Skip to main content
HomePodcastsData Science

Becoming Remarkable with Guy Kawasaki, Author and Chief Evangelist at Canva

Richie and Guy explore the concept of being remarkable, growth, grit and grace, the importance of experiential learning, imposter syndrome, finding your passion, how to network and find remarkable people, measuring success through benevolent impact and much more. 
Feb 2024

Photo of Guy Kawasaki
Guest
Guy Kawasaki

Guy Kawasaki is the chief evangelist of Canva and the creator of Guy Kawasaki’s Remarkable People podcast. He is an executive fellow of the Haas School of Business (UC Berkeley), and adjunct professor of the University of New South Wales. He was the chief evangelist of Apple and a trustee of the Wikimedia Foundation. He has written Wise Guy, The Art of the Start 2.0, The Art of Social Media, Enchantment, and eleven other books. Kawasaki has a BA from Stanford University, an MBA from UCLA, and an honorary doctorate from Babson College.


Photo of Richie Cotton
Host
Richie Cotton

Richie helps individuals and organizations get better at using data and AI. He's been a data scientist since before it was called data science, and has written two books and created many DataCamp courses on the subject. He is a host of the DataFramed podcast, and runs DataCamp's webinar program.

Key Quotes

I can't imagine Steve Jobs woke up one day and said, you know what, I'm gonna position myself as a thought leader and a visionary, and what do I need to do? I think that remarkable people, they wake up in the morning and they say, I'm gonna help educate people, I'm going to help make people more creative or more productive, or I'm gonna end plastic pollution, or I'm gonna create a beautiful work of art. And if you do that, then I think the people around you will have no choice but to consider that you are remarkable.

Vulnerability comes from a Latin word, vulnus, which means wound. So to be vulnerable, you have to be willing to risk wounds. And so one way to embrace vulnerability is to understand that and brace yourself for that. Don't be surprised when bad stuff happens. It's going to happen. So psychologically brace yourself. And the second thing is, think it through. Make yourself vulnerable by trying to learn a new skill. You’ll make a total ass of yourself because you're not good at it when you start. You're making yourself vulnerable, right? You're going to make a fool of yourself. But then you need to think it through. So, what's the worst outcome? Let’s say you're really great at physics. You decide to take up art, and your paintings suck. You're vulnerable. Okay, so what? What's gonna happen now? In my case, I took up surfing, yI made myself vulnerable. What's the worst gonna happen? You keep falling off your board. So what?

Nobody notices, even if they notice, they don't care. So you just need to prepare. And then you can also look at the upside of vulnerability and failure, because by failing, you're learning.

Key Takeaways

1

Embrace a growth mindset to continuously evolve your skills and adapt to the ever-changing landscape of AI and data science. This mindset allows for the pursuit of learning and improvement even in areas outside your current expertise.

2

Recognize the importance of grit in achieving long-term success. Persistence and resilience are crucial when facing the inevitable challenges and setbacks in AI and data projects.

3

Value the process of giving back and sharing knowledge within the AI/data community. As you achieve success, consider how you can contribute to others' growth.

Links From The Show

Transcript

Richie Cotton: Welcome to DataFramed. This is Richie. One of the joys of hosting this podcast is that I regularly get to chat with people who are doing remarkable things. I take great joy in finding out about the exciting work that my guests are undertaking. Today I'm speaking to someone who shares this sentiment.

Guy Kawasaki is the host of the Remarkable People podcast, where he spends his time interviewing people who match that description. After doing a few hundred interviews, He started seeing patterns in his guests and he's distilled the principles of how to be remarkable into a framework. His framework for becoming remarkable is based on three principles, growth, grit, and grace, and the full details are available in his new book, Think Remarkable, written alongside Madison Nwizma.

Guy is himself remarkable. He's the chief evangelist at Canva, the makers of the design platform of the same name. He's also an adjunct professor at the University of New South Wales. and an executive fellow at the Haas School of Business. He was an early employee of Apple, and then later their chief evangelist.

He started two businesses, written fifteen books, and been on the Wikipedia board of trustees. And on top of this, he somehow got a cushy job as the Mercedes Benz brand ambassador being paid to drive a Mercedes everywhere. So, if anyone can figure out the secret to being remarkable, it's Guy. Let's hear his advice.

For those of you with sensitive ears, please note that there is a small amount of profan... See more

ity in this episode. This is mostly a reflection of Guy's enthusiasm, so I feel that it would do a disservice to him and to you to remove those sections. Please just be mindful of any small children listening in the background.

Hi, Guy. Thank you for coming on the show.

Guy Kawasaki: Hey, no better thing to do than record a podcast with you today? Although. Although, after I finish this, I'm going surfing.

Richie Cotton: Okay, so maybe the second most fun thing you're going to do today, hopefully.

Guy Kawasaki: Yeah.

Richie Cotton: So, I'd like to ask you what do you think it means to you for people to be remarkable?

Guy Kawasaki: What it means to me is that you have made a difference in the world. That is, you have contributed to society. And there are many ways to contribute. I don't want people to think that you have to be Steve Jobs or Jane Goodall. Both remarkable people. You can change and make a difference for one person, one classroom, one team, one company.

It could even be yourself and you could create artistic works that. You know, it's a painting that is appreciated by many people, but not everybody has to be Mother Teresa to be remarkable. my podcast is called Remarkable People. It's not called Rich People and it's not called Famous People.

And my book is called Think Remarkable, not Think Rich and not Think Fame. So to me, the test is that, well, I think as I look back on my career. There've been roughly three stages. So stage one is, you're underpaid. Stage two is you're overpaid and stage three is you pay back. And I think remarkable people hit stage three.

They realize it's no longer about them and not about their fame and fortune and all that. It's basically, how do you want to be remembered as someone who created? A billion dollar company or someone who made the world a better place.

Richie Cotton: Absolutely. And yeah, a lot of people do get focused on seeking fame and fortune and going beyond that seems like a good thing to do.

Guy Kawasaki: If I can interject a thought here, which you just triggered, which is I've interviewed about 200 remarkable people. I do not believe that the way it works is one day you get up and you say, you know what? I'm going to be remarkable from now on. I'm going to position myself as a thought leader, as a visionary.

I'm going to write a book. I'm going to make speeches, you know, from now on, I'm going to make people think I'm remarkable. I think the way you become remarkable is you do something good. You make a difference. It could be a personal computer. It could be, ending pollution in a local river in your, your home, not in your home, but you know, at your house, not at your house, but you know what I'm saying.

And, And so, you know, I can't imagine Steve Jobs woke up one day and say, you know what, I'm going to position myself as a thought leader and a visionary. And what do I need to do? I think that remarkable people, they wake up in the morning and they say. I'm going to help educate people. I'm going to help make people more creative or more productive, or I'm going to end plastic pollution or, I'm going to create a beautiful work of art.

And if you do that, then I think the people around you will have no choice but to consider that you are remarkable. So the sequence is not chicken or egg. There's a definite sequence. You make a difference. You do something great. People will think you're remarkable. It's not because you decided to be remarkable one day.

Richie Cotton: Okay. Yeah. So, somehow he's going to figure out how to achieve it. And I like that your book has a framework for getting to remarkableness. So you've got these three ideas in there. So it's growth and grit and grace. Can you tell me how you arrived at those three things and how they make you remarkable?

Guy Kawasaki: Uh, I'm going to have to take you into the kitchen to show you how how the sausage is made. So, some of it is just the realization after doing all these interviews that all these remarkable people, they grew, you're not born naturally a Jane Goodall or a Steve Jobs.

I think you acquire skills and interests and passions and, you know, you gain perspective, you grow, duh. But all of that growth doesn't come without grit. You have to work hard. And then the third stage, as I said, is that once you have achieved success, and once you have made a difference, I think people realize that the next stage is giving back, and that's grace.

So that's the philosophical level. At a more tactical level, I love tricolins, I came, I saw, I conquered, right? I love tricolins and I love alliteration. So I think it is an act of genius that I found not only a tricolin, but alliteration that fit what I wanted to say. Growth, grit, and grace. Three words, all beginning with GR, all single syllable, man, right there, you should buy the book.

Richie Cotton: It's a perfect slogan, really. I pity the translators though, who changed the book into different languages. It's going to be, it's going to be tricky. All right, so maybe we'll dive into growth a bit. So, you talked about how remarkable people, they're not born that way, they have to grow into it. So can you talk about, like, what's this sort of I think in your book you mentioned a growth mindset to get there. So what's this growth mindset?

Guy Kawasaki: so first of all, let's give fair recognition of the mother of the growth mindset. And that would be Carol Dweck, a professor at Stanford. And basically her thesis was or is that, there are people who have a fixed mindset and there are people who have a growth mindset and a fixed mindset means you, you are you what you are, you believe what you are, you can never be more.

You could also never be less, but are a snapshot in time that's unchanging. A growth mindset means that, yes, I mean, maybe you're an accomplished student, but now you want to take up surfing. Or maybe you're good in physics, but you never tried art. And it's the belief that, yes, I can try new things and I can grow.

And I don't know how you could be remarkable. Without a growth mindset. I mean, I suppose the theoretically you could be like this absolutely talented, genius, gifted prodigy. So you started off with so much talent that you didn't have to grow. I interviewed several prodigies in my podcast and they worked their ass off.

They grew, you know, you don't wake up. One day at five years old and say, okay, I'm going to do Beethoven's fifth today.

Richie Cotton: Yeah, I feel like they the sort of Hollywood idea of some kind of genius who can do anything. It's like, no, they're working hard behind the scenes. So actually, I spend quite a lot of my time trying to persuade people, I think, to take up. Data skills and learn new things. And one of the biggest pushbacks I get is from older people who were like, Well, you know, I'm sort of too old to learn new skills.

Do you have any advice for those people?

Guy Kawasaki: uh, That just makes me sad because I took up ice hockey at the age of 44, having never skated because I'm from Hawaii and yeah, there's not a lot of pond hockey in Hawaii. The closest thing I came to. Hockey in Hawaii as a kid was probably eating shaved ice. So I took up hockey at 44 and I loved it.

I took it up because of my kids. And then when I was about 60, my daughter took up surfing. So I decided to take up surfing now. Under ideal conditions in Canada, you would start playing hockey at five, right? Under ideal conditions in Hawaii, you would start surfing at five. So, I was roughly 39 years behind the curve in hockey and roughly 55 years behind the curve in surfing.

