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Snack-Sized Smarts: Guy Kawasaki Talks About Google+, Facebook, and Inner Nobility

by Matthew Grant  |  
July 11, 2012

Guy Kawasaki is my guest on this week's episode of the Marketing Smarts podcast. For folks stretched for time, I'm giving a sampler plate of five bon mots uttered by Guy in the course of our conversation. Enjoy!

1. "Bulleted lists or even numbered lists show that there's an organized mind behind the article."

My conversation with Guy centered around Google+ because he recently wrote a book about it. I mentioned an article I'd seen on Mashable (OK, really a headline I'd seen on Twitter) titled "Google+: A Year of Missed Opportunities." Guy wanted to know what those missed opportunities were, so I pulled up the article that I hadn't read. Because I was in the middle of recording a podcast, I didn't have time to read the article. Alas, the article had no bullets or call-outs, so I could not tell Guy which opportunities Google had missed! (For the record, they were: not allowing aliases and being slow to allow news organizations and businesses to use the service.)

2. "I would assume there's method to their madness; I'm just not assuming that their method to their madness is optimal for me!"

We talked about Facebook's reliance on its EdgeRank algorithm to customize the news feeds of Facebook users. According to Guy, EdgeRank effectively means that you only see about 10% of the updates posted by your "friends." I said that this did seem strange, but the folks over at Facebook seemed pretty smart, so I figured that there was some method to their madness. Guy replied with the line above.

3. "It was better. It was used by fewer people. And the experts said it would fail."

Guy sees parallels in the criticism leveled at Google+ and the criticism leveled at the Macintosh when it was first introduced. Some criticism, now as then, is born of ignorance. When you asked people critical of Apple's new computer if they had ever used one, Guy said, a lot of times they hadn't. Similarly, he maintains, "People who criticize Google+ the most have never used it." This is not necessarily to say that Google+ will enjoy the success of Apple---its iPhone business alone is bigger than Microsoft---but it might!

4. "Google owns the river."

That is one reason, Guy believes, that Google+ has a lot going for it. It can be difficult to entice people to join a new social network, but if any company were in a position to make that happen, it's Google. As Guy has been saying for a while now, they "own the river"—specifically, the river of search that offers many people their primary access to all the information the Web contains. Frankly, the fact that Google+ "only" has 150 million active users per month, which would represent a wild success for a startup, is overshadowed by the gargantuan reach of Google as the leading search engine. Give it time. Guy says, "It's hard to bet against Google."

5. "There is some nobility to me, deep down inside."

I told Guy that this would be the "money quote" from the podcast (of course, the listeners will decide that!). He said it after explaining that he'd written "What the Plus?" because "I wanted to help Google+ right some injustice." The injustice, as far as I can tell, is that a platform with some real advantages over its competitors, as Guy sees it, and sporting features (Hangouts, Circles, etc.) that they just don't possess is lagging behind them. Fight the power, Guy!

If you'd like to hear my entire conversation with Guy you may do so here or download the mp3 and listen at your leisure. Of course you can always subscribe to the Marketing Smarts podcast in iTunes or via RSS and never miss an episode!

(Photo courtesy of Bigstock: Young Girl Eating Bowl of Vegetables)

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My name is Matthew T. Grant, PhD. I'm Managing Editor here at MarketingProfs. I divide my time between designing courses for MarketingProfs University and hosting/producing our podcast, Marketing Smarts. You can follow me on Twitter (@MatttGrant) or read my personal musings on my blog here.

If you'd like to get in touch with me about being a guest on Marketing Smarts or teaching as part of MarketingProfs University or, frankly, anything else at all, drop me a line.

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