaki3 karma

I carry a Moto X, Nexus 7, Macbook Pro 13 inch, 10,000 mamp battery

purplepesto2 karma

What is the strangest thing you've ever been asked in a job interview?

Guy_Kawasaki2 karma

I haven't had a job interview in a very, very long time. I can't remember what I was asked! :-)

wowmyers2 karma

How do you properly sell the dream to your team?

Guy_Kawasaki2 karma

You show them how your dream is a way to improve people's lives--that your product or service seizes the moral high ground.

shortinstature2 karma

I follow your posts every day and am so excited to get the possible opportunity to actually talk to you! On AMAs I always like the random, more personal questions so I just have two for you. 1. When you were younger, what did you want to be when you grew up? 2. If you could go back in time to get a chance at redoing a part of your life, would you and what part?

Thank you so much for just being you!

Guy_Kawasaki2 karma

I wanted to be an entrepreneur. I wish I had taken some computer science classes in college so that engineers would have a harder time bullshitting me.

airplanesscareme2 karma

Can you explain your theories on how you put out content on Twitter? Or why you post the same tweets several times in a day?

Guy_Kawasaki4 karma

The stories from http://holykaw.alltop.com/ go out four times, 8 hours apart as tweets. This is because I don't believe that everyone who is interested is in the same timezone or has the same reading habits.

I can prove that I get 4 x the click throughs vs posting one time. I lose some people because of the repetition, but not enough to change my mind.

My Twitter account is a curation service. The model is CNN, ESPN, or NPR--all of whom repeat stories throughout the day.

Peabush2 karma

Thought somehow this was an AMA for the guy who made motorcycles. Carry on!

Guy_Kawasaki4 karma

You might learn something nonetheless.

Guy_Kawasaki1 karma

Wrote a post about the meaning of meaning for today. Please check it out: https://www.linkedin.com/today/post/article/20140429144329-2484700-the-meaning-of-meaning

NorbitGorbit1 karma

What's the worst idea with the best execution you've seen and the best idea with the worst execution you've seen and which one did better?

Guy_Kawasaki3 karma

Respectively, Windows and Mac. :-)

NorbitGorbit1 karma

Ha! How about recently?

Guy_Kawasaki7 karma

Broncos vs Seahawks

K_Articus1 karma

Any chance to see you speaking live in Europe in the near future?

Guy_Kawasaki1 karma

I'll be in Milan in a few weeks.

HondosaurusRex1 karma

In grad school we had to read "What the Plus?" it really opened our eyes to Google + but you gave a lot of great advice for social media as well. It was an entertaining read. Glad I had to read it.

Guy_Kawasaki2 karma

Cool. What grad school was this?

TheLurkingMan1 karma

Hey Mr. Kawasaki,

Which kind of mobile apps do you see being most relevant in the near future?

Guy_Kawasaki3 karma

I would love to have an email client that worked well. Is that too much to ask? :-)

Not much for a visionary, honestly. I just know "it" when I see it.

citrusman1 karma

How do you recommend an early stage startup with a specific focus compete against a larger company that provides a wide variety of services, including one that competes with the startup's one specific service?

Guy_Kawasaki2 karma

Go deep and try to own that sliver of a market. Spread from there.

Guy_Kawasaki1 karma

Also wrote what you need to master social media that no one will tell you http://blog.canva.com/how-to-succeed-on-twitter-by-really-trying/

HelixDnB1 karma

What do you feel is a product that was fantastic but just wasn't marketed properly, ultimately dying out? How would you have fixed that?

Guy_Kawasaki2 karma

Honestly, I've never seen that happen. I think that good stuff rises and crap sinks.

nevanking1 karma

What's your daily schedule like? What time do you get up, what do you have for breakfast and how's your commute? What time to you officially quit work and do you exercise?

