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Guy Kawasaki’s dozen learnings from Steve Job, and how to avoid the “Bozo Explosion!”

I have always enjoyed reading Guy Kawasaki.

Probably, my joy results from Kawasaki’s irreverence, combined with a pithy sort of TRUTH!

CNET presents a guest column by Guy Kawasaki in which Guy gives his list of the top 12 lessons that he learned from Steve Jobs. Since these concise lessons differ so radically from “business as usual” in the United States, and since they smack of real truth (“business as usual” smacks of lies repeated to successive generations of businesspeople – perhaps through Harvard Business School and similar institutions), I thought that I would list them here, and refer you to Guy’s humorous and insightful explanations of the lessons.

Besides that, I really believe that very few people can simply state truisms like Kawasaki, while providing humorous explanations that convince you that the truisms are INDEED true! So without further preample, here are the top 12 lessons Kawasaki says that he learned from Jobs (with my comments in paratheses):

  1. Experts are clueless (They really ARE! If you consider how LITTLE human beings actually understand, lesson #1 seems obvious.)
  2. Customers cannot tell you what they need (Customers often think in terms of “what is” rather than “what could be.”)
  3. Jump to the next curve (Embrace revolutionary change.)
  4. The biggest challenges beget best work (Guy’s fear that Steve would tell him that he or his work was crap was merely ENTJ competitiveness. In my experience, many ENTJs [and INTJs] have an inner core of fear wrapped up in an insecurity blanket. :-) )
  5. Design counts (Kawasaki states that Jobs was a perfectionist. Jobs was also a micromanager. Some great products resulted, but the method is not a guarantee of success, especially with personalities who do NOT live in fear.)
  6. You can’t go wrong with big graphics and big fonts (So true! I think of [boring] powerpoint slides (at Sun Microsystems) with enough words on them to write a novel.)
  7. Changing your mind is a sign of intelligence (…rather than a sign of WEAKNESS, as is often believed in business and politics.)
  8. “Value” is different from “price” (Oscar Wilde said that “A cynic is a man who knows the price of everything and the value of nothing.“)
  9. A players hire A+ players (Kawasaki said that Jobs actually believed that A players hire A players – Guy “upped the ante.” Hiring B players starts a “slippery slope” that leads to what Jobs called “the bozo explosion,” so COMMON in U.S. companies.)
  10. Real CEOs demo (Some CEOs think that it doesn’t matter WHAT their company makes, and don’t understand their own products.)
  11. Real CEOs ship (Jobs had a goal to ship great products and was not tweaking products for the sake of tweaking products.)
  12. Marketing boils down to providing unique value (Guy’s “2×2 matrix” may be “pulled from thin air,” but seems to “make sense.” Unfortunately, many things that are TRUE in the world do not make sense. Get “outside of your own head” and run the experiment! Many “_NTJs” are so [over]confident of their own beliefs and abilities [especially when surrounded by other group-thinking _NTJs] that they make really “dumb” mistakes. Apple’s “Cube” was one of these. I bought the Cube T-shirt, which was marked down to $10 at the Apple Store at 1 Infinite Loop when I was based at Apple, just to remind myself of the dangers. Yes, I still have the shirt. And yes, I still love Apple products…! And remember… the Cube was reincarnated as the very successful “snowball” iMac!)

-Bill at

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