perspective

GROWING BOLDER
Life Advice from a Group of Musical Legends

GROWING BOLDER: Life Advice from a Group of Musical Legends

 

In this episode of Growing Bolder TV: When you do what you love, you’ll be happier, healthier and you could even live longer! Plus, how one man’s marketing genius will help people for years to come.

 

Featured stories:

• These Musical Legends Say: “Live and Play Like There’s No Tomorrow”
• A Tribute to a Marketing Mastermind
• Road to Recovery: Be the Exception
• A Rocker at 70: McGuinn’s Big Birthday
• The Takeaway: Forgive, For Yourself

 

 

LONG STORY SHORT WITH LESLIE WILCOX
They Did It Their Way

 

Long Story Short looks back on three previous guests who paved their own paths in life and followed their instincts, often against the grain of society’s expectations. Featured: Marion Higa, who spoke truth to power as Hawai‘i’s State Auditor; Kitty Lagareta (now Kitty Yannone), CEO of public relations firm Communications Pacific, whose career has been punctuated by a healthy dose of risk; and Kimi Werner, who gave up her success in competitive spearfishing to reconnect with the ocean in a more meaningful way as an environmental advocate.

 

This program will be rebroadcast on Sunday, May 6 at 4:00 pm and 11:30 pm.

 

They Did It Their Way Audio

 

They Did It Their Way Transcript

 

Transcript

 

MARION HIGA: At times, it felt almost personal.  But I didn’t take it that way, because it was my job.  And I always go back to the constitutional language; this is what the constitutional drafters expected of this office.  And as long as I’m doing that, then any governor can complain as much as they like.

 

KITTY YANNONE: I’ve had Democrats publicly won’t have anything to do with me. But late at night, when they need some advice, they call me, and they return my calls.  I’ve had media people.  I think when you’re a little more outspoken and they have a sense you’re authentic about it, they return your calls.  And you know what?  It never stopped me from doing what I do, with the utmost integrity and professionalism.

 

KIMI WERNER: All I just told myself is: I want diving to always give me that feeling that I had of bringing home those little fish, you know, on that first dive, and knowing in my heart that I was happy and proud of that, and that I felt satisfied with that.  And that’s the feeling that I wanted.  I didn’t quite know what type of path that would take me on, or how it would affect my career, but I just knew I wanted that back.

 

Marion Higa stood up to two governors to stop an auditing practice that she felt was inappropriate.  Kitty Yannone defied the local political system by supporting a Republican for governor.  And Kimi Werner was at the peak of her powers when she quit national spearfishing competitions.  They followed their instincts and their hearts, and they did it their way, next, on Long Story Short.

 

One-on-one engaging conversations with some of Hawai‘i’s most intriguing people: Long Story Short with Leslie Wilcox.

 

Aloha mai kākou. I’m Leslie Wilcox.  Sometimes, it takes an enormous amount of courage to do what you know to be right, when others want you to do otherwise, when it would be much easier to simply to go with the flow.  On this episode of Long Story Short, we revisit three women who have previously been guests on this program.  Each followed her own path, respectively refusing to give in to political pressure, community disapproval, or turning away from a popular identity that did not reflect her core values.

 

We begin with Marion Higa.  For almost two decades, she was the Hawai‘i State Auditor, investigating the use of State resources and exposing inefficiencies. She as unflinching when agencies criticized her, knowing she had a job to do, and believing she was representing the best interests of the people of Hawai‘i.  One of the highest visibility audits she performed was on the Superferry. The State government wanted the Superferry to be up and running as soon as possible.  But the community was divided in its support for the ferry. The State Auditor was called in to analyze the administration’s environmental review.

 

The environmental groups had challenged the lack of the EIS early enough.  I think it wasn’t completed by the time they started sailing because you might remember that the first ship was delivered. And I think Superferry was trying to avoid the timetable, and so they had planned to start service to Nawiliwili, again, because they could do that most easily.  And people in Kaua‘i jumped in the water and kept them from docking, so they never docked.  They had to turn around and come back.  Now, in the course of all of this, then the State had put up forty-two million dollars’ worth of improvements.  But because of the way they designed or had to design these improvements, and the sourcing of these materials, it could not be used, because they were not U.S.-sourced. That was the other problem.

 

What did you hear from the administration about that?

 

Oh, they objected, of course, to our findings, and had their own responses. But I mean, we could support our findings.

 

What was your recommendation? 

 

I think our recommendation was … well, first of all, the EIS; I mean, there was no question that they had to follow the EIS.  But I think eventually, we softened the recommendation, because there was the other court case that was still proceeding and was going to the Supreme Court.  So, I think we predicted that nothing be hard and fast decided until that case was settled. Eventually, the court came down, one could say, on the side of the environmentalists, and required the EIS.

 

How did you feel about the stinging rebuke from the administration?

 

I didn’t take it personally.  I mean, I expected it, because there was so much at stake.  And I understood that even the legislators, some of the legislators who had been avid supporters would be disappointed, at best.

 

Especially since they had put through a bill that allowed … it seemed it was written for a particular company, but general language was used, except the timeframe was so short that it looked like it was written specifically for the Superferry.

 

Yes; it looked like special purpose legislation, which again, is not permitted by State law.

 

And so, that was people you worked for who were on the other end of criticism.

 

That’s right.  And so, you know, they’re party to that process.  But again, it’s like: Well, that’s my job, I have to say it the way it is.

 

Even if it’s your job, and you say you’re doing it on the straight and narrow, what’s it like riding that wave, where basically are taking shots at you as you take that position?

 

You know, like I said, it’s my job.  This is what the constitution was intended for us to do, and if we can defend the work.  And so, the process seems so laborious, and it’s so careful.  There’s a whole system; it’s all electronic now, the working papers are electronic.  But there’s a citation system involved in our work, so every fact can be traced back to a source document.  And so, working for the Auditor’s Office is not easy.  You have to be very meticulous, and be able to defend your work. But as long as the overall conclusions are supported by this mountain of evidence, it’s all defensible.

 

I always used to think it was so funny when you’d come walking into a legislative hearing room, hearing about an audit of the administration.  I mean, how tall are you?

 

Four-ten; barely four-ten, more like four-nine.

 

Four-ten; and it was as if a towering figure were coming in, this shadow was entering the room.  Did you get that feeling, that’s how people were reacting to you?

 

Sometimes; yes.  Uh-huh; uh-huh.

 

And you wouldn’t back down, either.

 

No, because that’s not my job.  My job is to support the report, because that stands for our work.

 

Any memorable exchanges between you and someone else?

 

A few times.  I guess I was at … Ways and Means once, and I had a minority member ask me … hunched over the table like this, he says: Ms. Higa … who do you work for?  Who do you work for?  Ms. Higa, who do you work for?  And I said: The people of Hawaii.  No; who do you really work for?  The people of Hawai‘i.  What he was trying to get me to say was, I work for the majority party.  And that’s not who I worked for.  I said: The constitution says I’m the auditor, I’m the State Auditor, I work for the people.  So, he gave up.

