Selling the Dream

Posted by Debby on 26th June and posted in EDC 630A

Sue set up the opportunity for our class to ask some questions of Guy Kawasaki, the author of “Selling the Dream” and former Apple Evangelist. Here are our questions and his responses:
Is your vision the same now or has it changed? If it has changed, how is it different?

Vision of what?

What role does compromise play in “Selling the Dream”?

This depends on what type of compromise you’re talking about. In ethics, there should be virtually none. In price, there will always be compromise. In features (with your engineers), there will always be compromise too. The only area you shouldn’t compromise is the quality of the people you hire as evangelists.

How would you compare the dreams and the work of Gandhi and Martin Luther King and some of the people you feature in “Selling the Dream”?

The book was written for anyone who wanted to change the world. However, not everyone is a Gandhi or Martin Luther King. People can change the world by affecting a very small part of the world…that’s okay too. Think of what one person can do via a school or church. These people are as much heros as Gandhi or Martin Luther King.

Why did you choose the word “evangelism” to describe “Selling the Dream”? For some, it has very negative connotations.

Evangelism is about bringing the good news. That’s the Greek root of the word. That’s what evangelists do. For some, words like “sales” or “marketing” has very negative connotations. Tell people to get over it.

How do you suggest dealing with a situation where it appears that a key figure has bought-in to what you are “selling” – but then you discover that the person was just going along with the idea?

I would keep pushing until the person “gets it.” It sure beats overcoming someone’s stated objections.

How do you avoid being perceived as a “know-it-all” while selling your dream?

Evangelism is very pure. It has little to do with impressing others. It’s about making the world a better place for others. If you’re perceived as knowing it all, you probably aren’t a good evangelist.

When you are starting out as a small (and hopefully not too scared)fish in an ocean of sharks, whales, and eels how do you best sell your dream?

Start in a fresh water lake where such organisms don’t exist.

How many faxes have you received (since you ask for them in your book)?

I don’t recall…maybe 50-100. No one sends faxes anymore. It’s all email now.

What do you recommend when you have two similar, yet competing, visions (“initiatives” may be a more appropriate word, I think)? It happens from time to time when we have two ideas and visions of a new structure, and there are certain factions that go with one idea, some go with another idea, and some sit in the middle indecively. Everything requires executive (and IT) support, but more importantly, support of those workers that can make or break it. Each may be equally valid, but folks can be split 50/50. How do you suggest dealing with this?

If you have two equally good visions, then you have two equally mediocre visions. When you find the right one, you won’t be thinking anything is as good. Don’t stop until you reach this point.

What are you working on now? Are you writing another book?

I am writing a new book. It’s called “The Art of the Start.” It’s for anyone starting anything.

Apple Questions for Guy (Answer these only if you feel that you want to or can, given what you are working on today. These are from my students, not from me!)
What is the most important idea you took away from your experiences at Apple?

Never underestimate the ability of love of a product to overcome tremendous resistance to change.

If you were to do your actions at Apple all over again, what would you do differently?

I would license the Macintosh OS to other computer companies.

In hindsight, some people believe that had Apple allowed cloning of their hardware at the onset and positioned themselves as a software company, they would be “Microsoft”. How do you feel about this?

If by this you mean more successful and being the dominant player, I agree. “Be Microsoft” can be interpreted in many ways. 🙂

Garage Technology Ventures
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Palo Alto, CA 94″04
Talley, Sue. “Guy’s answers to your ?s.” Online posting. 26 June 2003. pep.gsep.ed630.5thDim. 26 June 2003 .

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