July 23, 2018, 2:11 am
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Silicon Valley tech legend speaks at telco forum

BY Edd K. Usman

GUY Kawasaki is known not only for being the chief evangelist of Apple Inc., before he finally left to put up his own venture capital investment bank and a software company.

The Japanese-American Silicon Valley legend and tech rock star is also as a brand ambassador for Mercedes-Benz, his face finding its way to many marketing materials of Benz promoting the prestige of the brand’s individuality.

Less known to many is that he is also an executive fellow at the Haas School of Business of University of California Berkeley. He flies around the world, delivering talks on his experiences as at Apple Inc., a time he so much treasured because he worked closely with the late Steve Jobs.

Kawasaki is top gun among the guest speakers at the 2017 Asian Carriers’ Conference (ACC) where he now represents Canva, an online graphic design company out of Sydney, Australia. His participation at the ACC as keynote speaker on the “Art of Transformation.”

The conference lured over around 1,500 delegates from world’s various telecommunications companies, providers of products and services.

This is Kawasaki second visit to the Philippines at the invitation of PLDT last September.
In a relaxed interview with tech journalists and bloggers he spoke of things other than technology as he fiddles with his Breitling 55 watch as it synchs with his iPhone for a seamless adjustment of time zones.  Ramon Isberto, PLDT and Smart public affairs head, accompanied the press to the interview venue, an ocean-view building in the hotel’s compound.

 “Right now, I am just doing a lot of speaking and I am writing a new book, and lot of surfing,” he said when aked what he is doint now.

In spite of his being an international and global figure, he has a connection with the Philippines and much love for Filipinos.

“We had a nanny for 20 years who is from the Philippines, a lovely person. Her name is Tessie Dagaran. I am from Honolulu, Hawaii, so I was raised with lots of Filipino friends,” Kawasaki, unselfish with laughter, confided to the journalists.

Thousands of Filipinos many of them from the Ilocos Region and Cebu, had made Hawaii home because of the opportunities for work in sugar plantations as the island. These Filipino laborers then called “Hawayanos” –arrived in Hawaii through the recruitment efforts of the Hawaiin Sugar Planters Association (HSPA).
The tech guru loves the ubiquitous jeepneys.

“The first time (I visited) was two of three years ago. I only went to Manila...I just love the jeepneys, people’s car. And just the pace and the population, it’s not laid back at all,” Kawasaki fondly recalls.

He also had some nice words for Diosdado “Dado” Banatao, Filipino-American Silicon Valley tech expert who developed integrated circuits. His exploits are well known 

“He is special person, very special person,” he said of Banatao, a farm boy who had a stint as a Philippine Airlines pilot but did not find fulfillment. His exploits are well known in tech circles, including the invention of the first single chip, a 16-bit microprocessor-based calculator developed under Commodore International,

that reduced 300 solid state parts into just three. His second invention was another first, a 10-Mbit Ethernet CMOS with silicon coupler data-link control and transreceiver.

Speaking about his new company Kawasaki said that Canca is a graphics platform that allowed people to create online.

“Canva enables anyone to create a beautiful graphics online, whether it’s presentation, a poster, a book cover, an album cover, social media graphics. Basically, if you ever need any kind of graphics, you can do it on Canva,” he said about the free online app.

“We signed up millions of people,” he revealed also saying that the “next curve” for Canva would be addressing more media types, not only graphics. Then he disclosed that the company’s customer management office is in the country.

“Canva tech support is done from Manila. Yes, every tech support issue we solve is solved

from Manila,” he said unselfishly praising the Philippines and its people.

“I don’t know if it’s the water, or the DNA or, you know, the ‘balot’, or whatever is it, but you are such a happy people. I’ve never seen a country of happier people, perfect people for tech support. You guys are so happy. What is it here, we could use some of your happiness, specially the Republican Party,” he said, laughing with the journalists over his mention of the American political party.
“You can quote me,” Kawasaki said laughing even more.

If there is one thing he regrets, it is that he did not stay long enough with Apple, thus, he did not experience the immense success of Jobs’ garage start-up.

“If I could change anything, I would have stayed at Apple longer and made more money,” Kawasaki said as the interview ended.
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