AppleMatters Interview: Guy Kawasaki Talks Apple

by Hadley Stern Aug 01, 2003

If Apple is a cult or a religion then Steve Jobs is the leader and close by would be Guy Kawasaki. Guy’s influence on the Apple experience continues to be felt. One of the team members for the original Macintosh project he moved on to become Chief Evangelist of Apple from 1995 to 1998. He is now CEO, Managing Director, and Chairman of Garage Technology Ventures a company that provides private placement and advisory services for technology companies and investors.

AppleMatters caught up with Guy recently, asking him about religion, Apple and OS X.

What was your first introduction to Apple?

My college classmate, Mike Boich, showed me an Apple I. A few years later, I bought an Apple IIe. Then Mike showed me a Macintosh, and that was it.

How were you involved in the creation of the Macintosh?

I helped convince software developers to create products for a computer with no installed base, not enough RAM, no hard disk, and no native compiler.

Is (was) Apple’s success due to marketing as much as it is to technology?

Though I am a marketing person, I think Apple’s success is primarily due to it’s technology.

Do you use OS X, what do you think of it?

Yes, I like it a lot, but it’s too slow in booting and corrupts files too often. Hopefully Panther fixes this.

As someone who works a lot with entrepreneurs who surely use PCs how do you think Apple can still make the case to switch? Where is the business necessity?

I almost never hear about platform arguments anymore. It seems like the world has moved on from OS wars.

I feel pretty strongly that Apple needs to keep innovating (and by this I mean not just making the Mac better and better). Do you think Apple is capable of making the next leap in personal computing?

I hope so. The test is whether Apple will make a computer that makes me want to stop using a Macintosh.

You more or less invented the notion of the Mac evangelist, why do you think Apple users have such zeal? After all, there aren’t too many Dell sites out there.

Because people see their Macintoshes as an extension of themselves. Macintoshes increase their owner’s productivity and creativity. They are not merely appliances. You don’t see many web sites for washing machines either.

Is Apple a religion?

In the sense that you’re asking, yes it is. In the bigger picture of true religions (salvation, etc), it isn’t.

Do you think Apple can only do well with Steve Jobs at the top?

This is the $64,000 question. No one knows for sure. It’s going to be fascinating to see what happens.

How have your experiences at Apple affected your life as an entrepreneur?

I never assume that the best product will win anymore. This is sad but true. A little piece of me dies every time I think about this.

What to you is the core of the Apple brand?

One person, one computer, changing the world.

After all these years are you surprised that the Mac still only has about 5 percent of the market share?

Yes and no. Back in 1984, I anticipated worldwide domination. Still 5% of a big market is a big deal. I don’t think that BMW, Porsche, and Mercedes don’t have 5% of the car market all together.

What was your first Mac?


What do you use now?

12 inch Powerbook

Does Apple Matter?

Does oxygen?


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