I gotta tell you, to this day, I meet people who are like 30, 35, 40, and I tell them how much I love surfing and they say, yeah, you know, I'm too old to learn how to surf, I'm 35. And I say to them, this is what I want you to think of, you're 35, imagine if 25 years from now, you start surfing. That's what I did.

So don't give me any bullshit about you're too old to learn how to surf. We're talking about two athletic things. But I think that applies, you know, at 60, could you take up the piano? Why not? Right? At 60, painting. At 60, you write your first book. At 60, you become a podcaster. Why not? I mean. And the people today, the Gen Z who are 20, they're going to live till they're 90.

They got 70 years to do stuff.

Richie Cotton: Yeah, plenty of time for learning new skills. That's brilliant. And do you think because it seems like to be remarkable, you sort of got to be in this for the long haul of it. And so, and I would like when you do exercise programs, it works better if you have like a buddy to keep you on track.

Have you seen any effects of like social reinforcement to help you become remarkable?

Guy Kawasaki: Well, I have a whole section because I was inspired by Katie Milkman. And she is a behaviorist and social psychology. And she talks about how you, you know, get rid of bad habits and create good habits. And a lot of it are, are little tricks like that, that Okay, I don't know where you are politically, but I will now give you no doubt where I stand politically.

on January 1st, 2024, I stepped on the scale and I was 203 and a half pounds. And I decided for surfing, it'd be a lot better if I was 185 pounds, because if you lose 20 pounds, that's just that much less you have to paddle and pop up every time. And let's say in a session, you pop up maybe 20 times.

So 20 times 20 is 400 pounds. That's a lot of difference. So I decided on January 1st, 2024. I was going to be 185 by June 1st, which is my son's graduation. Now, a lot of people make a new year's resolution like this. So Katie has two ideas. One is you publicly announced this goal. So now thousands of your listeners will know that guy said he's going to be 185 on June 1st.

And I know thousands of people have heard that, so I know people are going to come up to me and say, God, did you reach your goal? So that motivates me to reach my goal because I made a public social declaration. The second mechanism that Katie talks about is to tie failure With a really heinous negative effect.

All right. So this would be if I don't lose this weight by June 1st, I'm going to do something that I hate so much that I will not let me fail. And in my case, I told Katie on June 1st. 2024, if I'm not 185, I'm going to donate 750 to the Trump campaign. And there is nothing I would hate to do more than support Donald Trump.

So I can pretty much guarantee you, I will be 185 on June 1st. So that's, you know, now, I mean, I'm talking about weight loss, but those are the kinds of things you do a public declaration. A bet that if you don't do it, you do something you really don't want to do. Also, there's the concept of tiny habits.

And tiny habits are things like I wear contacts. So let's say, I decide that as soon as I take my contact lenses out at night, I will no longer look at my phone. Or another tiny habit is, listen, I love to take showers. I love hot showers. Don't tell all the people trying to conserve water this.

But anyway, I love hot showers. So I have created this new tiny habit that I force myself to weigh myself in the morning before I can take a long hot shower. So I'm, created this tiny little habit. it's those kind of little psychological behavioral tricks that can help you become a growth mindset person and become, you know, achieve new skills.

Richie Cotton: I like the idea of just building in like very small changes into your behavior, but doing lots of them and building it into your routine. So just on that note, it seems like once you build up these habits and once you try new things, something's going to go wrong. And do you have any advice on dealing with setbacks?

Guy Kawasaki: This is, I have a section of this it's, it's talking about embracing vulnerability and vulnerability comes from a Latin word, vulnus, which means wound. So you have to be willing to risk wounds. And so one way to embrace vulnerability is to understand and brace yourself that. You know, don't be surprised when bad stuff happens.

It's going to happen. So you psychologically brace for your, brace yourself. And the second thing is like, you know, think it through. So you make yourself vulnerable by trying to learn a new skill. You make a total ass of yourself because you're not good at it when you start. You're making yourself vulnerable, right?

You're going to make a fool of yourself. But then you need to think through, so what's the worst outcome? you're really great in physics, you decide to take up art, and your paintings suck. You're vulnerable. Okay, so what? What's gonna happen now, right? In my case, you take up surfing, you make yourself vulnerable.

What's the worst going to happen? You keep falling off your board. So what? I mean, nobody notices. Even if they notice, they don't care. So, you just need to prepare. And then, you can also look at the upside of vulnerability and failure because by failing, you're learning. And, you know, imagine if In a magical world.

Don't get me wrong. I wish this was true. Imagine if the first time I went surfing, I became an excellent surfer. Just imagine, because it didn't happen, but just imagine, you know, I might argue that's the end of your learning, right? Which means you'll never get better.

Richie Cotton: Yeah, if you're really good at something straight away, it probably means that the task is too easy and maybe not as exciting or rewarding as If you have had to struggle to get better.

Guy Kawasaki: Yeah.

Richie Cotton: okay, so I'd actually like to talk about my favorite quote from your book. So let me just check I've got this right.

You said, every time I hear a thought leader, guru, or expert advise people to find

Guy Kawasaki: oh. I know what's

Richie Cotton: I throw up a little. Can you just tell me what you meant by that?

Guy Kawasaki: Well, I think that People throw around the P word much too loosely. And in particular, I think it's given young people a very unfortunate mindset. And the mindset is, Oh my God, I need to find my passion. I'm 18 years old. I still don't have my passion identified. But one thing, how am I going to write an essay for college?

