Lessons of Steve Jobs: Guy Kawasaki at TEDxUCSD (Full Transcript)

Guy Kawasaki

Guy Kawasaki, chief evangelist of Canva, presents Lessons of Steve Jobs at TEDxUCSD conference. This event occurred on May 11, 2013. Here is the full transcript of the whole presentation.

Listen to the MP3 Audio here: lessons-of-steve-jobs-guy-kawasaki-at-tedxucsd


Thank you very much. Good morning, people of San Diego, Go Tritons. It’s a real pleasure to be here. Thank you, thank you.

So I am going to talk to you today about what I learned from Steve Jobs. I worked for Steve Jobs, kind of twice in my life — the first time from 1983 to 1987 in the Mac division which was the largest collection of egomaniacs in the history of Silicon Valley. And that’s saying a lot if you know people from Silicon Valley. The second time was right after the 1997-1998 timeframe. And so I had two tours of duty with Steve. I will tell you that he was just the greatest influence in my life. I would not be where I am without him. The world is a lot less interesting place without Steve Jobs. There is no question about that.

And so I’ve seen many books and many things written about Steve Jobs, and I took it upon myself to write from a first-person person who was inside the reality distortion field what I learned from Steve Jobs.

I usually use a top-10 format but as Steve Jobs cannot be limited with these usual rules, I actually have a top-12 format today. And so I’m going to pass along everything that I learned from Steve Jobs so that you may apply it to your lives, your businesses, your studies so that you may in fact change the world. Because one of the things that Steve Jobs certainly did was change the world. So may he rest in peace but may his influence continue to inspire us.

1. Experts are clueless

So number one thing that I learned from Steve Jobs is that experts are usually clueless. They will tell you something can’t be done, shouldn’t be done and it isn’t necessary. Many many people in the 1983 timeframe told Apple build a bigger faster cheaper Apple II. Don’t do anything silly like get to the next curve. Experts are clueless. Not one of them should be believed. As a young person, in particular, do not listen to the experts. Listen to your heart. Go for it. When you encounter naysaying go against the naysaying. You know, this is what I call bozosity. Bozosity is like the flu, you have to inoculate yourself so that when you encounter bozosity, you already have built up resistance. I’m going to give you three examples of bozosity so you build up the antigens to the bozosity.

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First bozosity. “I think there is a world market for maybe five computers”. The chairman of IBM allegedly said this: five computers in the world. I have five computers in my house. I have all the computers he anticipated in the world in my house.

“This telephone has too many shortcomings to be seriously considered as a means of communication. The device is inherently of no value to us”. Western Union 1876. In 1876 Western Union wrote off telephony, oops! Western Union should be PayPal today but it’s hard to go from telegraph to computer to internet if you skip telephone in the middle. It’s too big a chasm to cross.

“There is no reason why anyone would want a computer in their home”. Ken Olsen, founder of DEC, great entrepreneur, great innovator. He was so successful on the mini-computer curve he could not embrace the personal computer curve.

Number one, experts are usually clueless.

2. Customers cannot tell you what they want

Number two, customers cannot tell you what they want. Customers will tell you they want better faster cheaper Apple II, better faster cheaper status quo, better faster cheaper of what you already make. Nobody asked Apple for 128K Macintosh with no software thanks to my efforts, 400K floppy, 128K RAM, nobody asked that. They wanted better faster cheaper Apple II. Customers usually cannot tell you what they want. You have to have your vision, your passion. You need to jump ahead of them. The way to jump ahead of them is to get to the next curve.

3. Jump To The Next Curve

The next thing that I learned from Steve Jobs — the action, the true action, the great innovation in the world doesn’t occur on the curve you’re on, it occurs on the next curve. Classic example, Ice 1.0. Bubba and Junior would go to a frozen lake or frozen pond and cut blocks of ice in the 1900s, 7 million pounds of ice was harvested in 1900. The technology at that point was horse, saw, slave, frozen lake, frozen pond, cold time of the year, go out to the lake, cut the ice. Ice 1.0.

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30 years later, Ice 2.0. Ice factory, now you froze water centrally, big technological change. Now it didn’t have to be winter, you didn’t have to be in a cold city, you could have an ice factory in San Diego. You can have an ice factory in Hawaii. You could have an ice factory in Mumbai, could be any place. Big change.

Ice 3.0. Refrigerator curve — now the Iceman didn’t have to deliver ice to your house. You don’t have to go to the ice factory to get your ice, use your own personalized ice factory in your house called refrigerator, a PC if you will, a personal chiller. The very interesting fact is that none of the ice harvesters became ice factories and none of the ice factories became refrigerator companies, and why is that? It’s because most organizations define themselves in terms of what they already do. We cut blocks of ice in the winter. We freeze water centrally. We make a device called refrigerator. You need to step back from what you currently do and look at the benefits you provide your customers, your clients. The ice business is fundamentally in the business of convenience and cleanliness and it can be done by harvesting ice but it can be done by freezing ice centrally and it can be done with your personal ice factory. Concentrate on the benefits, not the processes of your organization.

4. Big challenges beget the biggest accomplishments

The fourth thing I learned from Steve Jobs is the big challenges beget the biggest accomplishments. Give people what Tom Peters called the big hairy audacious goals. When IBM came into the computer business, Apple ran this ad, we welcomed IBM to the computer business because we wanted to take on the biggest, the most impressive, the most dominant company, welcome IBM seriously was a huge goal. Steve told us we want to defeat IBM, we want to send IBM back to the typewriter business holding its electric balls. And the biggest challenge begets the biggest accomplishments.

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5. Design counts

Number 5: design counts. Don’t let people tell you that design doesn’t count. People care about thinness, and beautifulness and aluminum, not black ugly plastic laptops. How many of you use a big black thick ugly laptop? Hold your hands up. Yeah, you are oppressed because nobody – nobody voluntarily uses a big thick black ugly laptop. I feel bad for you, I feel bad for you. You could have something cool and thin and beautiful. Enough people in the world care about design. Design counts.

6. Use big graphics and big fonts

Number 6: use big graphics and big fonts. This is the key to pitching. Just do this and you’ll be better than 90% of the people using PowerPoint. I’ll show you a great, great Steve Jobs slide. This is Steve Jobs slide at its best. Huge Windows logo, huge logo, iTunes 150 point font. The best Windows app ever written. Steve jobs with this slide is proclaiming that Apple has written the best Windows app. He’s using a huge logo, huge font. Count how many words are on that slide. iTunes, the best Windows app ever written, like seven words. The key to great PowerPoint presentation: big font, big graphics. If you use a small font and you read your small font, what happens is the audience one slide into your presentation figures out this bozo is reading his slides verbatim. I can read the slides to myself faster than this bozo can read them to me. So why don’t I just read ahead and you lose your audience. If you want a – I realize this is a heavy engineering crowd, I’ll give you an algorithm. The algorithm is figure out who the oldest person is in the audience, divide his or her age by 2. If you’re talking to 60 year old people, divide by 2: 30 points. 50 year old people, divide by 2: 25 points. Some day you may be pitching a 60-year-old venture capitalist, god bless you, that day use the eight point font. But until that day big font, big graphic.

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