 

Kitty Yannone, formerly known as Kitty Lagareta, started her professional journey as a volunteer fundraiser for the Ronald McDonald House.  This eventually led to her present career as the CEO of a successful company offering integrated communication services.  Kitty Yannone is known for following her instincts.  She’s bucked public opinion, and risked her business.  One of her biggest risks was in ardently supporting a Republican candidate for governor.

 

I’d met Linda Lingle when she was mayor of Maui through some volunteer work with high school students that we’d gone over there to do, and I didn’t know her very well at all.  And she called one day and wanted to meet with me.  And my husband answered the phone, and he said: The mayor of Maui wants to talk to you.  I’m like: Why does she want to talk to me?  It was like, a Sunday.  I go: What does she want?  And he goes: Why don’t you talk to her and find out.  She asked if she could meet, and she was thinking about running for governor in a couple years.  This was maybe a year or two.  And so, I went and met with her.  I think I spent five hours asking her questions, and I knew nothing about politics. And she said: That’s okay, we’ll figure it out; it’s a big race, I need a communications person, I think you’re kind of a smart person.  And I’d volunteered on a couple political things, but nobody ever wanted to use that part of me they wanted me to stuff envelopes, which was fine, or do stuff which was happy to do, and it’s important stuff.  But I was kind of intrigued by having somebody want me to be involved in the strategic side.  So, I started helping her in ’98, and I immediately got calls from a lot of people around town, friends, parents of kids.  You know, if you’re gonna do politics at this time, it’s really kinda stupid to get involved with the party that has no power.  And I said: Yeah, but I like this candidate, and I really want to do this.  And I didn’t lose any clients; no clients said: I’m gonna quit.  They just, I think, were kind of bemused.  And Linda came within five thousand votes, and it was a huge learning and a wonderful experience for me, except for the losing part. But we all took it harder than she did. And before we had even let the dust settle, she was saying: We’re gonna do this again in 2002.  And I remember thinking: Eee, I don’t know.  But of course, I was onboard for 2002.

 

Had you suffered business-wise, advocating for her?

 

You never know what you don’t get.  I think once people realized she was a serious candidate, I certainly did, you know, I think.  And I tend to vote for people, and like people more than parties.  I don’t really feel connected to parties.  I’m sort of a fiscal conservative and a social liberal. And particularly during that time, it was like somebody had branded a big R on my forehead; she’s a Republican. And all that they equate with anybody of any political party is interesting.  And so, that was a new experience for me.

 

But you weren’t following the playbook of most public relations executives.  You were following your mind and, to some extent, your heart.

 

Yeah. You know, I believe in that, because I think a lot of executives, if they can, they do that.  And I just feel even when it’s a learning experience, having the experience makes me better overall.  And that was a learning experience.  And by gosh, in 2002, we pulled it off, and that was interesting. And I thought we were done.  That was the other thing, kind of still had naïveté, not having been in politics.  It was like: Okay, we’re done, I can go back to my life.  And I remember Linda called and she said: You know, I think you would be one of the people I want to recommend for Board of Regents.  And I remember saying: Oh, why that?  I mean, I don’t know.

 

Talk about political.

 

She had to talk me into it.

 

What you got into was a mire with the president of the University, Evan Dobelle.

 

Yeah.

 

And a very slippery situation.  And your expertise is public relations, but it was very hard to manage it. 

 

Yeah; and it’s hard to be in it and manage something.  I know that.  Therapists will tell you: I can’t do therapy in my own family.  When you’re one of the players in something, and everybody’s got their own opinion, you’re not the PR managing something then, I think.

 

And as the chair of the Board of Regents.

 

Yeah.

 

I mean, I think there was a perception at some time that you were bungling it.

 

Yeah; yeah.  I actually thought I was.  I knew it was bungled, but I also had the perspective of there was a whole bunch of stuff.  You know, it was an employee-employer relationship between the Board and Evan. And there are certain laws you have to follow, confidentiality and things.  So, we were not in a position to say: Hey, we tried this, we did this. And I think the employee can say whatever they want pretty much, really.  And you see that over and over.  So, that was a disadvantage, and it was hard.  The other part was, you know, you will never know the effort we made to do it carefully.  And the sense, I think, that was there was that, I have this contract, no way you’re gonna get me out of it, and I’m not going anywhere.  And as time went on, I think it became clear the University was suffering, and we had to do something.  And in fact, our creditors told us that.  And it felt very bungled.  It felt like there were lots of pieces that you couldn’t control.  It was horrible watching the public perception of it, and knowing there was another story, but you can’t be the one to tell it. You’re the employer.  That was really rugged, I think for all of us. And yet, I found the decision we made to be the right one.  I’ve never regretted that decision.  How it unfolded and what it looked like on the outside; yeah, there was a lot of regret about that, but not the decision.  And I don’t think any of us did.

 

So, the right outcome.

 

The right outcome; and it really was.  You know, that’s the decision.  I mean, there were regents who quit because they didn’t want to go down.  They knew what needed to be done, but they didn’t want to be in the middle of all that.  And there were some amazing people who stuck around and said: This needs to be done for the good of our university.  And I think there is some vindication in what happened at Westfield College.  It’s pretty much what happened here.  That’s taken a different more public turn, I think.  But came many years later, but it was there, and we did make the right decision. And under David McClain’s leadership, we went on to have some finished capital campaign, move a lot of things forward at the University.  And I look at it that way and say: Yeah, there was some personal pain, and I could have avoided it, but maybe it wouldn’t have been the right people in the room to make the decisions that I think were good ones if all of us had done that.  I’ve never found discomfort to be an inhibiting factor.  I used to give a speech after—this was when they were saying: Fear is your friend.  I use it as like, rocket fuel.  When I feel that, it tells me to turn on all my senses and look at something carefully. But sometimes, it really energizes you. And maybe that’s what I get from my mom and dad.  ‘Cause my mom and dad, in their own way, overcame a lot of stuff in their lives, built a really nice life for them and their family, and still do.  And they had certain values, and it didn’t include being afraid, or being uncomfortable, being something that pulls you up.  Yeah.

 

I’m sure you had some sleepless nights over the regents matter.

 

Many; I think I didn’t sleep for like a whole year.

 

And that was okay with you, ‘cause you felt like you were doing the right thing?

 

I felt like we were doing the right thing, and I felt like, you know, sometimes that’s what they call—that’s what I consider when I see people go through that, and I do with my clients sometimes, who are struggling with hard decisions and want to do the right decisions.  And I think I’m grateful I’ve had that experience a few times in my life, because I think that’s what you call political courage.  I call it that when I see it in other people.  And when you’re in it, it doesn’t feel like any kind of courage; it feels like a nightmare.  But in the end, if something good came out or a group of people were able to come together to make something happen that was right or needed to happen, or bigger than they could do on their own.

