You know there are people who just enter the room and the atmosphere changes. You feel their energy, feel their attitude to life, feel their wisdom and strength. I got a chance to sit down and talk to such a person.
Lights on. Guy Kawasaki.
Venture capitalist, entrepreneur, a former evangelist at Apple and the author of 12 books now.
Meet his new creation – Ape: Author, Publisher, Entrepreneur – How to Publish a Book.
Helen: How are you doing today?
Guy: Hi! Good, thank you.
Helen: We’re going to talk today about Guy’s last book Ape. Guy, why did you decide to write a book?
Guy: I wrote Ape because a previous book that I had written (What the Plus!) was self-published and during the process of self-publishing of What the Plus! I learned how difficult it is to self-publish a book. It’s complex, it’s confusing, it’s idiosyncratic. As I saw, sure there was to be a better way. So, I started on this quest of figuring out how to do it so I could help other people self-publish a book better.
Helen: In your book you say, “Writing a book... is one of life's most satisfying achievements.” Is it so for you and why?
Guy: Absolutely. For me writing is as close to being an engineer as possible. So, through my life I worked with engineers and I’ve had the steam to change the software, change the hardware. For me, while writing I am an engineer, so if I decide to change the format, I want to add a section, to move a section, reorganize the section, anything I want to do, I just boot words, and I do what I want to do. So, I feel completely empowered when I’m a writer.
Helen: When writing Ape, you actually used crowdsource mechanisms quite a few times in order to get design and feedback from your followers. Do you think crowdsourcing is a good way to approach creation and why?
Guy: Crowdsourcing is a great way to approach creation because in any given point there’s always somebody on the Internet who knows something better than you do. So, when I wrote a book like Ape, I had to understand the entire process from the beginning to the end. But in any given point somebody’s gonna understand the conversion process better than I am. And it’s very difficult to find these people unless you crowdsource. In many cases I needed an example. For example, I needed an example of a person who wrote a book purely for intellectual challenge of doing the book. Because I think it is a very good motivation. So, I posted a message: “Does anybody know of an example where there was just an intellectual challenge?” And someone wrote back and said, “Yes, there was a book written in the 1950s that the author wrote the entire book without using any words with the letter ‘e’ in it.” I would have never ever heard of that example if not for crowdsourcing.
Helen: You applied the concept of enchantment to books. Can it be applied only to building a marketing platform to further promote a book or you can actually enchant with your writing?
Guy: Enchantment can be done with writing but I think enchantment is basically a prospective or an operating system for life. That you can enchant a person who is assigning your airplane seat, your hotel room, your waiter, your waitress. It is a way of influencing, persuading people based on building trust and likeability and having a high quality product and service. So, writing is one way to achieve enchantment. Certainly, not the only way.
Helen: How do you know you’re ready to write a book? Is there a certain point in time when you actually understand that?
Guy: You know you’re ready to write a book when you have a feeling that you should do it, no matter what anybody says. It’s like falling in love or starting a company. When you’re still wondering if you should get married or you’re still wondering whether you should start a company that might be not the right person or the right idea. And writing is the same way. When you’ve locked on to the topic, you’ll just write it.
Helen: Guy, thank you for being with us today. It was very generous of you to join us.
You can follow Guy Kawasaki on Google+, Twitter and Facebook. His book Ape: Author, Publisher, Entreprenuer – How to Publish a Book is already available on Amazon.
Your turn now. Did you get to read the book or just planning? What was the most important you’ve learned from it? Do you agree with Guy that crowdsourcing is a great way to approach the process of creation? Or rather believe that a single skilled expert would do a better job?