Guy_Kawasaki3 karma

Up at 7, take kids to school at 7:30, coffee shop working until 10 am, phone conferences until 11:30, play hockey 11:45 to 1:15, lunch at coffee shop and working until 5, come home and eat/play with kids, work until 10:30, stationary bike until midnight, read novels on Kindle until 12:30, sleep.

nevanking1 karma

That's a nice schedule! Plenty of exercise too.

Guy_Kawasaki4 karma

I am 59, my youngest is 8. I have to live a long time...

nevanking1 karma

Do you have some Dicky Fox-like aphorisms? (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SyxWWYeXKBw)

Guy_Kawasaki2 karma

None whatsoever. I couldn't be less aligned with this video.

nevanking1 karma

That made me laugh. Is it because it's very traditional "self-help" style?

Guy_Kawasaki1 karma

That's not evangelism. That's sales.

nevanking1 karma

What's the difference between evangelism and sales (I'm genuinely curious, I've never thought about it). I would have thought that apart from sales being more "by any means necessary" and money-focussed, that they're both about convincing people of your point of view, then having them act on that conviction.

Guy_Kawasaki3 karma

Evangelism is when you have the other person's best interests at heart. Sales is when you have your best interests at heart.

EdenR1 karma

You are an awesome on stage presentor, you inspired my husband to write his first fiction novel after seeing your 'couch session' at NMexpo in 2013.. Did you get coached for onstage speaking early on in your speaking career or did you fumble thru it and just fine tune it?

Guy_Kawasaki3 karma

You're too kind. I never had coaching or instruction. I just do it a lot--like 75 times a year. When you speak that often, you either get good or you don't speak that many times a year. :-)

t0ddba1 karma

the Skillshare looks awesome! Is it essentially a class about being a Evangelist? If so I'm in!

Guy_Kawasaki2 karma

Thanks! It's essentially how to be an entrepreneur of which one component is evangelism.

Rude_Etude1 karma

Thanks for developing one of the great classic air-cooled inline-4 Japanese motorcycles, the GPz550. I spent many a happy mile on mine.

The little enduro bike, the KE-100 though ... gutless hunk 'o' junk but then you probably already know that.

Guy_Kawasaki1 karma

I'll tell my grandfather what you said.

airplanesscareme1 karma


Guy_Kawasaki2 karma

It's gotten easier to be a CE because of social media. In 1984, there were phones and faxes. Now there's Pinterest, Google+, Twitter, Hangouts, Skype, Facebook. Life is good for a CE these days.

cuttingclass1 karma

When was the first time you were in a job and said to yourself, "I need to leave, now!", and decided to quit or just move on?

What advice do you give to others who are in that similar position?

Thank you for the questions, hope you get it.

Lastly, why are you so active on G+? No need to answer.

Guy_Kawasaki2 karma

The first time I had that attitude was when I was passed over for a promotion at Apple.

My advice is that you look while you're employed, but do look.

I love G+ so that's why I'm so active there.

johnjohnsonsdickhole1 karma

Can you give me your #1 secret to approaching my future business endeavors? Just one thing that will help me in everything I do... Some tiny nugget of wisdom from the great Guy Kawasaki that I can use to inspire me to be great?

Guy_Kawasaki4 karma

Work your ass off.

-Thunderbear-1 karma

What's your advice on the step of connecting ideas and concepts with subject matter experts and vendors? For instance, I'm an outdoor professional interested in designing and improving technical clothing and gear, where would one look for textile expert and start-up advisors?

Guy_Kawasaki2 karma

Go online to Google+ and look for people with similar interests. Google+ is great for this.

tossinthisshit11 karma

1) what do you think about 20-somethings clamoring to start 'tech businesses' in wake of recent buyouts by facebook and google, while at the same time ignoring the needs of people and businesses in older, less 'glamorous' industries?

2) if part of your product requires a software component, would you recommend them to outsource or build it themselves?

shouting out the fastlane forum, a still rather small community of entrepreneurs in the trenches. thank you for doing this AMA!

Guy_Kawasaki2 karma

1) Any-somethings should create businesses in sectors that they love. If they don't love love older, less-glamourous industries, they shouldn't do it even if they look lucrative.