 

What if it fails?

 

Yeah; it does.  I failed in ’98.  Do you know how many people wouldn’t even talk to me after ’98?  She’s the one who went to the other side, you know.  I lived through it.  I don’t know; I feel like I have to live in this world and do things that I think are important.  I can’t always defer to, that might hurt my business, or that may not.  Then I’d just be kind of a shallow person, I feel.  You have gauge with life and with issues, and with people, and the world you live in.

 

Kimberly Maile Reiko Werner, known as Kimi, is a roving ambassador for the American Clothes Company Patagonia, as well as a trained chef and self-taught artist.  She grew up in rural Maui, tagging along on ocean dives with her father as he hunted for fish to feed the family.  Unsatisfied with her early career choices, she started thinking that maybe her childhood pastimes could still be part of her life.  She learned to spearfish, became an accomplished free diver, and a national spearfishing champion.  Yet, despite the success and recognition she was gaining through her awards, she realized that spearfishing competition wasn’t the right thing for her, either.

 

You know, my first tournament, that first national championships, that was really special.  And coming back home to Hawai‘i was just the best feeling in the world, because Hawaii is just the most supportive, loyal, wonderful hometown, I think, that anyone could ever ask for, in my opinion.  And the way that people supported me was something that I just was so grateful for.  But I think after that, it was never quite the same, because I almost just felt like I just always had a title to defend.  I did continue to win in competing, but it was just never as fulfilling to me.  And I noticed that even when I would go diving, you know, on my own just for food, all I was thinking about was competition, and you know, I started to think of fish as points, rather than even as food.  And once I realized that, I didn’t like it.  I just realized it’s changing me.  You know, it’s changing this thing that’s so sacred to me.  It’s something that my parents, you know, taught me these values through this.  And it’s not about these values anymore; it’s really about trophies and winning, and recognition.  And this was the thing that really made my life fulfilling again.  Am I really gonna do this to it?  Am I gonna take it to a level where it’s all about, you know, chasing titles?  Like, I didn’t like that.  And so, just for those own personal reasons of how I found it affecting me, I did walk away from competition.

 

I saw you do a TEDx talk, and you said that even though you knew it was the right thing to do, it didn’t mean that other people weren’t very disappointed in you, and that you felt really bad about it, too.

 

Oh, definitely.  I mean, it was one of the toughest things I’ve done, because it was right in the peak of what could have been my career.  You know, I had sponsors now, and you know, people that believed in me, people that looked up to me.  And all of a sudden, I was just gonna walk away from it.  And it let down a lot of people, and definitely disappointed people. And for myself too, I mean, I did feel a sense of, you know, confusion, because I felt so lost.  I didn’t really know who I was without that.  It had become so the tunnel vision of my life, and pretty much, you know, everything that was confident-building seemed to come from that department.  It was the first time where, you know, my art started to sell more, because my name was out there more.  And it just seemed like it was something that was causing so much personal gain that for me to turn and walk away from it, I definitely felt like a loser.  You know, I felt like a waste of talent, and I felt like I didn’t quite know if I would like … you know.  I didn’t know the effects it was gonna have.  I didn’t know how much it would bum people out, or if I would just never be really supported again, really.

 

What happened, then?

 

It took me a while, actually.  It was probably a year where a lot of times I would go out diving, and all of a sudden, it wasn’t the same happy place it used to be.  You know, when I say I’m totally present in the moment, and those voices in my head go quiet, it wasn’t happening; these voices were just telling me that I was a loser, and I was failure, and you know, what are you doing, like why are you quitting.  And it was still, you know, looking at the fish as points, and so then, I’d have to get out of the water with no fish.  And then, I really would beat myself up.  Like, I’m not even good at this anymore, I can’t even dive ‘cause my mind’s all messed up.  And I got pretty depressed.  But through that, you know, I just kinda took some breaks from diving and whatnot. And then this one day, couple friends of mine like said: You need to get back in the water.  Like, let’s go.  And so, we all went out on our kayaks, and again, my brain was just still fighting itself, and I just felt like I wasn’t diving the I way I dive; I didn’t have it anymore.  And so, I’m like: Let’s just pack it up and go, guys.  I know what you’re trying to do, and I know you’re trying to bring me back, but it’s just not fun for me anymore, and there’s nothing worse than the feeling of actually being out here and it not being fun anymore, so I just want to go home.  And they said: Okay, let’s go.  But then, I said: You know what, let me just take one last drop.  And I put my spear gun on my kayak, didn’t even take it down with me, and I just took a dive.  And I had my two buddies, you know, spotting me from the surface, so it was safe.  But I just took a dive, and just told them to watch me, you know, took a dive.  And I got down to the bottom, and I just laid in the sand.  I just crossed my arms and I put my face in the sand.  And I laid there, and I let every single critic come through my head, every single voice, every single thing that I had beat myself up about, like, I just let it come.  And I listened to every single put-down, worry, concern, fear.  And they all came, one after another, and I just waited, and I just still waited, held my breath.  Okay, what else you got; give it to me.  You know, I just waited, and waited, and waited until there was nothing left.  And when there was nothing left, there was not one more voice that could say anything, you know, hadn’t already heard.  Like, it just went quiet.  And as soon as it went quiet, I opened my eyes and I’m on the bottom of the ocean, and I was just back.  I think the competition, and just more than that even, just the expectations that I was putting on myself.  And I think that can happen a lot with anybody who tries to turn their passion into a career; it can get quite confusing.  I think a lot of times, we go into jobs because we’re so passionate about our craft, and then before we know it, you know, we’re not really enjoying it anymore, and we’re going through the motions because we’re trying to hit these certain marks of society, whether it’s financial success, or I need that house, or I need that car, and before you know it, your own beautiful passion that kinda becomes this vehicle for living unauthentically, and doing things based on expectations that were never really yours to begin with, maybe. Because before, to me, it was never truly about like, oh, that moment when you spear your fish.  But it was the feeling that I felt when I would take a drop, and just the serenity that would come over me, and just this feeling of welcome home.  And when everything just turned quiet, and I was still there holding my breath, and I looked up and I just saw my two friends, and I saw the sun just sparkling through the ocean surface, and I just looked at the beautiful ocean and hear the noise, you know, the sounds of the ocean, and that was it.  I was like, that’s the feeling; that’s the feeling that satisfies me.  And soon as I came up, I didn’t even have to say anything; they knew.  They knew exactly what had happened, they knew exactly. And I smiled at them, and they were just like: You’re back.  And I’m like: I’m back.  And that was that.  And after that, then I just started diving for food again, and just realizing like that’s something sacred to me, and I’m going to protect it with everything that I have.  I’m gonna do everything I can to keep this pure.  Even if it means no success comes from this, this is mine.

