“People don’t buy what you do; they buy why you do it.”

A client sent me a link to this wonderful TED talk: “Simon Sinek: How great leaders inspire action“.

Sinek discusses “The Golden Circle” — the “what,” “how,” and “why” of what we do and who we are. He explains how finding the why behind your business is crucial to driving sales and setting yourself apart in the marketplace.

But very, very few people or organizations know why they do what they do. And by “why ” I don’t mean “to make a profit.” That’s a result. It’s always a result. By “why” I mean: what’s your purpose? What’s your cause? What’s your belief? Why does your organization exist? Why do you get out of bed in the morning? And why should anyone care?

In a little over 18 minutes, the quick-talking Sinek covers a lot of ground and a lot of examples. He breaks down the success behind Apple, Martin Luther King and the Wright Brothers, why Tivo is less successful, and illustrates Malcom Gladwell’s idea of the Tipping Point.

Tomorrow, I intended to sit down and devote a large chunk of time to my own brand and marketing. This talk completely shifted the way I will approach my brainstorming. I highly recommend it.


  1. Scott Webb on July 6, 2010 at 9:18 am

    Danielle, I’m so glad you came across this from a client.

    Simon Sinek is a leader to me. You should get the book Start With Why as well. The book goes into detail and it’s amazing.

    He also did an interview on the Marketing over Coffee Podcast – just look up on itunes.

    Here’s the thing, hardly anyone does what Simon talks about! Go to a bunch of blogs and companies and look at their about page. I’ve even read expensive ebooks for business planning and everything is defined by What you do. The cocktail line, the elevator pitch, the describe your biz in 10 words or 1 sentence.

    I look at everything now with fresh eyes. I sit and ask why. I ask why until why doesn’t make sense to ask anymore. I’m like that little kid that says “But Why? but Why?”

    I even started to develop an entire program to help entrepreneurs and startups. It’s totally based around the issue of why.

    I haven’t even finished his book because I stop so often to apply things. It’s impressive when a book can do that for me.

    Something else that relates strongly to this is not a business book or Ted talk but it’s a movie/book by Wayne Dyer. The Shift. If you look it up on google you can find the movie to watch for free. There is a rad connection to the message from Simon and Wayne Dyer.

    Anyways I saw this on my feed and needed to say I totally agree!

    I hope the Empire Building Kit is going well too!

    • danielle@daniellebaird.net danielle@daniellebaird.net on July 6, 2010 at 1:41 pm

      Scott, thanks so much for the additional resources! I tried finding “Start with Why” in the airport bookstore, but no luck. I’ll be sure to pick it up when I get home. I’ll also be sure to check out Wayne Dyer too.

      I think that elevator pitches and ten-word blurbs are still an important marketing tool… For me (at least so far), Sinek’s idea of why impacts the content of my pitch, it doesn’t erase it. I felt that he is encouraging us to discover our why and lead with that in conversation, so we can connect with other people that share our passion and purpose. I know I’ve only seen a quick video, but that is my takeaway.

      The Empire Building Kit is great so far! I’ve found it incredibly helpful. It’s on sale again, in case you were interested in a copy of your own: http://unconventionalguides.com/cmd.php?af=1182444 (affiliate link)

      Thanks again for the great comment!

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