Guy Kawasaki at Yahoo!

Yahoo invited Guy Kawasaki in to talk about what it means to be an evangelist and how to write a corporate mantra (not to be confused with a mission statement). His talk was well-attended and more than a few old Mac hands came to worship the prophet. I love the fact that Guy is blogging. His writing lends itself very well to the medium and he said so himself that he’s really pleased with the interaction he’s been getting and devotes a couple of hours each day to his posts.

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One slide that got some laughs was his section in which he stressed the importance of not listening to bozos picking out some choice quotes from folks that clearly didn’t have their eye on the ball.

I think there’s a world market for maybe five computers.

– Thomas Watson, Chairman IBM, 1943

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 internal memo (1876)

There is no reason why anyone would want a computer in their home.

– Ken Olsen, Founder Digital Equipment Corporation, 1977

Yes, we’ve all heard the Tom Watson quote to which Guy admits (as do I) that we have five computers in our house. If Western Union was keeping up with the times, they should own the market that PayPal is in and poor Ken Olsen must feel like he missed the boat thinking that innovation stopped with the invention of the mini-computer. There comes a time in every entrepreneur’s life when they just want to kick back and coast as did Guy when asked by the VCs that backed Yahoo if he would like to interview for the CEO position back in the late-90’s

It’s too far to drive and I can’t see how it can be a business.

– Guy Kawasaki

Many innovators rest on their laurels and think their mountain was the last great mountain to climb. Perhaps it just takes too much energy to manage an existing business and that they are too fat and happy to realize that another wave is about to hit them upside the head. Always be hungry because the next great thing is going to be around the corner where you least expect it. If you don’t move quickly enough, your competition will. Most importantly, listen closely to your customers because they are the ones that are going to tell you where to look next. I do believe that we are going through one of these disruptive times today where old business models are being torn down and new ones created. There will be lots of opportunity for disruptive innovation ahead so keep your ears to the ground!

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