 

Kimi Werner, Kitty Yannone, and Marion Higa followed their instincts and listened to their own voices to do it their way. Mahalo to these three women of Hawai‘i for sharing their stories with us.  And mahalo to you, for joining us.  For PBS Hawaii and Long Story Short, I’m Leslie Wilcox.  Aloha nui.

 

For audio and written transcripts of all episodes of Long Story Short with Leslie Wilcox, visit PBSHawaii.org.  To download free podcasts of Long Story Short with Leslie Wilcox, go to the Apple iTunes Store or visit PBSHawaii.org.

 

I still get approached by people, total strangers.  You know, I mean, it’s always complimentary.  I know it’s a curiosity.  I mean, I go into restaurants, and I know people recognize me. You can tell when you’re recognized.

 

And so, do they say: What did you really think?

 

Sometimes, people will say that.  But most of the time, people will come up and thank me for the work that we did.  So, I’d like to think that there were some good effects, for some folks, anyway.

 

Things that I have done that were much harder learning experiences than I anticipated. Ronald McDonald House was that way at times, and certainly Board of Regents, and getting involved politically. There are things in my company I don’t have a business background, and I’ve had to learn through trial and error, experience.  I wish I’d known more, but I came out the other side knowing it now, and I don’t regret much of anything.  I think, you know, I’ve had sad things and hard things, and it’s life.  And you know, as long as I keep getting up and experiencing it, I’m kinda happy.

 

I think by following that passion and really making the commitment to be true to my love for it, surprisingly, it did bring success, and just in so much more of a meaningful way.  Because now, it wasn’t just any sponsors that I was working with; it was sponsors and companies like Patagonia who truly hold the same values as me, who aren’t just, you know, trying to sell an image or, do what’s trendy, but really, really believe in trying to make this world better, trying to give back to these beautiful natural elements of our world.

 

 

 

The Power of the Hour: Insights on PBS Hawai‘i

 

CEO Message

The Power of the Hour: Insights on PBS Hawai‘i
The Power of the Hour: Insights on PBS Hawai‘i: Pictured, from left: Norm Baker - Aloha United Way Chief Operating Officer; Zi Jun - McKinley High School senior; Connie Mitchell - Institute for Human Services Executive Director; Nani Medeiros - single mother and nonprofit director

Pictured, from left: Norm Baker – Aloha United Way Chief Operating Officer; Zi Jun – McKinley High School senior; Connie Mitchell – Institute for Human Services Executive Director; Nani Medeiros – single mother and nonprofit director

Leslie Wilcox, PBS Hawai‘i President and CEOHow many times have you seen or heard something that makes you feel anxious about the future of Hawai‘i? And how many times have you shaken off the thought, as day-to-day life calls you back, with its challenges and pressures? You know that your passing thoughts will return. Your concerns persist.

 

Perhaps that’s one reason why the statewide viewership of Insights on PBS Hawai‘i has doubled in the last two years. For one hour, on Thursday evenings from 8 to 9 pm, we explore one of the quality-of-life issues that are tugging at all of us.

 

The power of the hour is the different perspectives presented. For example, on March 1, our subject was the Islands’ tens of thousands of “working poor.” The Aloha United Way had published a study showing that in 2015-2016, about a third of Hawai‘i’s working households struggled to make ends meet. (An additional 11 percent of Hawai‘i’s households were living in poverty.)

 

I was moved by Insights guest Nani Medeiros, matter-of-fact and thoughtful, as she spoke of being on the high end of the working-poor spectrum. The single mother of a young daughter runs a small nonprofit organization. Born and raised in Hawai‘i and of part-Hawaiian ancestry, Nani never expected to live anywhere else. However, she sees a changing Hawai‘i that she and her daughter may need to leave.

 

“We’re getting by just fine…but there’s never going to be any huge ‘getting ahead’ for us,” she said, “I’m almost 100 percent certain I’ll never be able to buy my own home. Saving for a [down payment] is completely out of grasp.” Last year, she said, her rent increased by $300 a month: “That’s huge.”

 

High school senior Zi Jun said that his immigrant parents live with the stress of debt, even though they work hard to support the family. For all they do to keep the family fed, clothed and housed, they derive precious little time to spend with Zi and his sister.

 

“I see my parents coming home every night, and they’re not happy,” he said.

 

Aloha United Way’s Chief Operating Officer Norm Baker and Connie Mitchell, who leads the Institute for Human Services, pointed out that there’s help available for homeless people who will accept it, but our society is missing a “preventative piece” to keep the working poor from falling into homelessness due to an illness or accident. A short-term subsidy could stabilize a highly vulnerable household and prevent society from incurring higher costs.

 

During Insights’ one hour of live television and live streaming, viewers gain reliable information, and they get an idea of what it’s like to live in someone else’s skin. Different perspectives can yield understanding. We believe a common understanding builds respect – which, in turn, can generate trust and positive action.

 

Insights is currently the second most-watched locally produced program on PBS Hawai‘i (after Nā Mele: Traditions in Hawaiian Song). According to market research, Insights draws men and women viewers in equal numbers and attracts viewers evenly from every household income level from $35,000 to $150,000.

 

Aloha nui,

 

Leslie signature

 

 

Into The Night: Portraits of Life and Death

 

Learn how an astrophysicist, preacher, philosopher and artisanal mortician grapple with universal questions of mortality. Weaving science, cryonics, near death stories and green burials, this film invites us to rethink our place in the universe.

 

 

Hawaiian Voices:

Bridging Past to Present (1998)

HAWAIIAN VOICES: 
Bridging Past to Present

 

This documentary honors the role of kupuna in preserving Hawaiian culture, and taps into the valuable memories and perspectives of three respected Hawaiian elders whose lives bridged the transition from older times into the late 20th century.

 

 




INSIGHTS ON PBS HAWAI‘I
The News Stories and Events of 2017

 

For our last live discussion of 2017, INSIGHTS ON PBS HAWAI‘I reviews the major news stories of the last year, from investigative to inspirational and more. Our guests will also explore outstanding examples of “truth to power” stories, and will offer their suggestions on the stories to watch for in 2018.

 

Our scheduled guests include INSIGHTS moderators Yunji De Nies and Daryl Huff, and Ka Leo O Hawai‘i Editor-in-Chief Spencer Oshita. A HIKI NŌ student journalist will also be participating. Beth-Ann Kozlovich is scheduled to moderate this discussion.

 

An encore of this program will air on Thursday, December 21 at 8:00 pm. INSIGHTS will be on hiatus until Thursday, January 11.

 

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462-5000 on Oahu or 800-238-4847 on the Neighbor Islands.

