TED: Start with Why (by Simon Sinek)

Reading time: 1 minute

How do you explain when things don’t go as we assume? Simon Sinek poses the question, then breaks it down using the Golden Circle to explain what separates leaders from those who lead. The Great and inspiring leaders all think, communicate, and act the same exact way, which happens to be the opposite of everyone else, Simon contends.

Why were the Wright brothers the first to figure out controlled man-powered flight despite lacking the same funding, media support, and best minds money could buy as that of other teams?

Why did 250,000 people show up on the right day at the right time at the National Mall in Washington in 1963 for Dr. King’s speech when no invitations were sent, and there was no Internet to spread the word?

Why is Apple so innovative when they’re just a computer company like everyone else with the same access to the same talent, media, and agencies?



People don’t buy what you do, they buy WHY you do it.

The goal isn’t to do business with everyone who needs what you have, but rather to do business with those who believe what you believe. People want to be a part of what it is you do because of why you do it.

The law of diffusion of innovation suggests that to have mass market success you need to achieve the tipping point of 15-18% market penetration (the chasm between early adopters and the early majority).


My opinion of Simon’s message is while it was a good talk, I feel like this wasn’t so much about great leadership as it was about effective marketing. I believe great leaders have a natural curiousity, are not risk averse, and are intrinsically empathetic. Empathy, being the ability to see things from others’ perspectives, is where Apple and many other successful organizations excel, often through user analysis and testing early and often during the design process.

How did Simon’s talk sit with you? I’d love to know your opinion.

  • Aleksandr Solodilov

    Very wise start to analyze all of our actions . We are all different . Different – our past, present and future. Each has a special thought, a special discussion of personal road in life. Experience centuries tells us : Look before you leap , but once you cut only . And the key of our life is always the perennial question : Why? Individual question . A very complex question , as our whole life . Single answer will never be , as there will never be the same paths in life. Thank you for this post , for the reminder to treat more otvetsvennost our solutions to our “why? .” This will make us more honest – especially to themselves . Thank you again . With best Regards .(Linkedin)

  • http://www.servicejunkie.co.uk Richard Arnott

    This TED talk is about both effective (content) marketing and effective leadership, but with perhaps less emphasis on the latter. What it is NOT about is empathy.

    The point of his talk, as I perceive it, is to raise awareness in the potential value derived from creating meaningful selling propositions (MSP’s) that resonate with the broader majority.