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Ted Talks on Why "Why" is important.

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Ive never seen this guy before, thanks schtank. Thought provoking.

Very, very interesting. His observations about TiVo are right-on -- I'm a long-standing member of the 'Cult of TiVo' for exactly the reason he describes. It lets me decide how I want to watch TV. It's about control. When I try to sell someone else on TiVo, that's how I talk about it. But the company itself does not, and I never understood why.

I'm going to think a bit on integrating this insight with Objectivism's view of life as a process of goal-directed action. In essence 'goal-directed' means 'motivated by why'. There may also be a lesson applicable to the Tea Party movement -- they have a 'what' and they're fumbling towards a 'how', but a coherent 'why' is arguably exactly what that movement is missing.

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All I see is a guy repeatedly saying "people don't buy what you do, they buy why you do it", giving a vague rationalization based on brain structure, latching his "golden circle" idea onto something more well established (law of diffusion of innovation), and then giving a couple examples of people fundamentally driven to innovate. What am I missing?

Is he saying anything more than how one should advertise one's product? His argument seems to be that if sales are not good for your company, you can boost profits by advertising differently to your customers - by selling them a line about "why we do it". Is that it?

Then again, I don't believe Apple is technologically innovative. They're certainly good at advertisement, but that's different.

Edited by brian0918
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Is he saying anything more than how one should advertise one's product? His argument seems to be that if sales are not good for your company, you can boost profits by advertising differently to your customers - by selling them a line about "why we do it". Is that it?

Yes. Except by calling it "selling them a line" you make it sound like a deception, when it is not.

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Yes. Except by calling it "selling them a line" you make it sound like a deception, when it is not.

It certainly could be, no? How is a customer to differentiate between a deceptive sales pitch about "why", and a true one?

I'm picturing him giving his speech to a room full of CEOs - who seem to be his target audience for a talk like that. These CEOs all already run companies selling products - their "why" is already established, even if it is not a "why" that would be appealing to a customer. I don't see them coming away from his talk deciding to redefine their "why". More likely, they would simply decide to advertise a "why" that would be appealing to the customer.

If his intent was to get people to be fundamentally driven in their careers, he should not have focused so heavily on how to get customers to like them (market share, law of diffusion, "people don't buy what you do...", etc). He should have focused more on the Wright brothers than on Apple.

Edited by brian0918
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It certainly could be, no? How is a customer to differentiate between a deceptive sales pitch about "why", and a true one?

He gives one example, Tivo, of a company where a "good why" is in evidence in the product yet not the basis of the company's advertising. A "good why" can be established by examining a product's "how" and "what". I do not infer an intent to get people to be fundamentally driven in their careers but the intent to inform people that being fundamentally driven is an asset that can be put to use in selling a product. This talk is a demonstration of the worth and power of a moral sanction. Yes, I just used the term "moral sanction" in relation to gadget sales, that is not a mistake. Morality is a code of values, a code requires a standard of value, so explaining by what standard a product is valuable makes a product and its sales pitch more intelligible. More people will "get it".

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Yeah, TED is full of non-intellectual know-it-alls:

http://www.ted.com/talks/jonathan_haidt_on...moral_mind.html

That's right, because morality = how we're worried about what others think of what we think of them. Thanks Bay Area yet again for more overrated crap.

Here's the real truth on innovation: new products = expanding productivity not yet regulated by Byzantine, slow Congress = efficient application of capital towards value production -> eventual regulation and crash -> next round of things Congress has yet to figure out exist that can be productive.

TED is great because it give Congress the 'heads up'!!! "Responsible Innovation"

Come on!

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I do not infer an intent to get people to be fundamentally driven in their careers but the intent to inform people that being fundamentally driven is an asset that can be put to use in selling a product.

That does seem to have been his intent. Thanks for clearing that up - it's an important distinction.

Edited by brian0918
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Take Howard Roark as a fictional example - he was fundamentally driven, and advertised his product that way as well. He did not get a huge market share, but that was not his goal - that is not what drove him. He lived for himself, not for his customers.

I think that's the point. There is a "vision" involved, something that is not just a profit motive. People actually do tend to like that and support such people, or at least it seems more the case in today's world. And in fact, it is even more profitable, monetarily speaking, to live for yourself in the long-run. I did not think the speaker was suggesting profit should be the fundamental motivation.

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Isn't it conflicting to tell people to be fundamentally driven in their careers, and offer them as a reason why that they will get huge profits as a result? Shouldn't the fundamental motivation be the "why"? Isn't he simply supplanting the profit-motive as the motivation?

Do you perceive a conflict due to the purity of their motives becoming contaminated by crass monetary considerations? Those motives are not in conflict. In explaining the differences between the Wright brothers and Langley he did make the case that the fundamental motivation should be the "why". Where it exists, that motivation should not be kept secret but instead broadcast. Where it does not exist, some may attempt to lie about it but lying is not practical in the long term because lies are revealed. In the case of a product, the lie is revealed when the product is ill thought-out, the "how" and "what" contradict the "why".

Perhaps you would object to the case of company with a good product idea well executed but nobody at the company is genuinely motivated by the "why" campaign the advertising department embarks upon. The objection is of the nature that it is not enough to think the right things, say and write the right things, and to follow through with the right actions, you also want the producer to feel the right emotions. This is a wrong standard, it is not an objective standard. What it is exactly, I don't know but it seems to fit within the framework of the logic of intrinsicism.

Take Howard Roark as a fictional example - he was fundamentally driven, and advertised his product that way as well. He did not get a huge market share, but that was not his goal - that is not what drove him. He lived for himself, not for his customers. This speaker doesn't think that is enough of a motivation, though, and has to offer huge market shares as a motivation.
Your attention is directed at the wrong side of the producer-customer relation. Motivation of the customer and the coworker is the subject of this talk. Motives of producers differ and are taken as givens in his examples.
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Your attention is directed at the wrong side of the producer-customer relation. Motivation of the customer and the coworker is the subject of this talk. Motives of producers differ and are taken as givens in his examples.

Yep, you got it.

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