Ask Yourself Why Three Times

I'm reading Made to Stick.

Page 201 suggests you can get pass the "Curse of Knowledge," which is the blindness we experience to our own expertise, by asking yourself "why" three times.

For example you might say:

Separating content from design is a best practice.

Why?

Because your content and design may evolve independently or you may want to display the same content differently in different places.

Why?

Because you want to design the best experience for your customer's context.

Why?

Because visitors have high expectations of the Web and features or design trends are constantly evolving. It's not fair nor practical for your authors to also be responsible for every design, feature, or even piece of code (markup) on your site.

You could keep going. Here's another one.

I want you to share with the technical community.

Why?

Because it will improve your company's image, showcase your expertise, and help customers. For example it's helped my career.

Why?

Because in past roles promoting my favorite software and delivering documentation "by the pound" (lots of pages) interfered with my main responsibilities.

Why?

Because I was fascinated by benefits and possibilities that my company didn't take advantage of since there wasn't much public, practical information about the software online.

This translates to something like:
You can share what you know to help software users like me. I saw the power of what your software does, but lacked the power myself to hire you or convince others of what was possible. By sharing what you know and helping others like me, you can shape your career from the outside-in while demonstrating those in your company, software, or industry care enough to help customers.
Replace "software" above with Tridion and you can see just one story of other customers. Five years since joining the SDL Tridion technical community and two after joining SDL, a customer told me our community is one of the reasons we were purchased.

Software scales. You don't scale, but your message can. Get to your core message by asking yourself "why" three times or more.

2 comments :

  1. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/5_Whys
    "The technique was originally developed by Sakichi Toyoda and was used within the Toyota Motor Corporation during the evolution of its manufacturing methodologies."

    ReplyDelete
  2. Thanks, Frank. Made to Stick does cite Toyota but not Sakichi Toyoda.

    ReplyDelete

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