 

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insights@pbshawaii.org

 

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Join our live discussion using #pbsinsights

 

Dick Cavett’s Vietnam

 

This program examines the war and its impact on America through the prism of interviews conducted by the iconic host of “The Dick Cavett Show,” which featured conversation and debate from all sides of the political spectrum. The program combines interviews from Cavett’s shows with archival footage, network news broadcasts and audio/visual material from the National Archives to provide insight and perspective on this controversial chapter of American history.

 

What Drives KEN BURNS?

 

CEO Message

What Drives Ken Burns?

 

Ken Burns, Photo courtesy of Justin Altman

 

Filmmaker Ken Burns, who’s coming out with an 18-hour Vietnam War film to be shown over 10 evenings this month on PBS Hawai‘i, freely admits that he’s a workaholic; that he’s obsessive in his pursuit of archival material for his films; that his detractors dismiss him as long-winded.

 

And Burns can laugh at himself.

 

As he did when he was being honored as the greatest American documentary filmmaker of his generation. Stepping up to receive a lifetime achievement, he joked that he’d prepared a nine-part response.

 

He had to learn about laughter, since sadness and loss were prevailing childhood themes.

 

Burns, 64, is clear about what drives him and his compulsion to look at the past. It is the death of his mother, Lyla Burns, just before he turned 12. She had suffered from breast cancer for nearly a decade.

 

Burns remembers coming home from school or play every day and telling his ailing mother stories about what had happened, in effect sharing life with her. After she passed away, he recalls watching movies with father, Robert Burns, and seeing him cry, which was something his father didn’t do in other circumstances. That’s when young Burns says he grasped the storytelling power of film.

 

In a short video posted online at creativeplanetnetwork.com, Burns says: “I found myself becoming a documentary filmmaker, trying to tell stories and using American history to tell those stories that I wanted to tell. When you look back at it, the job that I try to do is to wake the dead. And it doesn’t seem too far a leap to understand, from that early decision to be a filmmaker, who I really want to wake up.”

 

From the earliest time that he can remember as a child, he says he knew his beloved mom was sick. He was not close to his father.

 

As a young man, he rejected chasing a Hollywood-type career. He says he innately knew, and was taught at Hampshire College in Amherst, Massachusetts, that “there’s much more drama in what is and what was, than in anything the human imagination can dream of.”

 

Delivering the commencement address at Stanford University last year, Burns explained that delving into history can lead to personal and professional breakthroughs.

 

“The past often offers an illuminating and clear-headed perspective from which to observe and reconcile the passions of the present moment, just when they threaten to overwhelm us,” he told new graduates.

 

Burns wants this newest film with his creative partner Lynn Novick, about the divisive Vietnam War era, to spur national healing.

 

As he told an interviewer from Vanderbilt University in Nashville, Tennessee:

 

“We caught something during the Vietnam War – like a virus – and we are still suffering from the effects of that virus today. I’m hoping my film is a bit like a vaccination – that it exposes you to a little bit of the disease to permit you to go past it and heal from it.”

 

I invite you to join me in viewing this new Burns/Novick film series, starting at 8:00 pm, Sunday, September 17, on your TV station, PBS Hawai‘i.

 

A hui hou (until next time),
Leslie Wilcoxʻ signature

 

 

LONG STORY SHORT WITH LESLIE WILCOX
Guy Kawasaki

 

Tech evangelist and social media maven Guy Kawasaki was born and raised in Kalihi and now lives in Silicon Valley. He is the Chief Evangelist for Canva, an online graphic design tool, and was the Chief Evangelist at Apple Inc. in the 1980s. Kawasaki has written 13 books and has more than 1.4 million followers on Twitter.

 

The interview was taped in September, when Kawasaki was on Oahu for the funeral of his father, former state senator Duke Kawasaki. “He did not believe in taking crap from anybody,” Kawasaki said about his father. “I would say that is something he probably passed on to me.”

 

A graduate of Iolani, Stanford and UCLA, Kawasaki said all Hawai‘i students should strive to attend college out of state, “if they can afford it and if the situation works out,” he said. “It is an eye-opening experience,” Kawasaki said. “It increases your perspective, it increases your horizons, it increases your expectation for life. And I think that if you only stay in one place, you judge things, you judge yourself in only one context. And that’s not enough.”

 

This program will be rebroadcast on Wednesday, May 11 at 11:00 pm and Sunday, May 15 at 4:00 pm.

 

Guy Kawasaki Audio

 

Download the Transcript

 

Transcript

 

I am fundamentally an introvert.

 

Even though you make seventy-five speeches a year?

 

Hard to imagine; yes. So, I am thrust into an extrovert’s role of being out there speaking to thousands of people, and all this kinda stuff. But, you know, where extroverts would love to have dinner with … the other speakers and would love to interact with the crowd, and would love to, you know, do all this kinda stuff, I hate that.

 

This self-described introvert is a highly successful entrepreneur whose voice on social media is followed by ten million people around the world. Hawai‘i born and raised Guy Kawasaki, who’s now lived longer in Northern California than he did in the islands, next, on Long Story Short.

 

Long Story Short with Leslie Wilcox is Hawai‘i’s first weekly television program produced and broadcast in high definition.

 

Aloha mai kakou. I’m Leslie Wilcox. Guy Kawasaki says he’s a Kalihi boy at heart, a kid from Kalihi Elementary who segued to prep school Iolani, then headed to a West Coast Ivy League school, and made a name for himself in Silicon Valley, marketing the Macintosh for Apple. He’s a visionary who saw the power of the computer to change lives before many others did. He’s a venture capitalist, author and speaker, business advisor, and social media guru. Kawasaki credits some of his success to an English teacher at Iolani School.

 

How was that, the entry into Iolani?

 

I don’t remember it being particularly traumatic. [CHUCKLE] I had a great time at Iolani, and a great time at Kalihi Elementary. There was uh, a teacher at Kalihi Elementary who convinced my parents that, you know, I should go into a private school. Her name was Trudy Akau. And my parents, you know, lower middleclass, made a lot of sacrifices for my sister and I. She went to University High here, and I went to Iolani. And … the rest is history.

 

And you felt comfortable there. And who were your classmates? Who did you graduate with?

 

Mufi Hannemann is one, Nathan Aipa is another, Led Castillo, Dean Okimoto of—

 

Nalo Farms.

 

–Nalo Farm. Yeah; bunch of overachievers in that class.

 

Very much so.

 

[CHUCKLE]

 

Now, in high school, we tend to stereotype people. Did you have a stereotype in high school?

 

Well, what are my choices?

 

You could be the jock.

 

[CHUCKLE] Yeah.

 

You could be the nerd.

