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

9. A players hire A+ players

Number nine: A players hire A plus players. That is a good person hires a better person, not a lesser person. What you’ll see is that B players because of their insecurities like to hire C players. They want to feel better than the person they hired. The problem is when a B player hires a C player, it creates this downward spiral and the C player hires the D player and the D player hires the E player and guess what pretty soon you’re surrounded by Z players. This is what we call in Silicon Valley the bozo explosion. You need to fight the bozo explosion.

This is a picture of the Macintosh division. This is a reunion held about 25 years after the Macintosh, some of the brightest people I’ve ever worked with. I consider it an honor to have worked with them.

10. Real CEOs demo


Number 10 is that real CEOs demo. They don’t pass it to a VP of engineering or a product manager or PR weenie. They do the demo. Great CEOs can do the demo. This is a picture of Steve demonstrating the Macintosh 128K in 1984. He did the demo by himself. I think many of you probably start a company one day, remember this day you want to be a great CEO, you have to do the demo. If you cannot do the demo you are a loser. Do the demo.

11. Real entrepreneurs ship


Number 11: real entrepreneurs ship. They ship. The way it works in Silicon Valley is we ship and then we test. Okay, except biotech. So one of the differences if you look at this, this is a very early version of essentially a Macintosh. However it came from Xerox PARC. Xerox PARC pioneered the mouse, graphical user interface, windowing, tiling, drawing with the mouse, all these kinds of things. But the difference between Apple and Xerox PARC is that Apple could ship. There’s a great song, ‘don’t worry, be happy’ by Bobby McFerrin, right? But really when it comes to innovation the correct song is ‘don’t worry, be crappy’. The first Macintosh was arguably a piece of crap, 128K of RAM, 400K floppy drive, no software thanks to me, slow printer, piece of crap but it was a revolutionary piece of crap. It was better than the best MS-DOS machine, better than the best Apple II. The first laser printer, arguably a piece of crap, $10,000 printing single sided, 8.5 by 11, slow AppleTalk network, a piece of crap but it was so much better than the best Daisy wheel printer. It was OK to ship. The way it works in technology is you ship and then you test. Real CEOs ship.


12. Marketing can be distilled to one simple graph.

Number 12: marketing can be distilled to one simple graph. This graph has two axes. On the vertical axis we measure uniqueness, on the horizontal axis we measure value. This is a 2 by 2 matrix. If any of you go on to work for McKinsey you will learn that in a 2 by 2 matrix you always want the upper right hand corner. Okay, McKinsey will charge you $25,000 for that. So let’s discuss all four corners.


The bottom right corner is where you create something of value but it’s not unique. There you have to compete on price. Same operating system on the same hardware, you have to compete on price.


The opposite corner. In the opposite corner you have something truly unique, only you do it but it is of no value. In that corner you’re just plain stupid.

In the bottom left corner, that’s what I call the dot-com corner, because there you have a company like that does something that is of no value and stupid people like me funded 10 other clones of So it has no value and is not unique, that’s the worst corner of all. But the corner you want to be in, the Holy Grail of marketing, the Holy Grail of entrepreneurship, the Holy Grail of innovation, the Holy Grail of making meaning in the world is the upper right hand corner. Create something that’s unique and truly valuable, unique and truly valuable. Macintosh was unique and truly valuable.


There are other things. This is the Breitling emergency watch. This watch, if you pull out the antenna puts out an emergency signal. So you don’t do this when you just take the wrong — you do this when you’re about to die, OK, because if you do this there will be a Coast Guard helicopter looking for you and Kevin Kostner is going to be in that helicopter. But this is a watch that can save your life, not many watches can save your life. This watch is unique and valuable. The key to all of marketing, all of innovation is you need to be in that upper right hand corner. Make something unique and valuable.


Some things need to be believed to be seen

And this is my last slide, and my last slide is to tell you one of the most valuable lessons that I learned from Steve is that in life some things need to be believed to be seen. Usually you hear this the opposite way that in order for you to believe something you have to see it. But I will tell you when it comes to changing the world, what I learned from Steve Jobs is if you believe in a Macintosh, if you believe in iPhone, iPod, iPad, if you believe enough then you will see it, because other people will believe in it, other people will create software, other people will create products. So you need to foster the belief in what you are dreaming so that it becomes a reality, which is very different than saying I don’t expect anybody to believe it until I see it. You need people to believe it before they can see it.

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