And, you know, you look around and you're, you know, your friend is. a passionate figure skater and another one is a passionate physics major and another one is a passionate surfer, but you are just like mediocre, middle of the road, not trying anything. And you say, holy shit, I'm 18. I'm falling behind.

All these people are passionate and have the founder calling. I think that's done a major disservice because it may take decades to find your passion. You may never find your passion, but it's, I guarantee you, you're not going to find it at, well, I can't guarantee you, but I am highly doubtful that you're going to find your life calling before you're 20.

Now, Jane Goodall did, but I think she's the exception. so instead of the using the word passion, which it's almost like saying, but you're 18 years old, you haven't found the perfect man or woman to spend the rest of the life with. What's wrong with you? Because you're looking for passion. I think the better word is interests.

So you should pursue a lot of interests. Maybe you're interested in the viola, maybe surfing, maybe kiteboarding, maybe soccer. Yeah, maybe photography, maybe art. And so you, you scratch that itch and I think you need to do a lot of sampling and scratching a lot of itches. And then one of those itches or several of those itches over your lifetime will turn into a passion.

I don't think you should have this mindset that, Oh my God, the clock is ticking. I need to find my passion. Just chillax. And you know, when you find things interesting, just pursue them until you decide that they're no longer interesting or, you know, whatever. I don't mind giving things up. you gotta drill a lot of holes to find your life calling.

Richie Cotton: Okay, yeah, so just stay interested in a lot of things, try new things, and see where it leads you. I think that seems like a A much more sensible approach than just being stuck to. Okay, this is my official passion. I'm not moving on to anything. Okay. So, one important point I think you make in your book is that in order to be remarkable, you need to meet other remarkable people.

So do you have any advice for how you go about networking and finding these other remarkable people?

Guy Kawasaki: Well, I think a lot of it is just opening yourself up and getting out there, right? You're not just in a dark room playing playing, you know, I don't know, Minecraft all day. Although you could probably meet remarkable people on Minecraft. So you got to expose yourself. You got to get out, take different courses, go to events.

try to increase the diversity of people that you meet and see and take subjects. I don't care if you take them pass, fail. Again, it's like more sampling. You've got to force yourself to sample.

Richie Cotton: Okay, so again, try new things. Actually, one thing I would say I have a problem with is that there are too many interesting different things to to learn about, to experience and I tend to go in lots of different directions. So, do you have any advice on, how you decide which direction you're going to grow in or laughs

Guy Kawasaki: an interest that becomes a passion, you will not be asking the question. You will just do it. And in a sense I don't know if this is true for everybody, but you know, when you start dating, you often ask your friends, well, what do you think of him? What do you think of her? Do you think I should go out?

I think we should move in together or whatever, right? When you at least think you found the right one, you don't ask anybody, you just do it. I think the same is true with interests. I didn't ask anybody, like my passion is for podcasting. It's not like I asked people, I think I should get into podcasting.

I mean, in fact, I would argue that when you either don't ask others, or if by chance you do ask others and they tell you not to do it and you still do it. Now, you know, you're on to something. And a lot of people say, well, the way to find your passion is you draw three circles. One is what are you good at?

Second is what do you like to do? Third is what can you make money at? And when you find the intersection of those three circles, that's your passion. I think that is bad thinking. I think a better test is when you find yourself loving to do something that you're not good at. And you cannot make money at, that's your passion. And that describes surfing for me. I'm not good at it. I cannot make money at it. I still do it every day.

Richie Cotton: Nice okay. So explore things you're not gonna can't make money after Nice life advice. All right, so, in your book, like in the grit section, you start talking about how in order to get started on your sort of path to remarkableness, like one of the important things is trying to find ways to alleviate pain.

Can you just tell me maybe some examples of this?

Guy Kawasaki: In Silicon Valley, we have this dichotomy of types of companies. So one kind of company alleviates pain. The pain could be it's such a pain in the ass to update software. people send out thousands of CD ROMs or DVDs or, you know, whatever. physical manuals, and you got to go on site and upgrade the computer, and that's a pain.

And Mark Benioff solved that pain with Salesforce, So that's, it's online updates, online access, you know, cloud based life. No more packages of software and upgrades. Now, the other kind of product is not. a painkiller. It is a vitamin. It is a supplement. You take this supplement, you'll be cuter, you'll be skinnier, you'll be sexier, you'll be happier.

It's going to make your life better because of our magical ingredients. And I will tell you that if any of you are migraine headache sufferers, you understand that when you have a migraine headache and it feels like somebody's pounding a nail in your head, you will pay almost anything to end the migraine.

That's a painkiller. On the other hand, if you're a migraine sufferer and you're thinking, oh, I could be happier if I take my B1 supplement, let me tell you something, I guarantee you, you're more willing to pay for Maxalt to address your migraine headache than B1. to make you happier. I guarantee you. So what I'm trying to tell you to do is find ways to alleviate people's pain and that is a rich vein for being remarkable.

Richie Cotton: Okay, yeah, so I Just talking about those migraines makes me think that sounds absolutely horrible. So, yeah, I can certainly see how just alleviating people's pain. That's really gonna motivate people to, take whatever you're selling just in order to get rid of that headache. Okay. So, you also talk a lot about the innovators dilemma in your book and about how sometimes companies ignored new innovations because it conflicts with their existing

Guy Kawasaki: Yes. Yes.