 

I wasn’t the nerd. I was probably closer to the jock. I played for Eddie Hamada and Charles Kaaihue. I loved football. I mean, there was—there’s only—you know, you were either training for playing for football or playing football. John Kay was the biology teacher. But the one that really left a mark in me … that surfaced decades later was Harold Keables. So, Harold Keables was the English teacher, and … I took English from him twice. And he basically taught me how to write. And I think he would be amazed that I have now written thirteen books, ‘cause that was not foreseeable.

 

Did he have to nudge you a lot in class?

 

Yeah. You know, I wouldn’t say that he would list me as his prize pupil, ever. You know.

 

That must be great for teachers to hear that. You said decades later, this latent learning came out?

 

Yes; because I graduated from Iolani in 1972, and I didn’t write my first book ‘til 1987. So, that’s quite a while.

 

Well, what did Mr. Keables tell you about writing? What was the magic?

 

He had a very, very specific technique, where you wrote compositions. If you made mistakes, he would circle the mistake. So, you would have to write the sentence incorrectly as you did, you’d have to cite the rule of grammar that you broke, and then you’d have to rewrite the sentence correctly.

 

I bet you loved doing that.

 

And this is prior to word processing. I think it was prior to even pens.

 

[CHUCKLE]

 

So, that was a pain. So, you quickly learned about …

 

Don’t do that.

 

–splitting infinitives, and you know, what’s the difference between an independent clause and a dependent clause, and why you need a conjunction between two independent clauses, and a comma, and … that was drilled into us.

 

Did you ever have a chance to tell your teacher that? That …

 

No; he died before I achieved any kind of writing. [CHUCKLE]

 

Someone who had a stronger influence on Guy Kawasaki was his father, the late Hawai‘i politician Duke Kawasaki, who died at age ninety-four, just a few days before this conversation took place in 2015. Duke Kawasaki was a dissident Democrat who bucked Hawai‘i’s status quo. Guy and his sister, Jean Okimoto, who attended this taping, both remember their father admonishing them repeatedly not to take any guff from people.

 

My father was a State Senator for twenty or twenty-two years, beginning in about 1968, I think.

 

And he was an independent Democrat, and a maverick.

 

He was Democrat, liberal, maverick. Although, he supported the death penalty in there, so certain things. He fought the unions all the time. He fought George Ariyoshi all the time.

 

He surprised people too, with his positions.

 

Yes.

 

Yeah.

 

He was enigmatic, let’s say.

 

And I’ve heard him described as both assertive and aggressive.

 

I never saw him that way, but you know, I guess … well, let’s just say he did not believe in taking crap from anybody. And I would say that is something he probably passed on to me. I don’t know if, behaviorally or genetically, but somehow it got to me.

 

He had a lot of different jobs.

 

Yes.

 

A lot of hyphenations there.

 

[CHUCKLE]

 

I know he was a fireman, a stevedore, fire dispatch, state senator, band leader.

 

Yeah. And he was … I think he was number three in the City and County of Honolulu. There was Fasi and Jeremy Harris …

 

As managing director?

 

And then, my father. I think my father was the third guy.

 

And again, Fasi was a very independent Democrat.

 

Another tough person to figure out. Yes.

 

Right.

 

Yes.

 

Was he hard for you to figure out?

 

You know, I mean, he was my father; right? I never looked at it that way. I saw how tough politics was. You’re constantly out. You’re constantly, you know, being asked for stuff. I will never go into politics. Really. [CHUCKLE] It’s too hard; right?

 

When Guy Kawasaki graduated from Iolani School, he had no idea what he wanted to do with his life professionally. But he did know he wanted to attend college, something his father hadn’t done, and he wanted to do so away from Hawai‘i.

 

I went from Iolani to the mainland.

 

To Stanford.

 

To Stanford. But that sounds more impressive today than it was back then. Seriously. ‘Cause there’s no way I would get into Stanford today.

 

I think it was always hard to get into Stanford.

 

Boy, I’ll tell you, man. You know, I definitely didn’t have … back in those days, it was sixteen hundred, not twenty-four hundred. I did not have sixteen hundred SATs, and I was not straight A. But also back then, believe it or not, Japanese Americans were oppressed; right? So, we were a minority.

 

So, you’re saying that’s what helped you get in?

 

I think so.

 

And you did well at Stanford?

 

Well, you know, one life lesson I learned is, you know, it’s not how you get in; it’s what you do once you got in. So … yeah, to this day, I don’t know how I got into Stanford.

 

And what was that experience like for you?

 

Oh, it was fantastic. Because … you know, I think everybody from Hawai‘i, every student, if they can afford it and if the situation works out, they should go to school on the mainland too. It is an eye-opening experience. And it increases your perspective, it increases your horizons, it increases your expectations for life. And I think that if you only stay in one place … you judge things, you judge yourself in only one context. And that’s not enough. So, you know, I go to the mainland, I say, Wow, you know, you could start a company. You don’t have to go work for a hotel or for a store in Ala Moana Center. I mean, you could start it, you could be with Apple computer, my god. So, that opened my eyes. And … I never looked back.

 

When did you have a plan?

 

Arguably, I still don’t have a plan.

 

[CHUCKLE] You majored in psychology.

 

I majored in psychology, because that was an easy major. My father wanted me to go to law school, so like a good Asian, I went to law school. I hated it; quit after two weeks.

 

Why’d you quit?

 

I couldn’t stand it. They were, you know, basically telling me that I was crap, and they’re gonna remake my mind. My delicate psyche could not handle it at that point. I’ve gotten over this problem. So, I quit law school. Called up my father, told him I quit law school, I think he’s gonna disown me. He says, You know what? As long as you’re something by twenty-five, we’re happy. Oh; why didn’t you tell me that before I went to law school? So anyway, I quit law school, couldn’t stand it. And actually, with some hindsight, I think, you know … many lawyers take twenty, twenty-five years to discover they’re miserable. I figured that out in two weeks.

 

[CHUCKLE]

 

That’s how smart I was. So, I come back from quitting law school. I worked for Nelson K. Doi.

 

Your father’s political ally.

 

Yeah; at the time, he was lieutenant governor of Hawai‘i. And he was starting the Hawai‘i Commission on Crime, so I worked on that project. And the following year, I went to UCLA to get an MBA.

 

Had you seen a bit of Silicon Valley at that point? Was that what you were gunning for?

 

At Stanford, definitely. Because you know, that’s the epicenter of Silicon Valley.

 

And so, was that on your mind in getting an MBA?

 

Oh, absolutely. I wanted to start a career, wanted to be an entrepreneur. And back then, believe it or not, you know, an MBA was necessary for many careers. It’s not as necessary today, but it was really necessary back then.

 

A few years after receiving his Masters in Marketing, Guy Kawasaki landed a job at Apple, where the ornery visionary Steve Jobs presided. In 1983, Kawasaki was part of the team responsible for marketing the Macintosh, first to software developers, and then to consumers. He became an innovator in what’s called Evangelist Marketing, drawing on word of mouth to drive brand loyalty.

