Entrepreneur and venture capitalist Guy Kawasaki recently released Enchantment, his 10th book. Robert Cialdini, the author of the classic book Influence, said of Guy’s new book, “Kawasaki provides insights so valuable we all wish we’d had them first.”
1. In the course of writing Enchantment, what’s the one thing you learned/discovered that has had the most impact on your life?
I learned about the generosity of my social following. When I needed fresh examples of likability, trustworthiness, launch techniques, ways to break down resistance, and so on, I received dozens of them via Twitter and my blog. I also solicited people’s personal stories of being enchanted and received dozens of those too. Towards the end of writing, I asked for volunteers to critique the book, and approximately 300 people stepped forward. The point is that I learned about the generosity of strangers, and that has made me cognizant that I should be more generous too.
2: Being enchanting is in our self-interest; it lets us attract supporters for our ideas, earn buy-in from colleagues, charm new acquaintances, and so on. Do you think there’s there a fine line or a wide berth between being enchanting and being manipulative?
There is a wide berth. The acid test is whether the outcome of the enchantment benefits the enchantee–really benefits, not, “I did him a favor by convincing him to buy what I was selling.” Don’t get me wrong: it’s okay if there is an alignment of interests where you and the enchantee both benefit, but the enchanter shouldn’t be the primary beneficiary.
The acid test of the acid test is, “Would I still try to catalyze this change if I had absolutely nothing to gain?” For example, if you haven’t worked for Apple for ten years, and you still try to convince people to buy Macintoshes because you know that’s the right computer for them. Or, if you tell people to fly Virgin America to Fort Lauderdale instead of other airlines to Miami, and you don’t work for Virgin America. That’s enchantment.
3: What’s something simple that anyone could try today to become 2% more enchanting?
2% is that a typo? Who cares about 2% improvement? Forget all that Japanese stuff about the relentless pursuit of incremental improvement. Here’s one thing most people can do that will make them stand out from the crowd: Answer email within forty-eight hours. Almost no one does this. I try my hardest and can’t do it either. But it is the simplest—albeit also maybe the hardest—way to become a digital enchanter.