Cringely gives us a heads up to watch Simon Sinek’s great TED talk about the golden triangle. I agree that it is great stuff and in fact, some time ago I added a link to it from my educational video’s page. The video and Cringely’s post give new insights into the idea of “mature product lines”. From Cringely
… many large, successful companies with mature product lines (face) obvious challenges down the road. Such companies … see the problem approaching but are paralyzed by the need to envision $10 billion replacement markets. They can’t (adapt in advance) because there is no obvious Why? …
The abstract threat is too far in the future compared to the reality of producing current revenue flow. The converse argument is that if you focus on great why questions and develop great why stories, you will gain adaptive capacity. Put another way, you will be able to spot kluge.
Hmmm …. btw, do you have your own database of great educational videos? It is a pretty handy tool for going back to content that helps you learn.
FOLLOW - Sinek’s great insight is that “why” questions motivate us to act while verbal descriptions of what is going on do not. Indeed, our mental decision making apparatus is located in the limbic section of the brain, which is non-verbal. From Wikipedia, we get this description of the function of the limbic system
The limbic system operates by influencing the endocrine system and the autonomic nervous system. It is highly interconnected with the nucleus accumbens, the brain’s pleasure center, which plays a role in sexual arousal and the “high” derived from certain recreational drugs. These responses are heavily modulated by dopaminergic projections from the limbic system. In 1954, Olds and Milner found that rats with metal electrodes implanted into their nucleus accumbens as well as their septal nuclei repeatedly pressed a lever activating this region, and did so in preference to eating and drinking, eventually dying of exhaustion.
The limbic system is also tightly connected to the prefrontal cortex. Some scientists contend that this connection is related to the pleasure obtained from solving problems. To cure severe emotional disorders, this connection was sometimes surgically severed, a procedure of psychosurgery, called a prefrontal lobotomy (this is actually a misnomer). Patients who underwent this procedure often became passive and lacked all motivation.
Paul Bloom notes that the pleasure we take from things depends on how we name them - their story lines. For example, do we see something as real or a fake? If we believe something is authentic (like a painting by Vermeer) we are likely to get more pleasure from it than if we believe it is a forgery, even though it is the same painting. Hmmm … doesn’t that make pleasure at least partly word dependent? Well, not really. The amount of pleasure that we get depends on our beliefs concerning what we experience. Those beliefs may be based on words or something else, but they appear to be extrinsic (generated from the outside). Going back to Sinek, we seem to be wired so that we are ready to buy into great why stories. It may be harder for us to generate them for ourselves. We are not all visionaries, and none of us are visionaries with respect to all things.
So what? Well, this suggests that the path to genius may be to build appreciation (for extrinsic stories that motivate) rather than practice assertion (opinions based on individual experience).