Richie Cotton: When should companies think about like trying to adopt new innovations? How do you know what's a genuine innovation and what's just hype?

Guy Kawasaki: Well, they should be thinking every day. This is A subject in which it is much easier to be the podcast guest or author than it is to be the person who actually has to do it. Okay, so with that caveat, because if you're actually the person who has to do it, you're thinking about, well, especially if you're a publicly traded company.

Oh my God, in 89 days, we got to report growth, right? So we need to cut costs, we need to boost our sales, and we need to get our warehouses empty of all the stuff that we have. That's not exactly conducive to innovation, because it's unlikely that in 89 days, you're going to innovate and have a product ready to ship and increase revenue.

Therein lies the problem. And yet, I think you know, or people know that at the back of their minds, if they only keep thinking 89 days out, someday, they'll be wiped out. And I think a great example of this is Kodak, because Kodak was probably very good at putting chemicals on film and chemicals on paper.

And the irony is that in 1975, an engineer at Kodak invented digital photography. But obviously, Kodak didn't exactly embrace that. Now, you could say, well, to be fair, that first camera he invented was 20 pounds and 100 pixels and not portable, not anything. So yeah, it's unfair to say we didn't embrace digital photography.

On the other hand, 2024, the sensor we have in our phones and certainly dedicated cameras have made film obsolete and made Kodak obsolete. Now, Kodak still exists and they're trying to do cute things, but it's not the same Kodak, right? So in a perfect world, Kodak would have worked backwards from their customer instead of forward from what they like and can do.

So instead of making film, they would have said, well, what are our customers buying our film for? Fundamentally, not to buy chemicals, but fundamentally to preserve memories. Kodak is in the business of preserving memories. Now, how do you do that? Well, sometimes it's exposing film and chemicals to light.

But there's another way we just found, which is you have a digital sensor and it records the photo. Holy cow, that's so much better. You don't have to wait two weeks for film to be developed. You can see it instantly. You know, all the advantages of digital photography. So you, if you would think that if Kodak understood that they're in the business of preserving memories, they would have said, okay, so we got this cow called film and we're going to milk that cow in order to pay for this new thing called sensors.

And so we're going to transition from film to digital. I don't think that conversation ever took place. That's the key. I mean, you've got to understand that if you're Kodak, or if you're digital equipment, or data general, or, you know, any of these big software companies and big hardware companies.

There's probably two guys or gal in a garage thinking about how to kill you, And so, you better be thinking about how to kill yourself because there's a lot of people coming for you. And, it's not as simple as, let's just Keep shipping the same old shit.

Richie Cotton: Absolutely. We should probably clarify that kill yourself in a business context. Uh, yeah. So, um, I do like the idea of being forward looking. You're always trying to innovate especially on a business level as well as a personal level. One way to, so you mentioned the idea that experiential learning is incredibly important for this.

Can you just tell me a bit about what is experiential learning and why it's important?

Guy Kawasaki: Well, I think that you know, learning can be roughly divided into sort of book learning or even online learning and experiential learning, which is doing, and I listen, I cannot say you can only do experiential learning. But I also cannot say you can only do book learning. There needs to be a combination to see how you truly apply what you've learned.

hence the beauty of internship programs. listen, we'll use an MBA as an example. Let's say you're at Harvard. and you're in the Harvard MBA program and your idea of stress is you have to read 400 pages about this case about the Acme Manufacturing Company or okay, let's say the case is Kodak.

So there's 400 pages of Kodak, you know, how they were doing in film, what happened to the engineer that invented a digital camera, all the factors that made it hard to commercialize a digital camera, blah, blah, blah, 400 pages, right? And so now, you're sitting in Cambridge, Massachusetts, and the professor calls on you, and you say, well, of course, Kodak lost sight of what they provide.

They're in the business of preserving memories, so they should have embraced the digital photography curve and used the film curve to pay for that. Transition and you get an A in Harvard case study, right? Well, pal, let me tell you something. If you're the CEO of Kodak and you're publicly traded in 89 days from now, you got to show that you made a lot of money.

It's not as simple as sitting in Harvard Business School on a chair. you know, with VisiCalc or Lotus 1, 2, 3, or Excel, and, your idea of entrepreneurship and business is that. The analysis and the idea is the hard part. The easy part is implementation. And then you go out into the real world and you discover that, the good idea ain't so hard.

We got to embrace new technology called digital photography. The implementation is very hard. How do you make it small enough? cheap enough? How do you get these sensors made? How do you get people to embrace something completely new? who's going to make the memory cards? there's a million questions to answer.

So good ideas are easy. Implementation is hard. You know, let's make an electric car. How hard could that be? Right? Yeah. Okay. Well, let's get the superstructure going. How hard could that be? We'll just convert service stations to charging stations. Well, guess what? It ain't that easy.

Richie Cotton: Absolutely. I have to say, I quite often come up with ideas. I'm like, yeah, this sounds simple. And then you actually go and do it and it's like, okay, yeah, maybe I under thought this a bit. Okay. So, one way of making sure you actually achieve things is to set goals. And so do you have any advice on what makes a good goal?

