Start With Why


We want to inspire people. We want to lead well. We want to be effective when we speak. Simon Sinek gives a good explanation of how to do this with his book “Start with Why.” He uses the leading brands in our times to show who marketed first with why, and who marketed first with what. <- the less inspiring bit that is better off following  the why. The contrast brands, the ones starting with what in their explanation of who they are, aren’t leading in sales at the moment.
He talks about customer loyalty from this angle. When people believe what you believe, they want to stick with you even when it’s inconvenient or more costly to do that. And, that’s what we want in our businesses right? To serve the part of the world that believes the same way we do, and for them to see that and want to work with us. This felt another angle to look at Seth Godin’s “Tribes” idea.
Sniek uses one page to talk about dating and how similar it is to the business world. The ladies don’t want to hear three hours of what you do. They want to hear why you do what you do, and that you enjoy it. It’s a very concise summary of the difference between a good date and a bad date and a highly advisable read for any single person.
And, he uses an analogy of what you buy at the grocery store to speak to actions lining up. If you have health foods and oreos in your cart, strangers don’t know what you’re about. When everything in the basket has the same essence, we get who you are. Same thing with business, when everything you sell lines up with why you exist, and when that lines up with what we find important, we want to do business with you.
Basically this is a well crafted call to be authentic and remember that facts and fancy ways of doing things aren’t really what people are looking for. (Even when they say they shop places b/c of superior quality and value.)


An inspirational book by market dude Seth Godin explaining that humans need to belong. And, if you put good content out consistently, you are doing humanity a service. You are trailblazing so a group people can join. We need these groups. Please be brave and make good art 🙂


Seth Godin has one of the most read blogs in the world because he is sharing his work [art] generously and being unique etc.

He’s rocked the business world with books on marketing amazing products, being realistic about what you want to commit your life to, etc.

Linchpin, his most recent book, is subtitled “Are You Indispensable?” Good question. In this working world meets philosophy book, he argues that, in everything we do, we are either making art, or placing ourselves in a machine. Then he defines art as emotionally connecting story. At our depths, isn’t connection what we want anyway?

He also uses tribes to explain generosity. Back when we had that sort of culture, interest wasn’t charged to tribe members. Our society today runs smoothly because everything is transactional and we feel good about that. According to Seth Godin, artists have a compulsion to give even without the transaction happening. They simply must. That sounds like a more fleshed out version of the phrase “don’t follow a creative career for the money.”

Fun quotes:

Creativity is an instinct to produce.

Artists think on the edge of the box because that is where things get done. That is where the audience is…that’s where you can make an impact.

The only purpose of starting is to finish.


Basically, he gives a beautiful philosophical picture for why it is good for us as individuals to create art while showing that art can be in everything.

The 80/20 Principle

Richard Koch took an idea floating around the business world and delivered it to the masses in a book.

Big picture, the idea is: twenty percent of what you do brings you eighty percent of the effectiveness. So, 1/5 of your work day you’re working on what gives you 4/5 of your income. Negatively, 4/5 of your problems come from 1/5 of your clients etc.

Koch argues that if you can identify what the 20% most effective work is, eliminate or delegate the other 80%, and do another 20% of that same work, you will have 60% more free time than previously while producing the same 80% and another 80% total: 160%. In my peers, I see people who are doing this.

The challenge is peeling the outer layer to see what uses of time are actually the most productive (and the most unproductive) then making the difficult decisions to include more of the top 20% in our day and less to none of the bottom 20%.

In making those decisions, we often come up against guilt. In fact, Koch argues that the 80% that we are doing that is less productive is probably completely what other people think we should be doing. He has a few other points that total the best explanation I’ve ever read on why/how to let go of guilt.

Further in the book he talks about this principle in relation to our social lives. Eighty percent of the closeness and connection we feel comes from twenty percent of the time we spend with people. And, Eighty percent of the negative draining interactions we have come from twenty percent of the people we are around. This topic is easier to peal the layer back on than business productivity, but equally difficult for decision making.

Next he applies these numbers to happiness in general. He suggests writing out when in your life you have been happiest, and then when in your life you have been least happy and points out that it would be wise to structure your life to include more of what makes you happy, and less of what doesn’t. If you’re following his time management suggestions, you have the flexibility to do this.

He ends with short thoughts on education, philanthropy, and politics that I found more difficult to follow than the rest of the book.

But, there you have it.

I recommend this book for anyone who:
-wants the best in life
-has a drive to be productive
-feels constantly busy/swamped in life
-is restructuring their life b/c of a recent move etc.
-wants to be happier

An Efficient Place

Ok, there is a (start up) company that knew they wanted their users to love them, so they researched what makes first dates great, and what communication patterns hold marriage together. For the marriage research, they actually studied the guy that is quoted by Malcolm Gladwell and others. The guy who can watch a silent video of a couple talking for three minutes and predict if they will be together or divorced in ten years with stunning accuracy. From “dating” they realized initial impression was incredibly important. From the sticking it out research, they saw the four predictors of divorce: criticism, contempt, defense, and stone walling and made sure their interactions with the customer were the opposite.

Their Genius ideas:

  1. Every employee must be serving customer support for one full day
    1. effect:
      1. the engenieers knew what needed the most attention
      2. there were social reasons to do a very good job with the customer support, and to do a very good job fixing the original problem
  2. Meetings and things outside of the company were required to happen on Friday
  3. Friday was a half day
  4. This left three full days (requiredly full) days to work on their actual jobs
    1. effect:
      1. Parkinson’s Law used for the positive

It’s flabbergasting that a start up had this schedule!

Details/inspiration here:

Cash Flow Quadrant

Robert Kiyosaki has written a few books. This one is shaped around the idea that people get money from one of four ways.

E be an employee      –       B be a business owner
S be self employed     –       I  be an investor

Of course, people can have be in two at the same time, but they tend to associate strongest with one group. And there are similarities between the two on the right and the two on the left.

He talks about how you can identify which area someone feels comfortable in by what they say… E’s talk about security, S’s talk about freedom, I don’t recall what B’s and I’s talk about. He points out that some employee situations are well suited for the self motivated self employed type (sales) and suggests that when trying to recruit these people, no talk of stable income will entice them. #goodpoint.

Another pleasantly jarring thought is the:





He says many people don’t know how to be rich, but they see what rich people do, copy it, and then they have what rich people have, but it doesn’t last. etc. #interesting.

The remaining portion of the book is filled with diagrams showing how your cash flows depending on how you think about money and a repeated argument to buy investment property.