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Ep. 006 – Guy Kawasaki shares his fantastic journey with customers, from Apple-Macintosh to Canva and in between

Guy Kawasaki

Guy Kawasaki Show Notes

Guy Kawasaki is the chief evangelist of Canva, an online graphic design tool. He is a brand ambassador for Mercedes-Benz and an executive fellow of the Haas School of Business (UC Berkeley). He was the chief evangelist of Apple and a trustee of the Wikimedia Foundation. He is also the author of The Art of the Start 2.0, The Art of Social Media, Enchantment, and nine other books. Kawasaki has a BA from Stanford University and an MBA from UCLA as well as an honorary doctorate from Babson College.

Most passionate about

  • Right now I have three positions, I am the chief Evangelists of Canva – an online graphic design service from Sidney Australia, A Mercedes-Benz brand ambassador and finely I am an executive fellow of the Haas School of Business (UC Berkeley).
  • I’m most passionate about surfing…
  • Professionally I’m most passionate about Canva. Canva is democratizing design trying to enable everyone to make great designs very easily. 

Guy’s Career

  • My career really started in the jewelry business not tech. I started a part time job when I had my MBA in UCLA. I worked for a jewelry manufacture in down town LA. It was a small manufacturing company owned by a Jewish family and that’s where I learned sales and marketing. I worked there for about six years. I have a deep understanding and love for many Jewish things.
  • I was in the jewelry business and then I got an Apple 2 and I fell in love with computers
  • I worked for 6 months for a small software company that was acquired and my roommate eventually hired me into Apple. I went to work for Apple as evangelist, I left to start a company, and later returned to apple as Apple chief evangelist, and yet again left to start a company… Basically; I’ve been in Apple twice and I’ve been an entrepreneur, speaker and author since then.


  • My target audience for Canva is anyone who wants to make a design, so this means anybody in the world… We try to democratize design so anybody can create beautiful designs. That’s a few billion people… I hope people realize how necessary it is to use design as an element of your communications because it helps you stand out.
  • We are focusing on anyone. If you are making a flyer for your kid’s soccer team, that’s not a professional use per se but you want to have a great flyer. And anybody that post for social media as a person not a company same thing.
  • From the very start the goal was to empower people. Just like when I went to work for Apple the goal for Apple was not to make a business computer but to make a computer that anyone could use. The same thing is true for Canva it’s not a tool that we make only for graphic professionals, it’s for anyone who wants to make graphics.

Your best advice about approaching the customer

  • My advice, believe it or not, it’s to make the product that you would like to use yourself and then hope that there are other people like you. Because I’ve noticed that people who do that, are people like Apple and Yahoo and Google, and these companies weren’t marketing driven per se but they built a product that they would like to use and come to find out many other people that would like it too.
    And this is not typical advice. It’s maybe not even a good advice but this is the advice that I believe in.

 Biggest failure with customers

  • With Apple when we introduced Macintosh it went through a very rough period for many reasons. So you could also look at this as a failure.
  • Very few companies get it exactly right at the start. It’s less important where you start as much as how fast you can change from where you start.
  • The best case is a pretty good prototype that you can change fast.

Biggest success due to the right customer approach

  • I started at Canva when they were two years old. I think that from the get go they had a very good prototype. They truly understood the need of people, and Canva was growing like a rocket. I’m not taking credit for that, the credit belongs to the founders of Canva: Melanie Perkins and Cliff Obrecht.
  • This is called Guy’s golden touch. So Guy’s golden touch is not whatever I touch turns to gold but whatever is gold, Guy touches…
  • I’ve learned in my career that it’s better to be lucky than smart

What make Canva so unique?

  • It is fast, it is free and it is really good. This is the holy grail, this is why Canva is so successful

Recommendation of the best tool for customer focus, marketing or sales?

  • In general Social Media is a gift to entrepreneurs, but within Social Media it’s Facebook! Facebook is so fantastic that you can target a specific age group, gender, in a specific geography with a specific interest. It’s the best marketing thing that exist.
  • The second Social Media platform I would highly recommend is LinkedIn. LinkedIn is for your personal branding, for your personal awareness and for your personal professional development. As a person if you don’t participate in LinkedIn you don’t exist in the world.
  • LinkedIn and Facebook, that’s about 80% of my social media activity.

A person who impact Guy’s “customer focus” success the most

  • I learned how to sell and marketing in the jewelries business, not in the tech business. That came before tech to me.
  • At the end of the day there are only two real functions in business: somebody has to make it and somebody has to sell it. If you are not an engineer you better learn how to sell. And if you can’t sell you better be engineering. Because everything else is bullshit.
  • I learned to sell. I’m not an engineer, I learned to sell in the jewelry business. I learned about trust. In the jewelry business it’s all about trust.

Last piece of guidance

  • You should never ask people to do something that you would not do. It applies to your customers, employees, vendors, to everybody.

Resources Mentioned:

  • The art of the start 2.0 The art of the start 2.0 – Fully revised and expanded for the first time in a decade, this is Guy Kawasaki’s classic, bestselling guide to launching and making your new product, service, or idea a success.
  • Canva – Canva makes design simple for everyone.
  • Guy’s page on Facebook

More resources for Entrepreneurs

  1. Don’t Miss – Customer Focus Strategy & Execution: Market Analysis for Fundraising
  2. Hayut Yogev’s Latest post: Is there a chance you are missing your best customers?
  3. Former interview: With Josh Elledge Founder & CEO of UpendPR and founder of


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