Guy's 11-Step Program for Innovation

Bob Cramblitt reports on Guy Kawasaki’s talk from Business of Software 2007. To sign up for the BoS 2008, visit

Guy Kawasaki was part of the Mac team at Apple between 1983 and 1987, which he called “the largest collection of egomaniacs until Google.” He’s had huge successes, and made some mistakes, including not taking a job in the early days of Yahoo.

Kawasaki kicked off Business of Software 2007 with 11 key points for fulfilling “The Art of Innovation”:

  1. Make meaning – Decide how you are going to make meaning. Nike makes meaning out of shoes.
  2. Make mantra – Put together 2 or 3 words that explain why your software exists. Most companies have mission statements, not mantras. Some proposed mantras from Guy: Wendy’s: “Healthy fast food.” Nike: “Authentic athletic performance.” FedEx: “Peace of mind.” eBay: “Democratize commerce.”
  3. Jump to the next curve – Don’t go for 10% better, shoot for 10X better: Mac vs. Apple II; telephone vs. telegraph. No ice harvester became an ice factory and no ice factory became a refrigerator company.
  4. Role the DICEE – Deep: PhotoShop. Intelligent: Someone anticipating what I need to do. Complete: Create a totality of experience. Elegant: Nano controls thousands of songs with a wheel. Emotive – Harley-Davidson.
  5. Don’t worry, be crappy – Version 1 means never having to say you’re sorry. Shoot then test. A first product can have elements of crappiness.
  6. Polarize people – The Scion xB isn’t for everyone. The more people you try to serve, the greater the mediocrity.
  7. Let a hundred flowers blossom (Mao) – If you ship software and find users are not the right people (the audience you anticipated), “take the money.” Ask people who are buying why they are buying
  8. Churn, baby, churn – The first permutation of the next curve will have elements of crappiness, but you have to move beyond crappiness quickly. Need to fix your revolution. Can’t stay crappy forever.
  9. Niche thyself – Provide a unique product or service that delivers value to the customer. Examples: Fandango movie reservations – no standing in line. Breitling Emergency wristwatch – antenna sends out emergency signal. Smart Car – park perpendicular to curb. Trek Lime – automatic transmission in a bike. LG Kimchi refrigerator. Royal Caribbean – ice skating rink on a cruise ship.
  10. Follow the 10/20/30 rule of pitching: Maximum of 10 slides in PowerPoint for 60 minutes. Complete presentation in 20 minutes. Use 30 point font size. Dark background; sans serif font; fill or left justify.
  11. Don’t let the bozos grind you down – Bozos don’t have vision. Examples: Ken Olsen of DEC saying that people didn’t need computers at home. Kawasaki’s response to Yahoo: “It’s too far to drive and I don’t see how it can be a business.”