Tag Archives: TED

Start with “Why”!

Most computer companies start by telling you they make great products. Apple does the opposite. It starts by telling you why it makes computers. According to the speaker Simon Sinek in his TED’s speech, Apple actually communicates like this:

“Everything we do, we believe in challenging the status quo. We believe in thinking differently. The way we challenge the status quo is by making our products beautifully designed, simple to use and user friendly. We just happen to make great computers. Want to buy one?”

To explained his “Golden Circle”: from “why” to “how” to “what”, a reversed, inside-out direction as compared to everybody else, he also quoted other examples like Martin Luther King and the Wright brothers in his speech.

A inspiring content by a inspiring speaker!

After thoughts:
I read an article this morning about an essay on “causal reasoning” vs. “effectual reasoning”.

The diagrams in the essay shown how an entrepreneur is not bound to a given target. Rather, he/she would optimize what he/she has and gives the best performance. The result would then flow along.

I tend to disagree with this argument, especially after watching the TED’s speech above. I tend to think that the reason behind the success of an entrepreneur is not the “freedom” behind it. The reason behind the success is the “sense of purpose” and the “why” before the start of anything. That “Given Target” or “Imagined Ends” are just the “what” in the equation, and the “why” is somewhat untold in the story here.

Well, not quite, in the original article, the author did mention something like: “Yet at any given moment, there is always a meaningful picture that keeps the team together, a compelling story that brings in more stakeholders and a continuing journey that maps out uncharted territories”. It is funny that all sentences before and after, but not this part itself, was underlined. But if you ask me, this in fact is the core of the whole matter.  Start with “Why”!


看罷陳牛嘗試解說近日的 Punch Party 淪為網民聯歡會之謎,雖然覺得參與者影响別人無論如何也是有缺公德的行為,但卻亦同意講者的表現和內容也會影響大會秩序。我沒有去過任何一次 PPHK,所以我在這裡說甚麼也是意義不大,也只是在抽水。不過,籠統來看,「Content is King」,就算在課堂中,如果講者的內容或技巧不吸引,儘管同學們肯守規矩,訊息也無法有效傳輸開去,更何況現在的參與者本來並沒有任何的義務和責任去乖乖坐下!

剛在 TED 看到幾段演講,正正是一個好例子。短短三分鐘,簡單、易明、吸引、而且有意思。如果 PPHK 當晚有如此的風格的演講,我相信各位會暫且放下手頭上的 iPad 留心看看講者的內容吧!我知道以 TED 來與 PPHK 比較並不是太合適,但以這為目標也未嘗不可。

Bill Gates on energy: Innovating to zero!

Bill Gates, practically the single man who holds largest amount of resources personally in the world, gave a talk about how the planet could be saved in the TED2010 conference. Climate changes and green energy are the hot topics in the recent years. And despite the fact that someone pointed out that it could all be just a “Global Warming Hoax” (and even IPCC admitted that there were some wrong doing during the research process), the topics remain a vital theme of our generation because it is too risky to ignore even we are not 100% sure.

And I won’t choose to ignore it also because it is from the mind of Bill Gates. Imagine the resources and influences that he could have on anything that he endorses. The best part is that his influences are not based on his position (as CEO of a company or the President of a nation) but on his personal merit. That’s something quite different.

Two things to note in his speech. For one, he proposed an equation: CO2 = P x S x E x C. He pointed out that we could not control much on the population growth and reduce much on the services that these population consumes (these two factors are the “demand” component of the equation). I believe that this assumption is somewhat realistic and practical, and thus much easier for a developed middle-class driven country like the U.S. to feel comfortable with. However, I guess he could have also make a wish on how we could “reinvent” our daily life and save a lot of CO2 in the “S” part. I know it is much easier to be said than done, but it would still be very influential if it is coming out from the mouth of Bill Gates (as compared to, say, Mr. Al Gore).

The second thing to note in the speech is about the second part of the equation “E” and “C”. The most significant take away from that is his project in investigating how to burn U238 instead of the existing U235 as a nuclear fuel. It is significant because firstly we have abundance of U238 (as in nature and also as a waste by-product of burning U235), and by doing so we could have a tremendous improvement in fuel efficiency. We know that we need a huge technological breakthrough to achieve this, but if Bill Gates is putting his funds into this, the hope is much higher.

It is truly significant also because it demonstrates how the mind of an entrepreneur (with lots of resources) works: he realised that the existing approaches (of cutting consumptions, lobbying amount nations) won’t work in the long run anyway, so he innovates. He proposes a dramatic solution that other people could not achieve by their incremental improvements. Whether he has already got the best (or even correct) idea, we won’t know, at least for now. And it doesn’t matter, as this approach is more dynamic, innovative and meaningful compared to the argument and frustration we have with all the other approaches.

I admire his effort and his vision. At least much better than how he ran his Microsoft empire.

Further Readings:
2010 Annual Letter from Bill Gates
The Gates Notes

Aimee Mullins: The opportunity of adversity

A powerful speech by Aimee Mullins, named one of the most beautiful athlete, actress, and fashion model, without any leg.


“The human ability to adapt is our greatest asset.”

About how she feel against the term — “overcoming adversity” “Adversity isn’t an obstacle that we need to get around in order to resume living our life. It’s part of our life.”

“The question isn’t whether or not you gonna meet adversity, but how you gonna meet it.”… … “So our responsiblity is not simply shielding those we care for from adversity, but preparing them to meet it well”.

“Perhaps the existing model of only looking at what is broken in you and how do we fix it serves to be more disabling to the individual than the pathology itself.”

Video source: Ted.com
Photo source: David Shankbone via Wiki

Innovation from the “Passionate Amateurs”

I must say I am fascinated by his speech.

Firstly, it was already 5 years ago for God sake, but surprisingly it still sounds alight, mostly. Which means that what he said was the truth.

Secondly, I could actually feel how the idea of “Passionate Amateurs” was very much related to the recent polictial agenda that we are facing now here.

Of course on one hand I would never dream that our big grandfather would invite / need us to join in to the show, but on the other hand it was hilarious to see how the speaker used an example from mainland to illustrate the same point.

Power to the People — for the sake of Innovation! Or, has innovation ever been on our wish list all along at all?