Bringing people together Featured

9:01pm EDT August 31, 2011

Author, entrepreneur and one-time Apple evangelist Guy Kawasaki wants to help you make a difference in the world. In his new book, “Engagement,” Kawasaki demonstrates that changing someone’s mind requires neither a magic spell nor scare tactics of any kind. In this interview with Smart Business, he explores the power of social media and the connectedness it creates by explaining the benefits of creating an ecosystem for your cause and illustrating the power of push technology.

You actually received some interesting feedback from a reader about ecosystems. For anyone listening who feels, as she did, that this is “for high-tech, fairly big companies only,” explain why ecosystems can be used in any organization and in any industry.

Let’s take the example of a restaurant going low-tech. A restaurant’s ecosystem would include the restaurant and its staff. It would probably include the union of the employees. Hopefully, the union would support you. If you had great vendors who provided you the best fresh vegetables and fresh supplies, that’s part of the ecosystem. You could make the argument that the valet system, the people who park the cars, are probably not your employees. They might be part of a third-party valet company, but they are part of your ecosystem. You could build a community on Yelp of people who liked your restaurant and spread the word, so that’s part of your ecosystem. Something as simple as a restaurant could have an ecosystem. When all of these people, the suppliers, the valets, the customers and the union and the employees and the families of the employees (who tell their friends and family to go eat there) build all that ecosystem, it could be two or three times the number of people you actually employ. Think of all those people supporting you.

What can companies do to overcome their fear of engaging customers via push technology?

First of all, push technology usually refers to e-mail and Twitter. Those are cases where you’re controlling when the message goes out. You’re pushing it out as opposed to trying to pull people to your site. You’re pushing information at them. Take an example of Twitter.

There is a street-food vendor in Los Angeles called Kogi BBQ [a food truck that serves ‘Korean Mexican tacos, day and night,’ according to the company’s website]. It has about 60,000 followers on Twitter. Kogi BBQ has these trucks and the trucks show up at various street corners to sell tacos. Let’s imagine a world without Twitter.

How would Kogi BBQ get the word out that its truck is going to be at a certain corner at noon? Could it advertise in the L.A. Times? Not very likely. You’re only trying to get 50 to 100 people at that corner, so you’re not going to advertise in the L.A. Times, which comes out at 8 a.m. and not at noon when Kogi wants people to come eat. Who holds their L.A. Times with them so they know where Kogi will be? There are so many street corners in L.A., how would you narrow that down for the L.A. Times?

Would a radio station work? How many people listen to a radio station at work? Well, maybe more than we think, but it’s not exactly cool to have your radio blasting at your desk. So, Kogi sends out a tweet to 60,000 followers to say that their truck will be at the corner of Sepulveda and Victory at 12:00, and when the truck shows up, boom, there’s 50 people waiting to buy tacos. That’s something that could not have been done without Twitter or Facebook. I think that’s a very good example that a business as small as a street food vendor can use social media to drive sales.

“Enchantment: The Art of Changing Hearts, Minds and Actions”

By Guy Kawasaki

Portfolio, 211 pages, $26.95

About the book: “Enchantment” is the latest book from entrepreneurial expert and one-time Apple Chief Evangelist Guy Kawasaki. In his typical info-packed, humor-filled style, Kawasaki provides insights into how to strengthen and lengthen relationships, whether between company and customer, manager and employee or person to person.

The author: Guy Kawasaki is the co-founder of Alltop.com, an “online magazine rack” of popular topics. He is also the founding partner of Garage Technology Ventures and the author of 10 books, including “Reality Check,” “The Art of the Start” and “How to Drive Your Competition Crazy.” He previously served as the chief evangelist at Apple.

Why you should read it: “Enchantment” will be a game-changing read for anyone who is attempting to garner genuine support during any interaction. There are books on communication or negotiation that treat interactions as “fights” and attempt to teach readers how to “win at all costs.” Kawasaki doesn’t want his book used for nefarious purposes and the lessons in “Enchantment” are intended to help people create positive change in others’ hearts and minds. His communication techniques don’t involve coercion or subterfuge. He provides numerous examples of ways that businesses can succeed without resorting to techniques that provide temporary success but inevitably push people away in the end.

Why it’s different: Kawasaki is one of the most vocal proponents of social media. As a result, his recent books, “Enchantment” included, follow the model of what makes social media a dominant and effective platform in today’s culture. The chapters read quickly, are packed with information and examples and have the personal, conversational tone of a reader’s favorite blog or Twitter feed. Each chapter concludes with “My Personal Story,” an insight provided by a guest contributor that provides additional support for Kawasaki’s ideas.

Can’t miss: “How to Use Push Technology” and “How to Use Pull Technology.” Kawasaki’s expertise in social media is on display in these two chapters. He provides advice on how to use each of the major forms of social technology to enchant an audience. Unlike other authors who write about social media from “outside the bubble,” Kawasaki’s own Twitter feed, Facebook page and website are great examples of the concepts he discusses in “Enchantment.”

To share or not to share: The objective of “Enchantment” is to help readers change hearts, minds and actions. Handing someone a copy of this book is a great first step in the process.

Have you checked out Soundview Live, the exclusive webinar series from Soundview Executive Book Summaries? This is your chance to interact with best-selling business book authors. Visit www.summary.com/webinars.