 

Evangelism comes from Greek words meaning, bringing the good news. So, where a salesperson might say, you know, Give me twenty-five hundred bucks, I’ll give you this computer; we were trying to bring the good news or increase creativity and productivity.

 

What a great job title.

 

Yeah.

 

Chief evangelist for Macintosh.

 

Well, that wasn’t the first job title; it wasn’t that simple. So, I met a guy in college from Phoenix, Arizona; his name is Mike Boich. And we just immediately hit it off, because we shared a passion for cars. And we became very good friends, very good friends to this day. When I started going to school at UCLA, I started working part-time for a jewelry company. [CHUCKLE] So, I was counting diamonds, and they gave me a job after I graduated, so I was in the jewelry business for about five years. And then, Mike Boich calls me up and says, You know, I’m working on this really interesting project called Macintosh, you gotta come see it. So, I go see it, there’s a job, I didn’t get that job. Which in hindsight was okay. He calls me back in a few more months, and now there’s this other job, which is the software evangelist job. You know, I don’t know how I got past the C-job filter, but somehow, I did, and so, I became a software evangelist at Apple, having you know, I a psych degree, dropping out of law school, marketing degree from UCLA. And the rest is history.

 

So, first, you were getting people to write software.

 

Yes.

 

And then, when you moved up to chief evangelist, you were talking to prospective buyers.

 

Yes; of not just writing software, but just regular consumers.

 

And you know, I’m tickled by the evangelist name. But it was not just a branding word; it’s you know, marketing.

 

No, no; we truly believed—a guy named Mike Murray was the director of marketing at the Macintosh division, and our approach was that Macintosh was not just another computer that you sold in terms of, you know … certain amount of RAM, and certain amount of hard disk storage. Macintosh was a way, it was a religion, it was life-changing, it was you know, universe-denting. So, you don’t just sell that kinda stuff; you evangelize it.

 

When you worked for Macintosh, you were working all the time.

 

Yes.

 

Right? I’ve heard stories of total burnout. I mean, how many hours a week did you work?

 

Well, we had a tee-shirt that said, Sixty hours a week, and loving it. And that might have been low. But you know what? We were on a cause; right? We were on a mission from God. And we were gonna do in the IBM PC, we were gonna increase people’s creativity and productivity, we were gonna save people from a George Orwellian totalitarian 1984 nightmare. So, if you’re doing that, you know, sixty hours a week is not so much.

 

And that ferment of Silicon Valley and all that dynamic stuff led you to all kinds of other ventures.

 

Yes; let me to entrepreneurship and writing, and all kinds of stuff. The Macintosh division was a remarkable experience. And … you know, I am honored to have been there. Steve Jobs was a remarkable person; just absolutely amazing. So difficult to work for. The New York Times recently had this article about working at Amazon, and you know, how people cry and, you know, not everybody’s supporting you, and sometimes you know, people raise objections to what you’re working on. [CHUCKLE] I look at that, and I just like, laugh. You know, you’re telling me your life is tough. Let me tell you what it was like working for Steve Jobs.

 

And you had to have a thick skin to work where you did. You developed it, if you didn’t have it.

 

Well, you needed a thick skin, but you also needed a thick brain. [CHUCKLE] Because, you know, if you’re dumb and thick-skinned, you would not have survived at Apple. You had to have both.

 

So, that gave you confidence to do a lot of other things.

 

Well …

 

Venture capitalist.

 

Yeah; you know, it gave me confidence to do a lot of other things, but with hindsight, maybe if I had less confidence and I just stayed an Apple employee, it would different; right?

 

Because?

 

‘Cause I quit Apple twice, and if I had stayed either time, I would not be here right now. [CHUCKLE]

 

You would be retired in the Bahamas.

 

Yeah. No, I’d be standup paddleboarding right now or, you know, I’d be at the Halekulani. [CHUCKLE] But I didn’t, so you know. But listen; don’t cry for me. I’m okay. [CHUCKLE]

 

I mean, do you go back there and regret that a lot?

 

I don’t lay awake at night about it. But you know, you have to at some point in your life say, Wow, just imagine if I had stayed at Apple. ‘Cause … that move probably cost me … several hundred million dollars. Yeah. I could really pledge a lot to PBS. [CHUCKLE].

 

Much later, Guy Kawasaki would again become a chief evangelist, this time for an online graphic design company based in Australia named Canva. Coming out of Apple, Kawasaki founded several software companies and a venture capital firm. He also started writing. Kawasaki is the best-selling author of more than a dozen books, including a classic about the use of social media. He’s an acknowledged master of social media, with ten million followers around the world at the time of this conversation. This kind of engagement requires relentless and interesting postings. This helps generate interest in his personal brand and in the Canva Company, and in his books, which generate interest in his major public speaking events.

 

Social medial is the best thing that ever happened to me, ‘cause it’s fast, free, and ubiquitous. I’m on it all the time. I also have virtual assistants helping me on it all the time. So, I’m an introvert who loves social media, because it allows me to avoid extrovert activity. [CHUCKLE]

 

And you know, to succeed at it, you could be Tweeting to no one, but you have a huge following. How do you pick your content? How do you make it work?

 

Well, funny you should mention that, you know, seeing as how we’re at PBS, and you know, PBS NPR. I love all that kinda stuff; right? So, I call this the NPR model. Maybe I should call it the PBS model. But the way I look at it is, if you provide great content … all the time, not promotional, great content, content that is informative, analytical … entertaining, valuable, then you earn the right to then run a promotion. Your promotion is the pledge drive. My promotion is, use Canva … read my book. But I feel that I cannot make those kinda social media posts, read my book, use Canva, until I earn … the right to do that. And the way I earn the right to do that is to provide value. And the way I provide value is, I create or curate content.

 

So, what makes a great Tweet or social media item on Facebook?

 

This is very easy.

 

How do you make it work?

 

At the highest level, a great social media post has to pass the re-share test. And by this, I mean it is something that’s so valuable, so interesting, so entertaining that people not only like it, they also send it to people who follow them. So, this is the difference between just tipping a waiter or tipping a valet, versus telling people to eat someplace. Right? So, every time I squeeze the trigger—and I’ve trained all the people who help me. Every time you squeeze the trigger, think in your mind; Is this something that’ll be re-shared?

 

You like lists, too.

 

I love lists. I think that in the social media world, a bulleted or numbered list is the key to make a point.

 

And you’re irreverent.

 

I’d say so; yes. [CHUCKLE] Yeah.

 

And basically, it’s who you are; right? You don’t put on a personality.

 

No, you know, really, I have enough problems maintaining who I am, much less trying to fake people out. I can’t do two; one is hard enough. So, I’m very much a Wiziwig kinda guy. I mean, you might not like what you see, but that’s what it is.

