Guy Kawasaki, Citing Apple Parallel, Is Now Advising Motorola

3/6/13Follow @wroush

Guy Kawasaki, the former Apple evangelist, startup founder, venture investor, and author, is famous in Silicon Valley for his entrepreneurial enthusiasm and verve. When Kawasaki decides he likes something, he really likes it—and he goes to bat for it in a deep way. Obviously this happened for Apple when he was there in the 1980s, but we’ve seen it since then with brands like Evernote and Google+.

Well, word spread through the blogosphere last week that Kawasaki has a new favorite company: Motorola.

Kawasaki said he has accepted a gig as an advisor to the company, which makes Android smartphones and became part of Google in an acquisition that cleared its last regulatory hurdles last year. Kawasaki shared the news on his Google+ page, saying that he’ll be helping Motorola with “product design, user interface, marketing, and social media.” One of his first steps: creating a Google+ community for discussion of mobile devices.

Xconomy  contacted Kawasaki to ask why he felt motivated to join Motorola. “There was a large number parallels between Apple in 1988 and Motorola in 2013,” he replied. “As an evangelist, I couldn’t resist this opportunity.”

Thanks to his work as Apple’s first software evangelist during the early Macintosh era—1983 to 1987—Kawasaki has long been identified with Apple and its products. But in a series of interviews last year, including this one with Dan Lyons of ReadWrite, he said he had stopped using Apple smartphones and tablets. He said at the time that he preferred Android to iOS, Apple’s mobile operating system, and that he felt Android hardware makers such as Samsung and Motorola were now innovating faster than Apple.

“Motorola reminds me of the Apple of 1998: a pioneer in its market segment, engineering-driven, and ripe for innovation,” Kawasaki said in his Google+ post.

Kawasaki’s point about “ripeness” echoes something Google chief financial officer and senior vice president Patrick Pichette told The Verge last week. Pichette said he isn’t entirely happy with the Droid Razr and Motorola’s other current Android models, and that Google hasn’t yet put its stamp on the company. “We’ve inherited 18 months of pipeline that we actually have to drain right now, while we’re actually building the next wave of innovation and product lines,” Pichette said.

That’s likely where Kawasaki will come in.

Wade Roush is a contributing editor at Xconomy. Follow @wroush