ReadWrite Mix: Guy Kawasaki Talks Apple, Google & The Book Business

The second ReadWrite Mix was a riot. Dan Lyons interviewed former Apple evangelist, current unofficial Google evangelist, tech entrepreneur and prolific author Guy Kawasaki. Hilarity ensued.

Working At Apple, Living With Google

Dan asked Guy about working with Steve Jobs. Guy told his legendary story about the day he "passed the Steve Jobs test." Jobs came to Guy's cubicle one day with an unknown man and asked him what he thought of a company called Knoware. Guy gave his unvarnished opinion, which was highly critical. Then Jobs motioned to the other man and said, "Guy, this is the CEO of Knoware."

As mortifying as it was, Guy figures Jobs would have canned him if he had given some airy, suck-up answer

"Working for Steve Jobs was the formative experience of my life," Guy said. "I was never in the total reality distortion field, though. I still knew which way was up and down."

Guy mentioned that the first time he saw the Macintosh was a "religious experience," but he also said the same thing about Google+. "Google+ to me is the Macintosh of social media," Guy said. "Google+ is to Facebook as Macintosh is to Windows." And though he basically invented Apple evangelism, now he's an Android devotee.

Why the change? "I know how to discern good stuff," Guy said. "When I was focused on personal computers, it was Macintosh. Now, I want to be able to make an independent decision. I don't want to have to be loyal to Apple for the rest of my life. I want to be loyal to what is best. I think Android is best."

He pointed to the alphabetical list of apps, NFC, multiple apps in windows, and widgets as his favorite Android features. He also pointed to some of Apple's decisions, such as going with a proprietary cable instead of USB, as unfriendly to consumers.

The Business Of Books

The main thread of Guy and Dan's conversation was how to write, publish, and market a book. Guy has done that 11 times, and his latest is APE: Author, Publisher, Entrepreneur - How to Publish a Book. Clearly, he had plenty to say on this subject.

"It's not so hard to write a book," Guy said. "It's not so hard to publish a book. What's hard is marketing and selling it." He recommended spending an hour a day on social networks stirring up conversation about the subject matter. "The day you start writing your book is the day you start building your platform. Life for an author is a parallel process."

It's hard work, but Guy swears by self-publishing. It has allowed him to do unorthodox things like give away sponsored copies of his books for free and other things traditional publishers wouldn't let him do. Does he worry about piracy of e-books? Sure, but he says an author shouldn't get hung up on it. "At some point, you have to just say, 'At least they're talking about you.'"

There was some wisdom at Wednesday's event, and there was also some silliness. "I don't know why you're listening to me," Guy said. "I was stupid enough to quit Apple twice." It was just the right mix. Guy has a wealth of experience, and it was an honor to have him at ReadWrite Mix.