Monday, May 18, 2015

Leadership tip for start-ups from Tech Evangelist Guy Kawasaki: Get a Devil's Advocate

Art of the Start 2.0 by Guy Kawasaki


In his book, The Art of the Start 2.0: The Time-Tested, Battle-Hardened Guide for Anyone Starting Anything, Guy Kawasaki gave some tips in Chapter 3 on how to master the art of being a leader.  As I was reading the tips one by one (or that should be page by page), I stumbled on the following tip: Get a Devil's Advocate. So in this post, I'll quote what he said and tell something more about him as a Tech Evangelist.

A. Leadership Tip by Guy Kawasaki: Get a Devil's  Advocate

Here's the discussion of Guy Kawasaki on the Devil's Advocate, which gives us a glimpse of Guy's writing style:
From 1587 to 1983 the Catholic Church appointed certain individuals to argue against the canonization (sainthood) of a particular candidate.  The advocatus diaboli or devil's advocate role was created as a way to find faults in candidates to ensure saintly saints.
When the practice ended in 1983, after the election of Pope John Paul II in 1978, an explosion in canonization occurred. Specifically the church canonized five hundred people during the reign of John Paul II; it had canonized only ninety-eight people during the reign of all John Paul II's twentieth-century predecessors.
A Morpheus and a devil's advocate are not the same thing.  A Morpheus tells you the truth--good or bad. A devil's advocate tells you what's bad even if he doesn't believe it himself. The existence of this role is a positive statement because it shows that criticism is acceptable and that management is open to contrarian perspectives.  Also, a devil's advocate fosters internal communication because he becomes a person that disenchanted employees can contact.
Devil's advocacy isn't necessary on every decision--just the strategic ones. (The advocatus diaboli reviewed only canonizations, not every doctrinal decisions.) (The Art of the Start 2.0, p. 71)
It is interesting how companies can learn from the management systems of the Catholic Church, which itself is really a corporation because it is the Body of Christ or Corpus Christi. According to G. K. Chesterton:
There is no other case of one continuous intelligent institution that has been thinking about thinking for two thousand years. Its experience naturally covers nearly all experiences; and especially nearly all errors. The result is a map in which all the blind alleys and bad roads are clearly marked, all the ways that have been shown to be worthless by the best of all evidence: the evidence of those who have gone down them. 
And in this map also includes management systems. Democracy, after all, is a controversial Catholic idea by Cardinal Bellarmine in an age ruled by European Monarchs. And now, Corporate democracy is slowly becoming a radical idea in management circles, e.g. SEMCO's Model for Philippine Democracy: Applying Catholic Social Thought to Business Management and Nation Building  Whether the removal of the devil's advocate in the canonization process is a good decision we shall only know a few decades from now, because unlike ordinary companies, the Church thinks not in years but in decades and centuries.

 B. Tech Evangelist Guy Kawasaki: Who is he?

At the back cover of his book, The Art of the Start 2.0: The Time-Tested, Battle-Hardened Guide for Anyone Starting Anything, we read:
Guy Kawasaki is the chief evangelist of Canva (an online design service) and an executive fellow of the Haas School of Business at U.C. Berkeley.  Previously, he was the chief evangelist of Apple and special adviser to the CEO of the Motorola business unit of Google.  His many acclaimed books include The Art of Social Media: Power Tips for Power Users and Enchantment: The Art of Changing Hearts, Minds, and Actions. He lives in Silicon Valley with his family and on social media where he has ten million followers. 
The word evangelist came from a Greek word which literally means "bringer of good news" (Online Etymology Dictionary).  In Christianity, the writers of the four Gospels are called evangelists: Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John. Today, if you are called an evangelist, people thinks that you preach Christianity in the streets or TV or You Tube. Are the religious connotations of "evangelist" an issue in the technology world?  Here's Guy Kawasaki's response:
In some parts of the world, the word has too many connotations to use comfortably.  In the tech sector, though, it's fine. Christianity after all, does have 30 percent market share, which is more than most companies. (The Art of Evangelizing in Ch. 8 of The Art of the Start 2.0, p. 213)
Indeed, when the angel appeared to the shepherds, he brought good news. The birth of Christ is the good news:
Now there were shepherds in that region living in the fields and keeping the night watch over their flock. 9 The angel of the Lord appeared to them and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were struck with great fear.d 10 The angel said to them, “Do not be afraid; for behold, I proclaim to you good news of great joy that will be for all the people. 11 * e For today in the city of David a savior has been born for you who is Messiah and Lord. 12 And this will be a sign for you: you will find an infant wrapped in swaddling clothes and lying in a manger.” 13 And suddenly there was a multitude of the heavenly host with the angel, praising God and saying: 14 * “Glory to God in the highestf and on earth peace to those on whom his favor rests.” (Lk 2:8-14)
Now, replace the shepherds with ordinary people, the angel with Steve Jobs (who has been an angel investor  to Pixar according to the book by Ed Catmull, Creativity, Inc.: Overcoming the Unseen Forces That Stand in the Way of True Inspiration , p. 39), the City of David by Cupertino, C.A., and the Infant Jesus by an iPhone, and BAAAMMM! You get marketing with all its theatrics:
Now there were people in that region living in the cities and keeping the night watch for the next iteration of the iPhone. Then Steve Jobs appeared on stage and they saw him in their desktop and mobile screens. Steve's glory shone around them, and they were struck with great fear of what he is going to say. Steve Jobs said to them, “Do not be afraid; for behold, I proclaim to you good news of great joy that will be for all the people. For today in the Cupertino, C.A., a new iPhone 4 has been designed for you with Retina display and Facetime. And this will be a sign for you: you will find your iPhone 4 wrapped in boxes with Apple logo and lying on the shelves of Apple stores.” And suddenly there was a multitude of testimonies appearing on the screen praising the new iPhone 4.
 The shepherds followed the angel's call to action to find the Infant Jesus in Jerusalem, while Apple fans trooped to Apple stores to buy their new phones. So who says we can't learn marketing from the Bible?