 

Guy Kawasaki, a husband and father of four, is a sought-after keynote speaker around the globe. He gives fifty to seventy-five speeches a year to audiences ranging from Fortune 500 companies to high school graduates.

 

Next week, I’m speaking in Austin … New Orleans, Cleveland, and Helsinki, in five days. That’s the nature of my travel.

 

In how many days; five days?

 

Five days, I’m speaking in those cities. So … that’s not trivial. My speeches are all based on my books. There are really four or five speeches that I give regularly: enchantment, innovation, entrepreneurship, social media, lessons of Steve Jobs. Those are like the five I give. I always use a top ten, because I think a top ten adds a lot of structure. I always use PowerPoint, not because I need PowerPoint as a crutch, but I need PowerPoint so that people can see and hear what I’m talking about.

 

And it builds.

 

Yeah; and it makes it makes it more effective. At this point, do I get nervous before a speech? No. I always use the bathroom right before a speech, but I am not particularly nervous. The secret for me and the advice I have for other people; I’ll give you some tips. So, number one, if you want to be a good speaker, you need to have something to say. [CHUCKLE] Okay, so duh.

 

Don’t forget that.

 

Duh. And if you don’t have anything to say, you should just shut up and decline. Tip number two is, you should … rehearse. And and for me, in a sense, I’ve given speeches thousands of times, I have had thousands of rehearsals. So now, it’s second nature. When I started, I was very nervous, but now … [CLUCKS TONGUE]. And so, that is because just repetition.

 

You did a graduation speech where you gave, I think, ten pieces of advice for your audience members. And they were really interesting. And you said essentially, Yeah, you’re gonna become your parents.

 

That’s right.

 

And you knew it.

 

Yeah. And I am becoming my father. I can’t find my car keys, I can’t find my wallet. And … I really love photography, and he really loved photography. The only place I’m not like my father is music; he loved music, and I could care less about music.

 

He actually named you for a musician.

 

Guy Lombardo; yeah.

 

Guy Lombardo.

 

So, the good news is, I could have been Carmen Lombardo.

 

Who is her brother.

 

Right. Yeah.

 

Why did he name you after Guy Lombardo?

 

He loved music. You know, he played multiple instruments, and he led a big band.

 

And you never got into music.

 

Not at all.

 

What were some of the other points you said in this graduation speech?

 

Oh, well, number one was, live off your parents as long as possible, which I may come to regret telling people that. And another is … take up a sport that you can play your whole life. You know, at sixty-one, it’s hard to play football. [CHUCKLE] Right? So, take up tennis or in my case, hockey or standup paddleboarding, or you know, something that you can play the rest of your life.

 

And the reason you wanted students to live off their parents was so that they could travel and really experience some life.

 

That’s a mistake I made. You know, I went through Stanford in three and a half years, I came in with a lot of credits, I took a heavy load. Stanford had these campuses in Japan and Italy, and South America, and you know, all that. I never did any of that, ‘cause I wanted to get out of there as fast as possible. It was a big mistake.

 

And you turn down a lot of speaking—

 

Yeah; you know, I have four children, and I’m sixty-one years old, so I I made a rule that if I get on an airplane … it’s gonna be for money. [CHUCKLE] It’s not gonna be for strategic reasons. Although, I have to say, I’m here, not for money.

 

Yay! It’s a nonprofit. Thank you.

 

Right. But generally speaking, I’m not on a plane because it’s taking me away from my family. And so, you know, it’s a very objective test that you either want me bad enough to pay, or you don’t. And if you don’t, it’s okay.

 

Although he speaks to thousands and thousands of people in person at a time, sometimes filling arenas, Guy Kawasaki says he doesn’t like crowds.

 

Because it just sucks energy out of me. And at these events … you may think it’s fun to go to a cocktail reception and, you know, maybe meet the person. And so, that’s your positon on it. But for me, I’m on from the minute I get there ‘til the minute I’m off, ‘cause everybody wants something from me. And … noblesse oblige, you have an obligation to do that, but I’m not looking for more of that. And so, that drives some people crazy that, you know, they can’t understand how I could have this attitude. But it’s the only attitude I can take, to survive.

 

And yet, you communicate with millions of people.

 

I do.

 

And you work hard at it. I’ve seen you. I mean, you’re busy with the thumbs.

 

Well, but you know what? That is on my own terms. I actually find that energizing. So, maybe I’m a social media extrovert, but I’m not an in-person extrovert. The social media, I can do whenever I want, I have my agenda. You know, it’s not necessarily back and forth. I’m not necessarily thinking. I also, believe it or not—this may be rationalization, but I have something called Meniere’s disease. And so, Meniere’s disease has three symptoms. There’s tinnitus, which is a ringing in this ear, hearing loss in this ear, and attacks of vertigo. So … going to a cocktail party where there’s music, loud noise, and hard floors and walls … is one of the most difficult things for me, ‘cause I literally—this side of my head is just gone. I mean, I just cannot hear. It’s very difficult. So, we’re in this perfect condition here; right? So, you would never tell anything like that. But right now, my ear is ringing, and it is almost painful. So, it’s draining for me.

 

Is it continuous? Is it twenty-four hours?

 

Twenty-four by seven, by three sixty-five, for the rest of my life. Now, don’t get me wrong; okay? I’m not trying to get sympathy. Because you know what? If somebody said, Well, you can have Meniere’s or you can have pancreatic cancer, you know, what would you pick; right? So, nobody ever died from Meniere’s. So, I think it is maybe … the worst of the best diseases. There’s no cure for it. My interpretation is that I listen to so many crappy pitches during half an hour coffees [CHUCKLE] that it has physically ruined half my brain.

 

So, you must have less coffee meetings.

 

That’s right; that’s right. So, this is a physical reason why I shouldn’t meet.

 

Mahalo to Guy Kawasaki from Kalihi, to Northern California, with a following around the world, for sharing your remarkable story with us. And thank you, for joining us. For PBS Hawai‘i and Long Story Short, I’m Leslie Wilcox. Aloha, hui hou.

 

For audio and written transcripts of all episodes of Long Story Short with Leslie Wilcox, visit PBSHawaii.org. To download free podcasts of Long Story Short with Leslie Wilcox, go to the Apple iTunes Store or visit PBSHawaii.org.

 

When I was at Stanford, there were these Parent Days, and I used to see my friends’ parents come in their Porches and Lamborghinis, and Maseratis and all that, and Mercedes. And I said, Someday, I’m gonna buy a car like that. And I have bought cars like that. And … you know, this is forty years old or, you know, forty, fifty years old. Then I drive to Stanford, and I look at those kids playing basketball, and their biggest care in the world is … midterms. And I say, I wish I was back at Stanford. And they’re looking at me saying, I wish I was driving a Porsche. [CHUCKLE]

 

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