Personal Insights into Guy Kawasaki

As a new monthly feature for 12 Most, I will be interviewing leaders within their fields and gaining some personal insights into them beyond what we see everyday in their posts, tweets and blogs. First up is Guy Kawasaki,  a supporter of 12 Most from the earliest days, the co-founder of, an “online magazine rack” of popular topics on the web. Previously, he was a chief evangelist at Apple.  He has a BA from Stanford University and an MBA from UCLA as well as an honorary doctorate from Babson College.  “He focuses on the tactical and practical to help people kick butt and change the world.”

Guy is the author of ten books including Reality Check, The Art of the Start, Rules for Revolutionaries, How to Drive Your Competition Crazy, Selling the Dream, and The Macintosh Way. His latest book is Enchantment: The Art of Changing Hearts, Minds and Action. He is currently writing a book on one of his passions: Google+. Interact with Guy on Google+ @

Here is a link with great information on Guy (his official bio and Guy’s “real story” in his own words).

What 12 questions can you ask a man like Guy Kawasaki? He was kind enough to answer my questions with only one parameter: that I ask only 1 part questions and not 12 5 part questions. Fair enough! I tried to ask things that I thought you, the 12 Most reader could use to help you gain insight into your own social media and goals as well as to learn more about Guy.

1. How did you get started in social media?

Dave Winer and Laura Fitton dragged me into Twitter kicking and screaming at Gnomedex in September 2007. For the first week, I thought that Twitter was the dumbest thing I’d ever seen.

2. Did you change your strategies as you learned more about social media?

I’m not a big believer in strategy. Usually I just “do” and find someway to explain my practices after the fact in order to give people the impression that I know what I’m doing. Creating a strategy is over-rated.

3. We know that being successful in social media takes a lot of time. At what point did you feel social media was a viable enterprise for you?

October 2007.

4. What is your motivation behind your social media engagement?

“Experts” hate when I say this, but my motivation is to earn the privilege of promoting my websites and books to my audience. I call this the NPR Model. NPR provides such great content that it earns the right to run telethons. I try to provide such great content that I earn the right to promote Alltop, my books, and the companies that I advise every once in a while.

5. Did you have any memorable mentors?

I’ve had two mentors in my life: Marty Gruber and Al Eisenstat. Marty was the president of the jewelry company that I worked at from 1979 to 1983. He taught me how to sell. Al was the general counsel of Apple. He protected me during the Jobs-Sculley-Gassé-Campbel wars at Apple.

6. How do you choose who you mentor?

I never mentor anyone for three reasons: First, I don’t have a warm and fuzzy bedside demeanor—in other words, I don’t want to be anyone’s shrink. Second, I don’t have a lot of spare time. Third, I have four kids and a wife that are more important to me than anyone else in the world.

7.  On average, how many email requests, tweets, Google + and Facebook notifications do you receive per day?

100-200. I’m glad you didn’t ask how many I answer. :-) I concentrate on email and Google Plus.

8. What is your time management plan for managing multiple social media platforms? (Google Plus, Facebook, Twitter)

I handle all posts and responses on Google Plus by myself. Google Plus is a land grab right now, so I’m paying my dues.There is a team of twenty people working on stories that become my tweets. Honestly, I neglect Facebook right now.

As for email, every incoming message is run against my contacts database. If the email address is in the database, it gets through to me. If not, a virtual assistant handles what she can and filters the rest to me.

This isn’t exactly a “time management system.” I just work for hours every day on this. It’s what I do…the secret to my success in life is that I’m willing to grind it out.

10. What do you say to people who say too many changes are happening too fast, and are stressed over how to manage it all?

“Here’s a quarter. Call your momma and tell her you need to move back in.”

11. What are the best ways to facilitate growth in your social media following?

Post good shiitake. This is also my SEO strategy.

12. If you could have one “do over”, what would it be?

I would have taken the job interview to be the first adult CEO of Yahoo when I was offered the chance by Michael Moritz. For that matter, I left Apple twice. If I had stayed either time, I would be rich and insufferable—or more insufferable—and all I would do is play hockey and be with my kids.

Thank you to Guy for answering these questions and for all the support for 12 Most.  Love this >> “Guy’s Golden Touch,” by the way, is, “Whatever is gold, Guy touches.”

What would YOU like to ask Guy Kawasaki? Let’s hear it in the comments! Maybe Guy will stop by & answer you.

Featured image courtesy of Guy Kawasaki. 

If you liked this article, please give it a thumb up  in Stumbleupon. Thanks!

Originally posted as a guest post for 12 Most.
Article by Peg Fitzpatrick

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Author & Social media strategist at Lucky Clover Media
Social media is my passion. And my job. I've built a thriving social media platform of over 1,000,000 followers. Co-author of The Art of Social Media: Power Tips for Power Users with Guy Kawasaki. I'm here sharing my professional experience working day to day in the trenches of social media, marketing, and blogging. I work with global brands and leaders in the social media sphere every day. I've spearheaded successful social-media campaigns for Motorola, Audi, Google, and Virgin as well as having been a brand ambassador for Kimpton Hotels. I work with the best brands and make them even better! I'll share tips and tricks, provide positive inspiration and answer social media questions through the content that I create and curate. What sets me apart? I'm an innovative idea girl that follows through and gets the job done. Social media is my career, not just a hobby.

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  1. says

    Good interview. Follow up question:  #3 What happened in October 2007.
    I like #4 – The NPR Model: The answer is perfect.  Pay it forward to folks and they will want to engage with you.

  2. says

    Guy’s values show through here in how he spends his time, particularly in his answer to the mentoring question.  Mentoring takes time, and he puts his family as a higher priority.  
    very transparent, very to the point.

  3. says

    I love the #4 answer! I get that. I feel that by promoting SO MANY different musicians that when I need to get my babies promoted others are ok with it. hmm the NPR model. LOVE THAT…will be quoting you forever now.

    I think you are more strategic than you know. It’s just ingrained to you DNA at this point. In addition your simple approaches in a world of complicated is apprectiated.

    Peggy…..nothing BUT love for you baby! I appreciate you beyond words! xo

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