Simon Sinek makes some excellent points in this TED video but I have to admit, I don’t agree. Just in case you don’t watch the video, his supposition is that why something is done is the most important thing when creating products, services or anything for that matter. I believe intent is important and have gone as far as questioning whether or not people should be marketing things if they’re not the target market. I also know that if something is poorly built, no one will care why you did it.
I liked this argument using Apple and the Wright Brothers as examples and for me the difference is passion. Passion feeds the why. Why am I creating this product? Passion should always be the reason you’re doing something. (At least as much as possible.) If it isn’t, the time you spend will seem never ending. I agree with Sinek’s discussion around the what and the how as theyâ€™re used today as differentiators.
If Sinek is right, Appleâ€™s relies on the fact that people have heard Apple’s message. I think it’s easy to get caught up in the “of course they’ve heard the message”, mainly because we as technologists-business people live it. But Apple doesn’t lead with a message. They lead with execution. They lead with how it works. How it looks. How something is done allows the user to create their own why.
I do believe that social can bring us much closer to businesses that tap into our reason to buy. Our why. I just don’t believe that if your product or service is sub-par and you’re users share your passion that you’ll generate much revenue. That’s exactly what happened to the US car industry.