Profile of Author and Meetings Industry Speaker Guy Kawasaki

June 17, 2013

Anyone even remotely interested in Digital Age marketing has most likely channeled Guy Kawasaki in one way or another. Be it Twitter, Facebook, Google+ or blogs, if it’s about modern marketing and comes across in zeros and ones, Kawasaki—the “father of evangelism marketing”—just may be working the levers on the other end.

As ubiquitous as he may be in digital media, however, Kawasaki is also a highly regarded book author and speaker.

After four years as the “chief evangelist” for Apple’s Macintosh brand, Kawasaki lead two successful technology companies and penned The Macintosh Way, a seminal book outlining the Apple management and marketing philosophy. Having insider’s knowledge of perhaps the most innovative company in history naturally led to the speaking stage.

“I didn’t plan this transition at all,” he says. “I wrote my first book, The Macintosh Way, and companies started asking me to speak to their employees about it. I had no idea that this would happen. I kept raising my prices until companies started saying ‘no,’ and the rest is history.”

Now Kawasaki lives the hectic, well-traveled life of an in-demand speaker.

“Not every week is like this, but a few weeks ago I spoke in Orlando on Tuesday, Pensacola on Wednesday, flew to Miami for seven hours on Wednesday night, flew to Bogota at 5 a.m. the next morning and spoke that afternoon, flew back to SFO the next morning, and then gave a video speech to Calgary from a hotel room in Berkeley the day after that.”

Wherever he may be speaking—whether it’s live or over the Internet via Skype or Google+ Hangouts—Kawasaki believes in giving an entertaining delivery.PageBreak

“I am a professional, so the onus is upon me to deliver a great performance under any conditions,” he says. “I once gave a speech during a migraine attack that felt like someone was pounding nails in my head. I was in such pain that I couldn’t stand up—I had to ask for a chair. But the show must go on.”

In fact, Kawasaki is so confident of his product, he’s even offered up the following wager to clients: “I have offered to speak for half my usual fee if an organization agrees to pay twice my fee if I get a standing ovation.”

This confidence—he’s a “Guy Kawasaki evangelist” now—isn’t hubris, he stresses.

“If I won a Nobel Prize or I was a former president of the U.S., then maybe it would be an honor to get me as a speaker,” he explains. “But for the foreseeable future, it’s my honor to speak and not vice versa. When you start believing an organization is lucky to have you as a speaker, you’re a loser.”

When it comes to selecting speaking clients, Kawasaki chooses not to speak for companies he considers as intentionally doing harm to society, such as cigarette manufacturers, and has three basic factors he weighs: whether he likes the organization’s product, service or cause; whether he feels a moral obligation to help an organization; or whether he can get a high fee. Having two of the factors is usually enough.

As far as social media and marketing, Kawasaki, who sends out about 20 tweets a day, believes the two are one and the same.

“Many people consider social media an experiment or special form of marketing,” he says. “Social media is core, and even synonymous, with marketing. In a few years, we’ll look back and laugh that we thought social media was something separate.”

Guy Kawasaki began working for Apple Computers in 1983, where he was “chief evangelist” of the Macintosh brand for four years. Since then, he has authored 10 books, is a widely followed new media marketing expert and popular speaker, and most recently became an advisor to Motorola for Google.

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Tyler Davidson | Editor, Vice President & Chief Content Director

Tyler Davidson has covered the travel trade for nearly 30 years. In his current role with Meetings Today, Tyler leads the editorial team on its mission to provide the best meetings content in the industry.