2) Build it yourself.

speizr_rick1 karma

Your blog changed the way I think about slide decks.


Guy_Kawasaki2 karma

10-20-30 baby!

Sunflower_Fortunado1 karma

Thanks for making your book interesting to read. I can count the books we read in my business program that were interesting on one hand as yours is definitely on there.

How's Rocky doing?

Guy_Kawasaki2 karma

Thanks! Unfortunately, Rocky died a few years ago. Now we have a bloodhound/Rottweiler and a pug.

danimal20111 karma

Guy, I'm in tech PR and my boss asked me to read "The Art of the Start" a couple of years ago. I can honestly say that the book redefined how I think about my early stage clients.

What has changed the most about startups and their culture since you first wrote the book?

Guy_Kawasaki2 karma

Wow, cool. Since the book was written, we have gotten social media, crowdsourcing of everything, and cloud computing. I'm revising the book for this reason.

But generally the spirit of entrepreneurship is just as good as ever!

caligaluk1 karma

Hi Guy!

Great to "speak" to you today!

If you had an e-book in PDF format but wanted to sell it on your website for e-readers (Nook, Kindle, iPad etc), what would you do with it? Try Blurb? Lulu? Kindle Direct? Or something else entirely for self publishing?


Would you EVER recommend just selling the PDF/ePub on your own site to cut out the middle man (my site gets appx 20,000 uniques a month).

Thank you! T.N. @soyouvebeendump

Guy_Kawasaki2 karma

No doubt in my mind on this: I would go with Kindle with POD from CreateSpace. My book APE explains this. Amazon is a killing machine.

B3ndy1 karma

Hey Guy, I'm a big fan, really enjoyed Enchantment, great read. I am also a startup founder and I'd be curious to get your views on alternative funding sources, especially for early stage (pre rev) businesses.

I've pitched to about 10 angel groups (with mixed success), and now exploring crowd funding.

Any strong views?

Guy_Kawasaki5 karma

There is less and less reason to raise venture capital. Angels and crowdfunding is the future. Try to avoid venture capital for as long as you can.

SaysSportage1 karma

Hello Mr. Kawasaki, I would like to ask you how much time I, as a young student, would have to set aside for starting my own business. As much as possible? Or manage is it possible to mange 5-6 hours a week and still get some air under my wings?

Guy_Kawasaki2 karma

Hard to say. Honestly, I would tell you to enjoy your school years. They are some of the best times of your life. You have fifty years to start a company afterwards.

Jawadd121 karma

Hey Guy, thanks for doing an AMA!!

What do you think about VK? The European social network?

Guy_Kawasaki2 karma

I don't know a thing about it.

HKH5151 karma

Why wouldn't you install vista on your macbook air?

Guy_Kawasaki2 karma

Is this an IQ test?

Dingo8MahBaby1 karma


Guy_Kawasaki2 karma

You're referring to Ralph Kiyosaki. I'm Guy Kawasaki.

karmanaut0 karma

Make sure you add your proof to your submission!

CindyMagnifazine-2 karma

Hi, Guy. My name is Cindy and I have a great new product, with Design and Utilities patents pending. I am working hard, 24/7, to bring it to the market. I have 25 years of successful professional level sales experience and an MBA. I am looking for someone to help me by partnering with me to help get this product to market. Will you please please please consider contacting me and talking with me? [email protected]. Thank you for all you do to help others!

Guy_Kawasaki1 karma

Honestly, I'm dedicated to the evangelism of Canva right now, so I can't help. Sorry.

CindyMagnifazine0 karma

Would you consider just a phone call to talk about it?

Guy_Kawasaki4 karma

If you donate $500 to the UC Berkeley ice hockey team, I will spend one hour on the phone discussing your idea.

jerryricebag-14 karma

more like Gay Kawasucky.

Guy_Kawasaki8 karma

You are so funny! Perhaps you have a career in front of you writing jokes.