Guy Kawasaki, venture capitalist, author, and marketing specialist has had his fair share of successes. With bestselling books Enchantment and The Art of the Start under his belt, Kawasaki is a brand ambassador for Mercedes-Benz, former trustee of the Wikimedia Foundation, and is the chief evangelist of online graphic design tool, Canva.
Known for his insight on entrepreneurship and innovation, there is a reason he knows what he's talking about -- as one of the original members of Apple's Macintosh team in the 1980s, Kawasaki says he has survived working for Steve Jobs...twice.
In his latest book, Wise Guy, the former Apple employee reveals how he was able to succeed under the iconic Apple co-founder and visionary. And much of this success Kawasaki owes to the truth.
From his experience at Apple and working with Jobs, Kawasaki learned this: a lie really won't get you far. And for Steve Jobs, a lie certainly wouldn't impress.
Kawasaki cites one memory from his time at Apple in particular. Sometime in 1984, Jobs arrived at Kawasaki's cubicle with a man who Kawasaki did not recognize. Rather than introducing this new person, Jobs cut straight to the chase and asked Kawasaki what he thought about a company called Knoware.
"I told Jobs that the company's products were mediocre, boring, and simplistic and that the company was not strategic for us," Kawasaki remembers. "After all, they didn't take advantage of the Mac graphical user interface and other advanced features."
Immediately after giving this feedback, Jobs introduced the nameless man to Kawasaki -- the CEO of Knoware, Archie McGill. Jobs then turned to McGill and said, "See? That's what I told you."
It would have been easy to provide a positive or neutral assessment about Knoware to Jobs. However, Kawasaki knows that if he had complimented Knoware's low-quality products, "Jobs would have, at a minimum, decided that [he] was clueless, and that would have limited [Kawasaki's] career at Apple."
Telling the truth shows that you are competent and well-informed. Real visionaries desire the truth so they can improve their products, brand, or business. "You need intelligence to recognize what is true," Kawasaki notes, "and you need strength to speak it."
Kawasaki acknowledges that his experience under Jobs was challenging, unpleasant, and always scary. But he also says Jobs fundamentally changed his life.