Kawasaki is one of the most interesting figures in entrepreneurship literature. His first books were “How to Drive Your Competition Crazy” and “Rules for Revolutionaries.”These books contain very unusual business stories and examples as well as great insights for readers. His latest book,
“Enchantment,” is about “influence management,” or the concept of personal marketing, which is becoming more popular of late. Kawasaki claims that personal marketing isn’t manipulative, but rather “transforms” situations and relationships. It changes skeptics and cynics into believers and the undecided into loyal customers, while converting hostility into civility and civility into affinity. Below is an example from the book.
Karin Muller, a filmmaker and author, served in the Peace Corps from 1987 to 1989, digging wells and building schools in a village in the Philippines. One night, seventeen members of the New People’s Army came to her hut to interrogate her.
Earlier that day, villagers had warned her that this was going to happen, so she collected two things that were precious commodities in the village: sugar and coffee.
When the soldiers arrived; she exclaimed, “Thank God you’re here! I’ve been waiting all day. Please have some coffee. Leave your guns at the door.” Her reaction baffled the leader of the group, but he took off his gun and sat down for a cup of coffee. She thus avoided a serious interrogation or worse because, according to Muller, “You can’t interrogate someone you’re having coffee with.” Muller did not react with anger, indignation, or panic. Instead, she touched the emotions of the group’s leader and transformed the situation from one of potential brute force and intimidation to conversation and communication. She delighted him with her unexpected hospitality and changed his heart, his mind, and his actions. In short, she enchanted him.
Throughout his book Kawasaki gives examples of how to influence people in many different ways. From personal communication to performance on the stage, from slogans to twitter messages, he gives many useful tips. For years, I have been talking and writing about how to successfully apply for a job. In order to be noticed, a job applicant should find an original way to introduce him- or herself. It might be a resumé in a bottle, resumé as a video recording on YouTube, or a resumé printed on a cake. More important than having an extraordinary way of introducing yourself, however, is being a truly extraordinary person. In the case of Karin Muller, she found an extraordinary way of communicating with the soldiers who come to interrogate her, but don’t forget that to begin with she was a person who had volunteered to dig wells and build schools in the Phillipines. So, in order to “enchant” people, you should have a great product or idea.
Luckily for readers, not only tips for success in communication, but also a formula for ensuring a great product, service or business idea is provided in “Enchantment.” According to Kawasaki, a product, service or idea should be “deep, intelligent, complete, empowering, and elegant”. A business idea should be deep as Google is. From Gmail to AdWords, Google is a one-stop source for the online needs of its users. An idea should be intelligent as a piece of computer software, website, which recognizes the user and employs their personal settings automatically without asking them to fill in a redundant form. It should be complete like an Apple iPad. With an iPad you don’t need a separate computer, e-book reader and virus program, the iPad completely solves your information needs. An idea should be as empowering as Google Maps. With Google Maps, everybody becomes an expert in local cities and roads without the old-fashioned investment of time in learning them first-hand: anyone can find anything. An idea should be as elegant as a traditional book. It is light, its organization makes it easy to find information, it doesn’t require electricity and you can take notes on it. It is elegant and beautiful.
I would love to quote some of Kawasaki’s tips from “Enchantment,” but it would be better for you to read the book. It makes you think about what you can do to create your own “enchanting” effect on the world around you. At least, it did for me.