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From Noah Slater <nsla...@apache.org>
Subject What's our Why?
Date Wed, 24 Jul 2013 11:24:06 GMT
Hi devs,

I came across this video recently:

Simon Sinek: How great leaders inspire action
http://www.ted.com/talks/simon_sinek_how_great_leaders_inspire_action.html

In it he sets out what he calls the Golden Circle:

Why

    - What's your purpose?
    - What's your cause?
    - What's your belief?

How

    - How do we do it?
    - How does our product differentiate?
    - How are we different?
    - How are we better?

What

    - What do we do?
    - What do we make?

He points out that the difference between companies like Apple and
companies like Dell.

Dell tells you what they do, and how. "We make great computers. They're
well designed and work well. Wanna buy a computer?" Most companies do it
like this. But they often miss out the "why".

But then you look at Apple, and they do it the other way around. Apple tell
you what their purpose is. The rest is almost an afterthought. "We believe
in challenging the status quo. We believe in thinking different. We do that
with great design and a focus on the user experience. We just happen to
make computers." He then joking quips: "Ready to buy one yet?"

(His talk gives several other examples, with his thesis being that telling
your story from the outside in is what separates all the great companies
and leaders. One of his main examples is the Wright brothers.)

He comments that if you talk about what you believe, you will attract those
that believe what you believe. That when you talk about what you believe,
people will join you for their own reasons, for their own purpose. And that
what you do simply serves as proof of what you believe. Or as he quips:
"Martin Luther King gave his 'I have a dream' speech, not his 'i have a
plan' speech."

Why am I bringing this to the dev list?

Because our message stinks. "Apache CouchDB™ is a database that uses JSON
for documents, JavaScript for MapReduce queries, and regular HTTP for an
API" is a terrible way to introduce who we are, what we stand for, and why
we build this thing. (And I'm allowed to say all that, because I'm the one
who wrote it, with lots of help from Jan.)

So what am I proposing? I'm proposing that we figure out our why. That we
figure out what we stand for, what we believe in. And then we figure out
how we're gonna do that (pro tip: replication is more important than the
data format we use). Not only will this define a consistent internal vision
for the project (what *are* we working towards anyway?) but it will help us
to attract people who believe in what we believe.

So, if you have any thoughts about this, speak up!

Thanks,

-- 
NS

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