11 Questions for the Enchanting Guy Kawasaki

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Author and the first ever 'corporate evangelist' Guy Kawasaki has just published his new book Enchantment: The Art of Changing Hearts, Minds, and Actions and he kindly sent it over to me to have a read. The book is really good thus far (I'm about halfway through) and it covers ways of being enchanting as an individual, as a company or brand – stay tuned for a post on the book itself.

Today it's all about Guy Kawasaki, we had a chat last week and I asked him a few questions about Personal Branding, writing books, Steve Jobs, tips for startups and why he tweets so much.

You have 9 published books under your belt already, how did you find inspiration to write the 10th?

I have to pay for the education of four kids, so I had to write another book. Sometimes you just need to man up and do what you have to do as a father. You can't sit by the side of a river and expect a roast duck to fly into your mouth.

How long does it take you to write a book and what's your best tips for aspiring authors?

From beginning to end, it takes about a year to write a book. There are periods when you're not doing anything to the manuscript because it's in the hands of editors and other people at the publisher, but a year always seems to go by.

Here are tips for aspiring authors: first, write a book because you have something to say, not because you think it will be good for your career, brand, or business. Second, ask yourself this question: "When people go to the iBooks or Kindle store, why would they buy my book instead of Malcolm Gladwell's, Jim Collins's, or Clayton Christensen's?" Third, write at least one page a day every day–don't wait for the perfect time when you can write a lot. Fourth, assume responsibility for the marketing of your book. Five, get a lot of email addresses, Twitter followers, and Facebook fans in advance. They will be your best leads.

Apple is enchanting, but few people would call Steve Jobs enchanting – how does this equation work?

There are three pillars to enchantment: likability, trustworthiness, and quality. The three pillars are not equal in height for each company. In Apple's case, the tallest pillar is quality. In Virgin America, the tallest pillar is likability. And in Zappos's case, the tallest pillar is trustworthiness. Every company is different. Most companies have none of the pillars.

Given your vast experience in the field, what are three hard-to-spot pitfalls for entrepreneurs that are critical to avoid?

There is only one major pitfall: running out of money. This is cause by hallucinatory development schedules and wishful thinking sales forecasts. When I see a projection, I add one year to the shipping date and divide sales by 100.

Regarding startups, do you agree with fellow Hawaiian Robert Kiyosaki that you need a number of failures to finally succeed?

Actually, I don't. You can be successful in your first attempt just as you could score a goal in your first shift in the NHL. The odds are not good, but it is possible. Robert's point, however, is that failure is a good teacher and can make you a better entrepreneur over time.

This is not to say that you should intentionally fail in order to succeed. You should try your best to succeed but know that you will probably fail, and you can learn from your failure.

What's your 3 best tips for someone looking to improve their personal brand online?

There's only one best tip: Provide interesting links that inform, inspire, or entertain.

I unfollowed you on Twitter; too many updates! What's the reason you tweet so much and repeat yourself?

My ghosts, contributors, and I tweet twenty new stories a day. Each story is repeated four times at eight hour intervals. My Twitter feed is a news feed–like CNN or Mashable–with sporadic manual tweets by only me. I repeat them four times over thirty-two hours because people do not park themselves on Twitter and read for eight hours straight. In the same sense, people don't park themselves on CNN or ESPN, so the networks repeat their stories. If you don't like this volume, you can follow @Alltop instead. There are no repeats on this account.

Three things you tell yourself when your chips are down?

In dark hours I tell myself only one thing: "Some orifices will be happy if you fail."

What are three life memories you recall most frequently?

I have four: meeting my wife, seeing Macintosh for the first time, becoming a Christian, and playing hockey for the first time.

Let's hear your best kept secrets?

I don't keep good stuff a secret. I believe in helping others. If I find something that's good, I feel a moral obligation to tell my closest 350,000 friends about it. This is good for them and good for the website, book, and people. I'm a baker–I want to bake bigger pies so that everyone can get a bigger piece.

What's the one thing people can do to help you?

Insipid as this may seem, they could buy Enchantment. This would gratify me a great deal, help pay all the tuitions, and help people change the world. We're talking about a win-win-win here.  

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