I am Product Manager, bitch.

Start With How

This post was originally published on Hackernoon : https://medium.com/hackernoon/start-with-how-fe0ac31ceaba

You don’t have a Why and it’s ok #

Some people might not be comfortable with “Starting With Why” like is often advised since Simon Sinek’s gave a TED talk about that. Starting with why when you start your business can be intimidating, fuzzy and uncertain at first. Or maybe your why doesn’t seem very differentiating from your competitors. And it’s not always easy to tackle the words that describe the spark inside you, urging you to create your own thing.

My advice to you if you can’t find your why is : Start with How.

Getting “there”… or not #

Creating your business is a journey, an adventure into the unknown. In this metaphor the destination is both the What and the Why: you want to go there (the What) and nowhere else for a specific reason (the Why). The journey itself is the How.

For people like me, who have an effectuation mindset, the destination doesn’t count as much as the journey to get there. Working on your How lets you chose the experience you are going to live and the one your clients are going to live as well. You can choose to drive on the interstate or take the small and bumpy roads, you can either rush or take your time, travel light or with a lot of luggage. One thing is for sure: nothing will go as planned anyway and it will be a long and hard trip. You know you’re going to face accidents, flat tires, deviations and dead ends. So wherever you are going, travel with style. Your style.

Where the clients choice lies #

Meaning doesn’t have to come all from the Why. Execution, how you do your stuff, drives as much meaning as intention.

Many companies (like AirBnb) don’t have a very differentiating Why (in France we had “Chambres d’Hôtes” before AirBnb arrived and it was doing fine) but they really nailed the implementation focusing on design, community and authenticity. Between 2 companies having the same Whys, the choice of your clients will greatly depend on how you do your stuff : with generosity, with care, with grit and perseverance, with energy, with attention to details…?

For those of you who have both a strong Why and a strong How, what is important then is that the two be aligned.

Be consistent #

Inspirational Why with deplorable How is bad, really bad (odious Why with good How is as bad... well maybe less bad because you’re trying to do something nice out of it). Take Monsanto for instance. This is their Why, as displayed on their website

"We develop products and tools to help farmers around the world grow crops while using energy, water, and land more efficiently. We believe innovation has the potential to bring humanity’s needs in balance with the resources of our planet."

Looks like a beautiful Why. But the implementation is just fucked up. Appealing Why, despicable How.

So start with How. Even if your intention is noble only the implementation counts in the end. Otherwise your Why is just bullshit to me.