Shortly after Steve Jobs passed away, Guy Kawasaki delivered a speech intended on discussing lessons on entrepreneurship. But since the news of the passing of Steve Jobs was delivered to him the night before, he felt compelled to throw away his original presentation and instead discuss what he felt were the best lessons Steve Jobs taught him. The lessons below are great nuggets of information from arguably one of the best innovators of our time. Whether you are starting a company, creating a product or providing a service, you should definitely listen up. Here are the lessons Guy Kawasaki learned first hand from Steve Jobs:
1) EXPERTS ARE CLUELESS!
Steve was adamant that experts were worthless. A supposed expert’s job was to tell you how things couldn’t be done. So don’t listen to the so-called “experts”, it’ll be one of the biggest mistakes you’ll ever make; instead listen to yourself and your gut.
2) CUSTOMERS CAN’T TELL YOU WHAT THEY NEED.
You can’t listen to what customers tell you they want, especially when you are innovating a new product or service. Customers just don’t have the vision, you have to provide them with it before they can see it. No one could have told Apple before 2007 that they wanted a touch screen phone that could provide them with directions, surf the web and download any app from a virtual store. It was impossible! No one had ever created it before then. Customers just don’t have the vision so you have to build it for them. If you ask your customers what they want they will only want to incrementally improve things, 10% improvements. In 2007 they would have likely suggested a better version of the Blackberry. Also Steve did not believe in using focus groups to figure out what your customers want since they will only provide you with incremental improvements anyways.
3) THE BEST WORK IS DONE WHEN REPRESENTED WITH THE BIGGEST CHALLENGES.
If you want your people to rise up then you have to give them huge challenges. Goals that seem impossible. Give your employees magnificent challenges and that is how you get the best work out of people. Something happens to a person’s ability when you give them goals that seem impossible, all of a sudden they will think outside the box and figure out a way to get it done. Plus the biggest challenges will actually excite them versus smaller ones. Don’t give them incremental goals to try to help them, if you do they’ll remain at the same level for years.
4) DESIGN COUNTS.
In a world where everyone talks about price, lots of people care more about design. Whatever you do, don’t put out crap. It’s a lot easier to enchant people with great stuff than with low price. Apple charges an arm and a leg for their devices compared to Windows and Android, yet people still flock by the millions for every new device they put out. Why? Because design truly does count. In the short term prices may provide an advantage but in the long run people are willing to dish out more cash for a beautiful design and reliable device.
5) IN PRESENTATIONS, USE BIG GRAPHICS AND BIG FONTS.
Don’t read slides. Don’t use small fonts no one can read. Use large fonts with no more then a few words. This might sound obvious to some but it isn’t obvious to others. As you can recall, Steve was a master presenter! He would make even the smallest feature sound groundbreaking and it was all due to his masterful presentation skills.
6) IF YOU TRULY WANT TO BE AN ENTREPRENEUR OR INNOVATOR YOU HAVE TO JUMP CURBS. DON’T DO THINGS 10% BETTER, DO THEM 10X BETTER.
You can’t change the world by improving or altering things to be 10% better, if so you’re not putting a dent in the market, your industry or the world. To be a great entrepreneur you have to 10X your product or service. They have to be 10 times better. Don’t make incremental improvements because if you do you will get buried alive in a crowd of competitors. Imagine if Apple made a better Blackberry, they would have never dominated the market the way they were able to with the invention of the iPhone.
7) ALL THAT MATTERS IS THAT SOMETHING WORKS OR DOESN’T WORK, DON’T WORSHIP FADS IN BUSINESS.
Apple was concerned more with whether something was better for business than sticking to their principles. An example of this was when Apple had originally closed off apps to developers; originally it had to be built in to safari as a plugin but then they changed their minds and opened their apps to 3rd party developers. They completely reversed course, they weren’t stuck on the principle of whether they were open or closed, they just cared about what was best for the customers.
8) PRICE. VALUE IS VERY DIFFERENT THEN PRICE.
If you compete on price then you will be in a very difficult situation. Uniqueness and high quality matters much more than price. Everyone competes on price, which drives down profits, and everyone loses. You are always better off competing on quality or value than you ever will on price.
9) A PLAYERS HIRE A PLAYERS, B PLAYERS HIRE C PLAYERS, C PLAYERS HIRE D PLAYERS. DON’T DIMINISH THE QUALITY OF YOUR STAFF
As Guy Kawasaki said, don’t lower your standards or the BOSO explosion begins. This is extremely important because the moment you bring in bad staff it will have a domino effect on the rest of the company. Brilliant people want to be around other brilliant people and if you bring in low quality staff, all the good guys are going to bail out. This is a horrible, so don’t diminish your company by hiring lower level employees. A players will probably hire A+ players, but once you get to B then they start hiring lower and lower. Be conscious of your surroundings, hire people that are better then you. You should say “I hired someone better at engineering than me, sales than me, finance than me”. Hire people around you that are better than you.
10) REAL CEO’S CAN DEMO.
If you want to be a great CEO then you have to demo your own product. Don’t let your VP demo it. If you can’t demo your own product then don’t get into business.
11) REAL ENTREPRENEURS SHIP NOT SLIP
When you’ve jumped curbs, created a new category, created a revolutionary device, then you can have crap in it. Its ok at this stage, the most important thing is that you don’t wait! If you wait, you won’t ship. You have to ship. If your product launch is perfect, then you’ve probably launched too late.
12) SOMETHING NEEDS TO BE BELIEVED TO BE SEEN.
Entrepreneurs must believe in their product and in order to do so you have to ship your product for people to see it. Don’t wait for customer validation. Don’t wait for perfection. You have to believe in somethings if you want to see somethings.
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