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6 valuable life lessons from a technology evangelist

By Felicity Zadro, Managing Director

Recently Zadro had the privilege of managing the media and public relations for CeBIT Australia, the nation’s largest and most significant business technology event.

One of the key speakers of CeBIT was the one and only, Guy Kawasaki, former Apple evangelist, self-proclaimed devotee to the democratisation of ideas and technology, and Chief evangelist for Canva.

As a ‘hired-gun’ for CeBIT, he was superb; rarely do you work with such a generous, humble, friendly person who gives far more than the contract called for.

While the world knows him for his passion for technology, from our perspective, managing the PR, we saw him as much more than that. I was so impressed with Guy that without him even knowing it, he taught me some great lessons.

Here are the top six things I learnt from working with Guy Kawasaki:

  1. Graciousness gets you more. There were no temper tantrums or demands for red M&Ms from Guy; he was always smiling, even after a gruelling media schedule. He was appreciative, accommodating and friendly. He made it easy to work with him and as such we funnelled more media opportunities his way (all the late ones, hard ones and demanding ones) and in return he got more coverage and greater results for the show, and the company he represents – Canva.
  2. Acknowledge your mentors. Guy’s keynote was about what he had learnt, and how he had been inspired and stretched by the ‘hard-to-work-for’ Steve Jobs. He was appreciative of the opportunities he had been given and celebrated the greatness of another.
  3. ‘Ignore the naysayers’. This was his number one message that he took from Jobs and shared with the audience. And its power rings true. When you are trying to cut cloth your own way there are always people lining up to tell you; it’ll be hard, impossible, failure is imminent – luckily, Jobs didn’t take any notice.
  4. You can’t fake authenticity. Guy’s genuine interest, his ability to be present, that smile and welcoming handshake make him real and likeable. When he met the incredible former hacker and now computer security consultant Kevin Mitnick, his excitement was akin to a boy in a candy store. This authenticity can’t be faked and it made his likeable and approachable.
  5. Respect other people’s time, regardless of how important you are. When a timetable change meant that Guy couldn’t do a scheduled interview with a journalist (and it wasn’t a major title), he went out of his way to change his travel plans to meet up with her in a different city in the US.  This respect for others’ time is legendary and I’m sure, will be something that journalist will talk about for a very long time to come, and so will we. There are many lesser-known people who wouldn’t go the extra mile.
  6. Communicating technology is an art not science. The way he talks about technology doesn’t make you feel silly or ignorant, or that you are listening to a geek; he spoke of what technology can do, how it can change lives and make a difference rather than the widgets.

So thanks to Guy for the amazing experience and for helping us support a fantastic event – both for the delegates and those of us working in the background.

Make sure you save the date for next year’s CeBIT Australia to be held May 2-4, 2016. For more information, please go to www.cebit.com.au.

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