What You Missed in Simon Sinek’s Famous TED Talk

And Why Startups Need to Rewatch It


People don’t buy what you do, they buy why you do it.


This concept is at the core of Simon Sinek’s TedTalk on how great leaders inspire action. In your case, how great startups become great companies. By now, we’ve all heard of Sinek’s “Golden Circle” (see below) and the “Power of Why.”



Golden Circle



The gist is this: most organizations work from the outside in. Everyone can explain what they do. Most know how they’re different. But not everyone know’s why. The “why” is the purpose, cause or belief behind the concept. It is why anyone should care about you. The inspired and successful organizations think, act and communicate from the inside out.

The goal is to do business with the people who believe what you believe. But this only tells half the story. And the other half is what’s standing between you and a successful launch into market…


The Most Important Point is the Most Overlooked


The most overlooked portion of this Ted Talk is Sinek’s discussion of the Law of Diffusion of Innovation. This law shows how the world adopts ideas and concepts. The rare “Innovators” are comfortable with making intuitive decisions and the “Early Adopters” aren’t far behind. These groups are the ones who believe what you believe. The rest of the groups aren’t going to try something new unless someone else has tried it first.



Law of Diffusion of Innovation



As a startup, it’s critical to not only identify your product’s “innovators,” but to understand them. Too often, starry-eyed start-ups, beaming with the confidence of being told their idea is a “can’t-miss” my family, friends and others invested in their success, think their target market is “everybody.” Or “Millennials.” Or “Soccer Moms.” But they never do the hard work of identifying with excruciating focus the most likely buyers are, and what they look like demographically, geographically, and psychograpically.


Your market isn’t “everybody.” It’s the innovators. Better find ‘em…quick!


Reaching those innovators is easier said than done, but accomplishing this becomes the pumping blood of your heart. If you can’t reach the innovators, your heart will never start. Your innovators are those who believe what you believe, wholeheartedly.  What motivates them? What makes them turn their heads the other way? What media do they consume? What are their buying habits? What makes them get out of the bed in the morning? Learning all of this is not an easy task and requires a deep dive into customer analysis.


Once you’ve solidified the persona of your innovator, you’re ready to make the connection between your why and their motivations. Take what you know about them and connect to it. If you’ve identified and researched the innovators correctly, this should be easy to do.


Ignite their flame. Inspire them to get involved. Make them want to care about you. If you can do this, you can get to market and sustain successfully.


To understand why the Law of Diffusion of Innovation is so important for you and your startup, watch here: