Wednesday, September 16, 2009

What can you get out of Guy Kawasaki?

Ten years ago I asked myself that question, when I went to his's Bootcamp for Startups in Boston. All I remember was his pitch on the elevator pitch. Today, Guy Kawasaki is in Hong Kong and I joined a breakfast talk with him in the Boardroom of the Hong Kong General Chamber of Commerce.

He talked about Twitter, using his experience with his company Alltop. It was probably a great pep talk for those who have heard of Twitter, but never used it. And there are just many of these kinds in the room -- the middle-aged business type always thinking how they can use the Internet for advertising, this and that. Guy admits that maybe different people would use Twitter in different ways, but really he was just pitching his way. Which is fine, but I really want to add, like anything else Web 2.0, please use it and experiment yourself, and that will be worth lots, lots more than you would get out of hearing or reading from gurus.

What I am more impressed with Guy is, how did he get to where he is and stays there, that is, being an "evangelist" of "new things." Honestly, Guy never impresses me as a visionary, but he tells you how to do some things in his ways. I think choosing the right audience, or target market, has a lot to do with it. Even if it only works for the novice, fine, stick with it. How much better would it be to keep talking to businesss people curious about social media but will never get around to have the guts (or, ok, time) to try it? That's what you can call recurrent business.

Guy also struck me as someone who holds a very classic Californian (not to mention U.S. centric) view of the Internet or social media. Or maybe, to be fair, he just did not have the time to go into other things today. But what I really wanted to ask him, but did not have time, was what he thinks about U.S. based social media facing the blockage of China's Great Fire Wall, and government-endorsed copycats in China. From a U.S. entrepreneur or VC's point of view, what would be his comment? Save that and other questions of the future for the next time I see Guy, maybe in another ten years, in 2019?

Update (13:00 HKT): Guy has been kind enough to reply to my direct message to him on Twitter. A nice and very open guy I am sure. I am sure he will give a great talk tonight at Web Wednesday and dive deeper into his views on Twitter and other things.


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