Always Start With Why

Start With Why by Simon Sinek

Remember when Oprah gave away a car to everyone in the audience of her talk show?

Do you remember what car she gave away?

Or even what brand of car it was?

My guess is that you do not.

According to Simon Sinek, this is because this giveaway didn’t tie in to what the company was all about.

Sinek writes, “For a message to have real impact, to affect behavior and seed loyalty, it needs more than publicity. It needs to publicize some higher-purpose cause or belief to which those with similar values and beliefs can relate. Only then, can the message create some lasting mass market success . . . Why the stunt is being performed, beyond the desire to generate press must be clear.”

The Oprah car event benefited Oprah because she seemed to really care about her audience. She was generous on her program often. This stunt fit into her “why.” It was what her show was all about. Conversely, no one was sure why the car manufacturer donated their cars. It didn’t make sense to their “why” and so their role in the stunt was forgotten.

Creative Zen vs the iPod

“Apple didn’t invent the MP3 player but it clearly ruled the market and completely eclipsed the original creator and manufacturer, Creative Technology.”

Creative is responsible for the Soundblaster audio technology that enabled home computers to have sound. This was a huge development in home computing and paved the way for the iPod. The curious thing is that Creative came out with a much superior product well before the iPod was launched.

Apple didn’t introduce the iPod until nearly two years after the Creative Zen entered the market. “Given their history in digital sound, Creative is more qualified than Apple to introduce a digital music project.” So why did they fail?

Here is the answer . . . We didn’t feel the need to own an MP3 player until the iPod had become popular. Apple gave us a reason to have such a device, whereas Creative simply told us what their product was. The very succinct phrase, “1,000 songs in our pocket” was all we needed to buy in. The why was there and it was very apparent.

I didn’t know this history at the time, but did a lot of research before buying an MP3 player. I decided to purchase a Creative Zen because, for all intents and purposes, it is a superior product. Creative could have ruled the market if they had put forth their message of why instead of what.

This was an interesting read. It is something that I have known in education for some time. If I want to motivate students, I need to teach to a sense of purpose. The students need to know why we are doing what we are doing in class. This helps them buy into the work and enhances learning. Maybe starting with why is what we all need to do.

My List of 2018 Reads – coming soon

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *