Alltop co-founder and former Apple evangelist Guy Kawasaki recently shared some of his strategies for outperforming competitors at WOBI’s World Innovation Forum.
Kawasaki knows firsthand that, like Apple, companies can succeed when they believe in their products. But how does a business gain that sort of confidence? According to Kawasaki, by building something that has meaning and is innovative.
Kawasaki’s “rules” have served as his own guidelines, and have helped propel him to success. Here are his must-know strategies that could change how your business operates:
1) If you really want to innovate, give meaning to your product
Kawasaki encouraged attendees at the World Innovation Forum to “want to change the world” with their products, noting that this ethos was at Apple’s core. He used Nike as an example, citing the company’s ability to infuse meaning into its sneakers. Kawasaki emphasized how “a little bit of cotton, leather and rubber” became symbolic with this 1990s Nike ad empowering women.
2) Have a mantra
If you really want to be innovative, said Kawasaki, create a mantra. Mission statements are lengthy and unmemorable, and people need to know why your organization exists. Kawasaki gave Wendy’s (“healthy, fast food”), FedEx’s (“peace of mind”), and eBay’s (“democratic commerce”) as examples.
3) Don’t worry, be crappy
Kawasaki stressed that there never will be an ideal time to innovate, and not to wait to perfect your product. The key is creating something that is a “revolutionary jump,” and doesn’t exist in the marketplace. He referred to the first laser printer as “a piece of crap, but a revolutionary piece of crap.”
4) Be willing to polarize people
All great products polarize a subset of the population, and Kawasaki urged leaders not to be afraid of this. He used TiVo as an example; Kawasaki loves recording his favorite shows on the device, but knows that advertisers loathe how viewers can skip through commercials. The most important thing, he said, is for a select few to really love your product.
5) Perfect your pitch
When presenting, Kawasaki thinks leaders should stand by the 10, 20, 30 rule: create 10 slides for a 20 minute presentation, and use 30 point font. He stressed the importance of providing both assistance and insight in the pitch, and including something unique for that specific audience.
6) Don’t stress if your target audience rejects your product, but others embrace it
Often companies panic when their product is used in unintended ways, and then spend an untold amount of time and money trying to get the “right” people to embrace it. Kawasaki says that this line of thinking is wrong. Instead, companies should say “hallelujah!” that people are buying from them, and gladly take the money.
7) Niche thyself
Produce something that is valuable and unique, says Kawasaki, something that truly makes peoples’ lives easier. Kawasaki uses the company Fandango, which allows customers to print out movie tickets at home, as an example. When Kawasaski takes his children to the movies, he wants to make sure that the film isn’t sold out before he gets there. He gladly pays Fandango’s relatively small fee for this convenience and his own peace of mind.