Guy Kawasaki: I wish I could tell you that I'm one of these goal setting, list driven people. I'm not. I do believe that a quantifiable goal is better. Because like I'm either going to be 185 pounds on June 1st or I'm not. That's very different than saying my goal is to be lighter because if my goal was to be lighter, I've already achieved that I'm 199 today.

So I think quantifiable I want to make sure that my goals are relevant, that there's a relationship with. what you're trying to achieve and that it can make your life better. So, God forbid, if I'm on June 1st, 185 pounds and I cannot pop up and stand on my surfboard any better, then I've been worshipping a false goal as opposed to a false God.

So, I think those are the kinds of things and then, you know, breaking a goal into tinier steps and tiny habits, right? So, step one is, You gotta get a scale. Step two, you gotta pair the scale to your smartphone app. Step three you should probably communicate to people that you know, help me with my self discipline.

Don't bring home apple pies every day. I mean, these are like little things, right? But they all add up.

Richie Cotton: Absolutely. You're probably going to get a donation of cakes from the Trump campaign. All right. So, I think you got through all the easy bits getting set up. But then getting to the changing habits and staying engaged. That's maybe the tricky part. So I know you talked a bit about this before, but do you have any more advice on like how you keep that engagement to reach your goals?

Guy Kawasaki: Again. This is a question where it's easier for the guest and writer to come up with these great sweeping statements than it is to actually do, right? I wish I had the magic formula, check with me on June 1st, but I wish I had the magic formula, but some of it is just pure grit. You just have to stick with it.

And you know, I have come to the conclusion that. As they say, you know, much of success is just showing up. You'd be amazed at how many people just don't show up day after day. And you would think, well, you know, I don't need to get a study from McKinsey or go to Harvard business school for that. Just keep showing up.

Richie Cotton: Okay. I like that. That's, That's how you win. You just keep going. All right. So one thing that I found mildly terrifying when I read your book is that you said it's incompatible for being remarkable and also having a work life balance. So, what's the problem here, and what's the alternative?

Guy Kawasaki: So this is where we're going to lose all the potential customers on this podcast. I think that this mythical work life balance where you thread the needle and, you know, half of your life is work and half of your life is pleasure I think that like the passion test is not that useful or constructive.

Because, first of all, it implies that's possible. And I will tell you, I think it's very difficult to achieve work life balance. And if you get it in your brain that you're failing unless you have work life balance, you're gonna go into a deep funk. And I would make the case that during various stages in your life, You're just not going to have work life balance, like just, you know, go tell my grandfather who came from Japan to pick sugarcane.

Grandpa, you need a work life balance, you know, yeah. Work 12 hours in the sun harboring sugarcane and then come home and have a balance, you know, like grandpa. Grandpa was just gritting it out, right? He was sacrificing for son and me, grandson. And so don't set yourself up for disappointment by thinking that there's this magical work life balance.

Sometimes in your life, you're going to be working more than you're going to be having fun. If you're an entrepreneur, for sure, you're going to have to sacrifice. If everybody could have work life balance and be a billionaire, believe me, there would be more billionaires in this world. And so. I don't know.

This is a little bit of tough love, which is, you know what? You got to work your ass off. There are going to be times that you work 60, 70 hours a week and you're not loving it and that's the price you have to pay. And I think it would be misleading for me to tell you that yes, you can have a balance in your life and be remarkable.

I'm not saying that being remarkable is a horrible, heinous process because when you have found your passion or the Japanese say, Ikigai, when you have found your Ikigai or Mark Manson, even better, he told me, you know what guy, he's the author of the subtle art of not giving a, you know what? And so he said, you know, guy, you know, you have discovered your passion and your life calling when you are doing the shit work that that involves, but you enjoy it.

So if you're a podcaster listening to this and you spend hours editing the raw recording to get it to the point you want with the music and, you know, taking out all the filler words and all that, if you spend five hours on a one hour recording and you tell people that, and you're saying, what the hell, why would you spend five hours doing that?

Just play the raw recording. Nobody's going to notice. Well, when you find yourself doing the shit work, if you wrote a book and you find yourself spending hours and hours editing and re editing and re editing, you're doing the shit work. But you love the shit work. That's when you know you found your passion.

When you love the shit work that it involves. If you're a chef, and I don't know, I'm not a chef, but there's gotta be a lot of shit work in, in a prepping all the vegetables and all that kind of stuff. Not all of it is the glory of working in a five star restaurant and people worshiping you.

There's a lot of crap you put up in the restaurant business, I would think. But if you love to cook, you love to cook, you don't mind. I hate to cook. I don't want to cut vegetables.

Richie Cotton: Okay, yeah, so, I'm madly disappointed that work life balance dream that's getting even further away. But, I do agree with the idea that yeah, sometimes life is hard, you've just gotta knuckle down.

Guy Kawasaki: How about this? I can make the case that as you look back on your life, I think the work and the pleasure will balance out. But at any given moment, when you are 20, 21, we say 20 to 35, you're going to work your ass off by the time you're 60. In my case, 69. I got a shit load of work life balance. In fact, I got more balanced than work.

So, you know, it evens out. I worked my ass off in my twenties and thirties and now in my fifties and sixties, I surf every day. I mean, I will also tell you, maybe, if I had discovered surfing earlier, like in my 20s, and I said, Oh, guy, you're going to have work life balance. You're going to work 40 hours and you're going to surf every day.