C. Quick Book Review of Guy Kawasaki's Art of the Start 2.0

This is really a terrific book.  Perhaps, it just answered my need at this time, because my friend, AJ Perez, President of Filipinos for Life, is working on a start-up company, Reginacaeli Publishing, for his Patron Comics. The comics is really good quality in both artwork and storytelling (you may read my interview with AJ Perez on Patron Comics here and check out some screenshots of the comics).  His main task now is fundraising and marketing.  Perhaps this book can provide new insights on how he can run his business start-up.

Guy Kawasaki's book was enclosed in plastic when I bought it yesterday. So I simply trusted on Guy Kawasaki's excellent reputation as a writer that this must be a good book, because I read one of his books before and I liked it. The book was Enchantment: The Art of Changing Hearts, Minds, and Actions. Guy Kawasaki's new book did not fail the hype. After all, it's already on its 2nd edition. He really writes well.  I planned only to flip through the pages while thinking what to cook for supper. But after I read one page, I turned to the next, then to next, and to next.  And before I knew it, I already forgot that I was hungry. The book has everything you need to launch a start-up. Most of the chapters are new to me, except for the part on social media.   But even on this Guy Kawasaki still never fails to provide new insights. Here's the list of chapters to give you an idea of his 326-page book:

  1. The Age of Starting Up
  2. The Art of Launching
  3. The Art of  Leading
  4. The Art of Bootstrapping
  5. The Art of Fund-raising
  6. The Art of Pitching
  7. The Art of Building a Team
  8. The Art of Evangelizing
  9. The Art of Socializing
  10. The Art of Rainmaking
  11. The Art of Partnering
  12. The Art of Enduring
  13. The Art of Being a Mensch
So check out Guy Kawasaki's book: The Art of the Start 2.0: The Time-Tested, Battle-Hardened Guide for Anyone Starting Anything. It may just be the book that you may need to transform your cash-strapped start-up to a sustainable and profitable business.


The Art of the Start 2.0: The Time-Tested, Battle-Hardened Guide for Anyone Starting Anything
The Art of the Start 2.0: The Time-Tested, Battle-Hardened Guide for Anyone Starting Anything
The Devil's Advocate (Loyola Classics)
The Devil's Advocate (Loyola Classics)
Devil's Advocate (Unrated Director's Cut) [Blu-ray]
Devil's Advocate (Unrated Director's Cut) [Blu-ray]
The Collected Works of G. K. Chesterton, Vol. 3: Where All Roads Lead / The Catholic Church and Conversion / Why I Am a Catholic / The Thing / The Well and the Shallows / The Way of the Cross
The Collected Works of G. K. Chesterton, Vol. 3: Where All Roads Lead / The Catholic Church and Conversion / Why I Am a Catholic / The Thing / The Well and the Shallows / The Way of the Cross
Maverick: The Success Story Behind the World's Most Unusual Workplace
Maverick: The Success Story Behind the World's Most Unusual Workplace
The Art of Social Media: Power Tips for Power Users
The Art of Social Media: Power Tips for Power Users
Illustration Shepherds And Angel Oblong Mouse Pads/ Standard Rectangle Gaming Mousepad in 9"*7" (5207) -52146
Illustration Shepherds And Angel Oblong Mouse Pads/ Standard Rectangle Gaming Mousepad in 9"*7" (5207) -52146
Creativity, Inc.: Overcoming the Unseen Forces That Stand in the Way of True Inspiration
Creativity, Inc.: Overcoming the Unseen Forces That Stand in the Way of True Inspiration
The Presentation Secrets of Steve Jobs: How to Be Insanely Great in Front of Any Audience
The Presentation Secrets of Steve Jobs: How to Be Insanely Great in Front of Any Audience
Enchantment: The Art of Changing Hearts, Minds, and Actions
Enchantment: The Art of Changing Hearts, Minds, and Actions