What problem are you trying to solve?

Simon Sinek advises us to Start With Why?when communicating our ideas.

In his hypothetical marketing message from Apple (back when Steve Jobs was CEO) he asks us to imagine what it might sound like if Apple started with What? they do instead of Why? they do it. And it (of course) falls flat.

The Why? of engineering entrepreneurship typically starts with a problem to solve. We can compare Sinek’s hypothetical Apple marketing to the real launch of the original iphone, by Jobs himself.

In this video, Jobs explicitly explains the Why? when he says, “The problem is… “.

Whenever we define a problem, we simultaneously call to mind the solution. Understanding the problem that you’re trying then becomes the most important thing about your solution.

Most engineers only receive training in problem solving, to the neglect of problem formulation. As a consequence, engineers are too often the mere instruments hired to create technologies that conform the world to someone else’s imagination.


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