I probably would not be on your podcast. You would not be interested in my story.

Richie Cotton: Okay, that's fair. Maybe we'll get some surfers on the show one day. Alright, so, one thing you talk about is imposter syndrome, and this seems very common for people working in data. So, do you have any advice on how to deal with this?

Guy Kawasaki: The imposter syndrome. Is this feeling that when you get a promotion, or when you're in a certain place, or you know, you get appointed to something, or you get a raise, or something, you have a fear that you don't really deserve things, and someday you'll be exposed as a fraud. And in particular, women have this.

I can't tell you I've ever met a man who believed He had imposter syndrome. If anything, men believe that they should get even more. Now, this is not because they are not imposters. They just have flawed thinking. Okay, there's a difference. Now, the way you get past an imposter syndrome is, first of all, You need to understand that this is a psychological phenomenon.

That you're not the only person who thinks that you don't deserve something. Lots of people think that. I would argue that if you don't ever think you have imposter syndrome, you might be a psychopath. I'll tell you what, here's a good test. How many of you believe that Donald Trump has imposter syndrome?

Do you think at any moment he said to himself, I don't deserve to be president. I'm going to be found out to be a fraud. So, he does not have imposter syndrome. If that's what you want to be, God bless you. So, I would make the case that first, understand there's such a label. There is a thing, it's a phenomenon.

This is not unique to you. That's number one. Number two is review your accomplishments. maybe look back and say, okay, so this is what I accomplished. This is what I did. These were my results. Maybe I'm not an imposter. Maybe I'm for real. And then, you know, surround yourself with people who are supportive that remind you of your accomplishments.

Now, this often leads to discussion of this concept of fake it till you make it. And I will tell you that I think that concept is massively misinterpreted many people believe that fake it till you make it means that. You lie, And fake it till you make it is more about doing things and trying things that make you vulnerable and make you grow.

And when you make it and you grow, then you don't need to fake it anymore. So people should not do, I'll give you an extreme example. You could say, well, Elizabeth Holmes was telling people that one drop of blood We can do diagnostics to tell, you know, everything that's wrong with you, right? Terranos.

And people say, well, it wasn't really true, but it's okay. She was faking it until she could make it. That is until it was true that one drop of blood could do that. But that's not faking it before you make it that's out and out lying. And what's really bad about tyrannosis. Well, you know, okay. So, 400 million or whatever was lost.

No, I gotta tell you, you know, like I don't have a lot of. Empathy and sympathy for venture capitalists and private equity people who lost money with Terranos. I have empathy and sympathy for a lot of people, but not venture capitalists. Let's just say they can stand on their own. But she was old school risking people's lives.

And that is just unacceptable. So fake it till you make it is about trying to do things and Dealing with the vulnerability is not about fundamentally lying.

Richie Cotton: Okay, so, really Getting over this imposter syndrome, you've got to have that confidence. You've got to use the data from your successes to realize that you're actually worthwhile. I like that. And so as well, we talk a lot about individuals becoming remarkable. So actually a lot of our listeners, they're also managers.

So I'm wondering what advice do you have for managers to help your employees thrive and become remarkable?

Guy Kawasaki: Well, so thought number one is, a manager to be a good manager should always hire people who are better than himself or herself. You should look around your staff and say, wow, everybody here can do their job better than I can. That should be a source of pride. Unremarkable managers look around and say, I'm better than every one of these clowns in what they do.

That is a recipe for success and mediocrity. So that's number one. Number two is you have to create a good situation. A good situation means that, you know, you encourage people to grow. You encourage people to failure and vulnerability that you let people face challenges. And these kinds of things.

And then the other thing is, I think you have to embrace diversity. Not everybody's going to look like you. Not everybody is a trust fund, baby. Not everybody went to Yale. Not everybody had a summer internship at McKinsey and their first job was Goldman Sachs. That, you know, you need people of different gender, sexual orientation, religion, skin color.

I mean, you name it. Listen, I'm a big believer in diversity programs. I could never be elected president, but I, it would be hypocritical of me to not support diversity in the workplace because as an Asian American, I know that, like, for example, when I got into Stanford in 1972, it's because in 1972, being Asian American meant you were a minority.

I'm sure that the identical person who was pure white as me might not have got in. I got in because back then, Japanese American, you're a minority. So now, decades later, I can't exactly say, well, you should not have diversity programs. Everything should be equal and colorblind and you know, all this kind of stuff.

But it would be bullshit, and I'm many things, but I'm not a bullshitter. So like, to me, as an Asian American, I benefited from those diversity programs. And now, I don't need that anymore. I was a beneficiary of it. And it helped me. And so now what I have to do is grace, which is help others, not myself anymore, help others, so help these other people with different backgrounds, get into Stanford and get jobs.

That's my goal.

Richie Cotton: I love that. So you're moving on just helping yourself to helping other people. And that's one of the last steps towards

Guy Kawasaki: that's called growing up.

Richie Cotton: Nice. So one thing you mentioned there we were talking about In the workplace, managers ought to provide incentives to help people to encourage them to learn and grow and things like that. Do you have any examples of this? Like, what can you do to make the environment better for people to grow themselves?

