“People don’t buy what you do; people buy why you do it.”

“If you hire people just because they can do a job, they’ll work for your money. But if you hire people who believe what you believe, they’ll work for you with blood and sweat and tears.”

-From the great TED talk by Simon Sinek (HT Charlie O’Donnell)

Yesterday there was “Why I Left Google“, today there is “Why I Am Leaving Goldman Sachs“. The common thread is pretty easy to spot– when a company gets too big and loses sight of what makes them unique– why they do what they do– you lose not only the trust of your customers but also your best advocates inside the company.

Personally the “profits before all else” was something I felt in past experiences working for corporate and was the main reason I chose to pursue something different from most of my peers after graduating. As I read both letters I heard Simon Sinek’s refrain in my head, “People don’t buy what you do; people buy why you do it.” Google and Goldman at this point seem to be textbook examples of this. I need the reminder every once in a while that while I don’t know my own personal answer to the question of “Why” I can at least narrow the list down to not include money. An easy temptation when living in NY on a non-profit salary, to be sure :)


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