TED: Start with Why (by Simon Sinek)

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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.