Guy Kawasaki: I think it starts not so much with compensation as much as an appreciation for great work. And listen, I'm in Silicon Valley, so again, I don't want to be accused of being a hypocrite. Don't get me wrong, options count in Silicon Valley. And when I say options, I don't mean options like, do I go right or left, up or down?

I mean options like stock options that you get for a penny and you sell for 500. That's the options I'm referring to. That's part of motivation in Silicon Valley. I think that the Key here is to appreciate growth, to appreciate how people can grow and make a difference. It starts with that. And it also, I think as a manager there's two, two sides to this coin, which is a manager should understand that the improvement of his employees or her employees.

Is a testimony to how good you are as a manager. The flip side of that, and sometimes people don't like when I say this, the job of an employee is to make your manager look good, not look bad. There may be this flawed thinking that, Oh my God, I'm going to show everybody why I'm better than my manager because they're going to fire him or her and put me in his or her place.

I have never seen that happen. So, the rising tide floats all boats. Your job is to make your manager look good. Your job is to make others look good. And if you do that well enough, The tide will rise and you will all benefit.

Richie Cotton: Absolutely. Yeah, I agree that the idea of making your boss look bad, that's not a great strategy for getting promoted. Um, Yeah. So you put in all this effort to make yourself remarkable. You've gone through your growth stages. You put in grit to get there. You're graceful to others. But how do you track your progress and how do you measure your success?

Guy Kawasaki: you got any easy questions? I think that deep down in your soul, you will know, you you will know. Well, I guess you could be someone who truly bullshits yourself, but I think you'll know, you'll know when, not necessarily because now you're worth a billion dollars. And let's say you're not worth a billion dollars, you're worth far less.

That doesn't mean you're not remarkable too. So it, everybody I think should have their individual scorecard. And some people, you know, they may look back on their lives and say, I helped my children have a better life. What's wrong with that? I would make the argument that's a better goal than being a hedge fund manager, right?

I look back on my life and I expose plagiarism in Harvard. Wow. That's what I want to stand for. I think you should look back on your life and say, how did you make a difference? And it could be to just your kids. It could be to, because you adopted kids. It could be because you coach kids or taught kids.

And it's not necessarily because, Oh, I had 10 billion under management and I was one of the most successful hedge fund and private equity, managers of all time. Although I got to say Warren Buffett is remarkable. This, all I just said does not apply to Warren Buffett.

Richie Cotton: Yeah, it's like if that's your passion, then that's your passion, go for it. Yeah. Nice. All right. To wrap up then, do you have any final advice for people wanting to become more remarkable?

Guy Kawasaki: I wish I had this magic one sentence formula, you know, think and grow rich. It really is, you know, just understand that becoming remarkable is because you made a difference. And making a difference, it is a process, not an event. It's not like one day you wake up and you've made a difference. It's really Over a lifetime, you make a difference. And I think you'll find out, as I found out by interviewing these 200 remarkable people, that it's a process.

And you're going to go growth, grit, and grace. Those are the three alliteration, tricolon, you know, best three management stages ever invented. And that's what it takes.

If you're looking for a book that promises, you know, in 60 minutes, you're going to be remarkable, you're wasting your money with my book. don't buy my book. You're going to be disappointed. This book is, it's like the four agreements only in 2024 from not somebody who's a Mayan religion, God or whatever, but this is a lot of hard work.

And I will tell you in my book, what kind of hard work and how to do most of it. But ultimately, you are the only person who can make yourself remarkable.

Richie Cotton: That's wonderful advice, Eddie, for the long haul. You've got to do this yourself. Nice. Okay thank you so much for your time. That

Guy Kawasaki: Thank you. I'm glad we finally were able to do this. Thank you so much.

Topics
Related

The Ultimate List of Data Science Podcasts to Listen to Right Now

We’ve hand-picked the ultimate list of top data science podcasts for you to gain a deeper understanding of data science and analytics. Add them to your playlist now!

Shaun Edmond

8 min

Data Science In The Trucking Industry (Transcript)

Discover how data science is being used to revolutionize the trucking industry, from A/B Testing and econometrics to machine learning and self-driving cars.
Hugo Bowne-Anderson's photo

Hugo Bowne-Anderson

48 min

Top 32 AWS Interview Questions and Answers For 2024

A complete guide to exploring the basic, intermediate, and advanced AWS interview questions, along with questions based on real-world situations. It covers all the areas, ensuring a well-rounded preparation strategy.
Zoumana Keita 's photo

Zoumana Keita

15 min

Building Data Science Teams

Drew Conway speaks with Hugo about how to build data science teams, along with the unique challenges of building data science products for industrial users. 

Hugo Bowne-Anderson's photo

Hugo Bowne-Anderson

60 min

Data Science at BuzzFeed and the Digital Media Landscape

How does data science help Buzzfeed achieve online virality? What type of mass online experiments do data scientists at BuzzFeed run for this purpose? What products do they develop to make all of this easy and intuitive for content producers? 

Avoiding Burnout for Data Professionals with Jen Fisher, Human Sustainability Leader at Deloitte

Jen and Adel cover Jen’s own personal experience with burnout, the role of a Chief Wellbeing Officer, the impact of work on our overall well-being, the patterns that lead to burnout, the future of human sustainability in the workplace and much more.
Adel Nehme's photo

Adel Nehme

44 min

See MoreSee More