Why What How

Why build a product?

What product to build?

How to build a great product?

Many people, to appear competent, focus on the how. And the internet is filled with ‘How’.


From 300,000 posts written on LinkedIn in 2016, more than 11,000 began with ‘How to’, and just 695 began with ‘Why you should’.  Around 15 times less.

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It has happened to me too, more than I would like to mention. I keep searching for ‘How’s, and it’s good and it works to keep things afloat, but I slowly realize that while ‘Hows’ are important, the ‘Whys’ are much more so.

And it will continue to happen that way, because we live in a world full of options.

When there are too few options, you better be good at execution, the how. Because you need to survive, and that’s a clear and simple ‘why’.

But as options multiply, more things come in reach, and as you become good at multiple things, you need to focus much more on the ‘Why’. And this takes time and patience. Time, because it just does take it’s own calendar time, and patience, because you can’t push it, you have to let it be. It has to be organic, and work inside you.

And when you have a good answer to why, it is convincing at a deep level. It is convincing for you, and also when you tell it to others. They see it and feel it. It has the right words and the right reasons. It shows that it is un-hurried. It is solid. And it is long-lasting.

Maybe this is what Steve Jobs meant by saying no:

“People think focus means saying yes to the thing you’ve got to focus on. But that’s not what it means at all. It means saying no to the hundred other good ideas that there are. You have to pick carefully. I’m actually as proud of the things we haven’t done as the things I have done. Innovation is saying no to 1,000 things.”

You should take a look at this video. He probably said said no to the things, which did not fit the ‘why’, the big picture.

Because if you just everything to a product it looks something like Joey would put together, and you don’t want to be Joey.


I did a search on Google Trends for these, and turns out very few people ask why, and many more ask ‘how’.

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