Idea Hunter Confidential: Guy Kawasaki
In my latest edition of Idea Hunter Confidential, I am honored to feature an interview with Guy Kawasaki. Guy is an author and speaker that I have a lot of respect for and it is great to hear more about where he hunts ideas in his career. I found his take on “actionable ideas” particularly interesting.
Guy’s new book, Enchantment, is a great resource for those looking to foster change in business and beyond. I highly recommend it.
Boynton: In terms of advancing your goals and objectives in life (e..g, your company, other projects, etc), where do you search for great ideas (websites, people, conferences, mags, etc.)? And can you describe how frequently you hunt in those places?
Kawasaki: I’m never in a “search mode.” I’m always reading stuff across a wide variety of topics in many publications, and sometimes things strike my fancy. This is very different from saying to myself, “Okay, now you’re got to read something to advance your goals and objectives by finding great ideas.”
Boynton: When you find great ideas, be they from a conversation or something you scan, what do you do with them? Do you store them? How? Do you put them into play and show them to people? How do you handle interesting ideas once you find them?
Kawasaki: I find what I consider a great idea that is actionable maybe two times a year. By actionable, I mean that there’s something for me to do. For example, I could read about a great new product, but this doesn’t mean the company wants my help. I don’t store or organize things. I make a very quick decision to take some action and move on if nothing pans out. An idea that of the caliber of “I should start a company to do this” occurs once every ten years or so.
Boynton: Can you think of a few big ideas you’ve found hunting and what they led to? How’d you find those big ideas? How’d you take them and turn them into something important to you?
Kawasaki: I was cofounder of a site called Truemors.com which enabled people to publish “true rumors.” We noticed that we got a lot of traffic from Popurls.com, so I checked out that site. It aggregated the RSS feeds of tech news. I asked the founder of Popurls, Thomas Marban, why he didn’t do more topics like food and travel, and he told me he wasn’t interested in creating more forms for Popurls. That was the genesis for creating Alltop.com which contains RSS feeds from “all the topics.”
Guy Kawasaki is the author of Enchantment: The Art of Changing Hearts, Minds, and Actions. He is also the co-founder of Alltop.com, an “online magazine rack” of popular topics on the web, and a founding partner at Garage Technology Ventures. Previously, he was the chief evangelist of Apple. Kawasaki is the author of nine other books including Reality Check, The Art of the Start, Rules for Revolutionaries, How to Drive Your Competition Crazy, Selling the Dream, and The Macintosh Way. Kawasaki has a BA from Stanford University and an MBA from UCLA as well as an honorary doctorate from Babson College.