Thursday, April 14, 2011

Great TED Talk on Inspirational Leadership

Simon Sinek has a simple but powerful model for inspirational leadership all starting with a golden circle and the question “Why?” His examples include Apple, Martin Luther King, and the Wright brothers — and as a counterpoint Tivo, which (until a recent court victory that tripled its stock price) appeared to be struggling.

HT: Bob Wright


At 4/14/2011 11:06 AM, Blogger Jorge said...

so, if what motivates people to purchase from select brands is that they buy into the why not the what and organizations who focus on the why not the what -- and why is not the profit motive -- tend to do better, then what does that mean for those who say that innovation and creation are driven by the profit motive? if the profit motive is merely a by-product of the why, then how one argue that it is the pursuit of profit that yields the kinds of products that people connect with and ultimately become profitable? it seems that it is the motive to find people who believe as you believe that is the motive for innovation rather than profit being the motive. his wright bros example seems to show this.

At 4/14/2011 12:33 PM, Blogger Free2Choose said...


I would not want to fly on the plane that the Wright Brothers invented and I am sure you would not either. Although innovative, it was a primitive design barely capable of flight. If it were of no potential economic importance (i.e. offered no promise of a profitable return), no doubt that's where it would have remained. Fortunately, profit-seeking companies like McDonnell-Douglas, Hughes Helicopter, Boeing, etc. took that primitive design and developed it into something that I am comfortable flying to Orlando for the Weekend on.

At 4/14/2011 5:38 PM, Blogger Finbar said...

I confess to being a bit mystified by this piece. His examples don't seem compelling. He did not at all communicate the "why" of Apple to me, and I'm not actually sure I know what it is. The Wright brothers were most assuredly interested in making their fortune, and pursued it avidly, quickly moving to sell airplanes to the military and suing rivals for patent infringement. Langley was a scientist, most likely primarily motivated by intellectual curiosity but, given his status at the time, also by pride - and his failures were ridiculed, which may explain why he discontinued his attempts at flight. And, finally, counterexamples to the "whypothesis" are relatively easy to cite: BMW offers "the ultimate driving machine" to the emotions, while Toyota offers practicality and value for money to the thinking brain - and Toyota sells far more cars.

At 4/14/2011 6:50 PM, Blogger Bill L said...

different buyers have different motivations. The early adopters are certainly motivated differently than the late majority, for example. There are lots of examples of the early adopter crowd buying for the intrinsic vs. extrinsic characteristics; organic food 10 yrs ago, latest IT tech any time, newest Corvette, high end BMW, etc. A group of converts following a preacher. And the latest Gucci handbag. This guy's pitch is overly simplistic, tickles the elitist funny bone, and has an entertaining delivery. A winner at TED. His insight (nested circles and the limbic brain) isn't transferable in any new way; just a rehash of marketing 101. Geoffry Moore laid this all out fifteen years ago.

At 4/14/2011 10:54 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

A curious mishmash of crap and marketing hype mixed with some valid points. Apple is far from innovative: Microsoft had been putting out tablets for a decade before the iPad and I wondered aloud what was taking Apple so long to get into tablets, a year or two before they finally demonstrated the iPad. It's a bit scary that this speaker seemingly wants to use this "Why" motive for marketing, like Apple does, as their fans are notorious for their cultish behavior. And I'd argue that Apple's success is driven by excellent strategic decisions more than anything else, not by the silly marketing, which is just the icing on top. Apple got into tablets very close to when the hardware became good enough so that you could easily carry it, Microsoft just got in too early. That was the real good "How" decision that Steve Jobs made, not any silly "Whys" about marketing.


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