Why, How, What

Carl Erickson has an interesting take on 3 things companies need to get right regardless of industry (also applicable in education):

Simon Sinek posits that successful companies know “why” they exist, outside of “what” they do for customers, and “how” they do it. His TED talk seems to be everywhere recently.

And that is

  1. idea
  2. execution
  3. culture.

To quote Derek Sivers:

Ideas are nothing unless executed.

Ideas are meant to be implemented. It’s inseparable with execution just as software is nothing without hardware. But to get to the bottom of things, to go deep in one’s soul, you have to dig why you are doing what you are doing such that it reflects on how you do it.

The third ingredient is culture. Culture has different meanings but its idea is primarily borrowed from anthropology. The culture of a company reflects the philosophy, vision and identity of a company.

In IT, there are primarily three cultures:

  1. Open source
  2. Proprietary (closed source)
  3. Open core, proprietary periphery

You may substitute culture with identity or loosely in collective terms, ecosystem. Regardless of culture, there is always lock-in and biases.

In education, the what of students is knowledge, how refers to how it works, and the why, well, it is up to the students themselves.

The same in IT: What? may refer to knowledge, products or services. How? refers to technology or more specifically, the three cultures of technology. For the why, well I leave it to you as an exercise.

Related link:

Business Finance – How to measure a company’s most elusive element – culture?

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