The Power of Why.

| August 6, 2012

focused lightening

 This short story was written to help every small business make more money and grow faster — by finding a whole new starting point for success. Having built 20 different businesses from scratch — from nothing more than a good idea and a lot of hope —  I can attest to the Power of WHY. It explains why some people achieve tremendous success, where others just don’t “get it” and slowly die on the vine.

WHY: The Starting Point for Success…

Over the last year or so I have been using the following 2 videos to help companies make the transition from STRUGGLING to SUCCESSFUL. Each video, in its own way, summarizes the “secret” to incredible business success — and a process for quickly moving beyond where you are right now… to start WINNING the Golden Game of Business.

As you will see, both videos are focused on the idea that there is a huge difference between highly successful people — men and women who know where they are going and WHY — and the rest of the pack who work their butts off and ultimately end up falling short of the mark — out of hope and out of cash.

To put this conversation in perspective, I want you to think back to the launch of the Mac in 1984. As you will remember, the story starts out with tremendous hope and promise, but quickly turns into a drama-infested, Greek Tragedy.

I remember it well, as we were a successful software publisher who was asked by Apple to port our products over to this “revolutionary” new computing platform that was based on — get this — a new-fangled  idea called “The Graphic User Interface” (GUI for short).

The idea was fabulous, but the computer was underpowered and overburdened with a whole new way of writing object-oriented code using what was then known as the “Mac Toolbox” — the most God-awful collection of system calls (over 2,000 of them) that sometimes worked, and sometimes didn’t. (The early days of every revolution are filled with the lifeless bodies of pioneers and zealots!)

Steve Jobs’ vision was to make the Mac the preferred computer of the “Knowledge Worker”, ranting that if you worked at a desk, you needed a Mac. Specifically, this early computing creature would be sold to “Creative Power Users”, and if you were a “cubical slave” working for a corporation (The Suits), you had no business even thinking about getting a Mac, as it was classed way out of your reach!

Steve was confident. He was arrogant. He was was also a prickly thorn in the sides of his management team and board. “The Mac is “insanely great” he would shout at anybody willing to listen.

Unfortunately, he made a lot of enemies in the suit department and was stripped of all his duties, his power and everything but his VISION and VALUES. By the time the dust settled, and the bean-counters counted their beans, the only results Steve could show for all his ranting and raving was a machine that struggled to keep up with Microsoft, and a plummeting market share that would rob Apple of its future.

Thus, amid much fanfare, Steve was fired, and started Next to prove Apple wrong.

Having been through this palace coup as an insider/outsider, it was clear to me that he deserved the ax. At the time, he was way ahead of his time — WAY too many steps ahead of his customers — and could not innovate fast enough… sell strong enough… lead teams bold enough… and engineer his way out of the mess he was in… to find the route to success. He had a powerful vision of the possibilities and potentialities but lacked the means to convert the opportunity into quarterly results.

Thus, the company Steve founded was left to the suits to find a competitive edge against the rest of the world, or Apple would simply go the way of so many companies that were unable to maintain both, strong growth and expanding profits.

You know the rest from fabled lore.

Steve tweaked his new hardware / software company into the ground and lost millions trying to be the NEXT HOT NEW THING. I bought a couple of the Next computers and could immediately see that they would never be an Apple OR Microsoft killer… just a very fast Unix box that rendered graphics at amazing speeds.

It was a “blind dog hunting for a bone” as we used to say in Texas!


Steve could see the connection between speed and graphics so well that he transitioned out of the computer sales business and went head-first into becoming an end-user for his own products… to make MOVIE MAGIC with his new startup called Pixar.

Steve had VISION and understood his VALUES exceptionally well. He also created a new ROLE (head of an animation studio) where he could excel using his technical/inventor skills to produce movies such as Toy Story.

The moral of this story is not that it took Steve being fired by Apple so he could live his VALUES and achieve his VISIONS… but, as we say in Success On Purpose, he continuously triangulated his Values, Visions and Roles into a whole NEW series of Natural Missions — each complete with Authentic Direction.

He found a brand new Starting Point for SUCCESS… at Pixar… not Apple!

One has to wonder what would have happened if he stayed and drove Apple into the ground. Had he won the power struggle and tried to innovate fast enough in the computer space to beat Bill Gates at his own game.

My guess is that had he stayed, there would be no Apple today.

For the record, Apple of the late eighties and early nineties made me rich, and gave me a platform for creating unique software that changed the world… but it was not enough to gain the global corporate respect that Dell, HP and Microsoft garnered.

Put simply, MicroWho WON the computer wars, and by 1995, Apple was dead in the water… forced to sell off plants, real estate, technology, and watch its sinking market share and brand value sink ever faster. It was on life support, and even us Apple faithful were growing skeptical by the minute (we had to bleed in the six colors of the original Apple Logo to prove we were not just “fans” but absolutely committed.)

Death is a great wakeup call!

After Sculley threw in the towel… Spindler had his shot and lost… and Amelio tried to stick his hand in the dike — to not just stop it from leaking, but from busting wide open — they made the call to the only man in the world who was CRAZY enough to think he could save Apple: Steve Jobs.

To the general public and the software development community alike, it seemed like the whacko’s had finally taken over the asylum, and all hope had left the building. We all wondered the same thing, “WHY would Steve even want to fight this fight… and WHY does he even remotely think he can WIN the fight?”

Right now as you read this — if you’ve got a few coins rattling in your pocket and your assets outweigh your liabilities by more than a buck or two — YOU personally have a higher net worth than Apple did prior to Jobs returning. They were $2 BILLION in the hole… supporters jumping ship faster than rats on the Titanic… and nothing in the pipeline that would make the world stand up and say WOW! (The real key to turning a business into a gold mine.)

They went from flat busted to the most valuable company on earth. Why?

Most people would ask HOW… how did they do it?

The answer is not found in the HOW but the WHY.

It is the awesome POWER of WHY that drives PASSION and PURPOSE… to create the POWER to move the world FORWARD.

I will now let Steve tell you in his own words how he came to the single train of thought that changed everything… that got the world to Think Differently about Apple and its products.

This is the first big step towards greatness.

Watch this video and take notes.

It is vital that you understand the Power of WHY driving YOUR business… and without it… you will find yourself working harder and harder… and ultimately live a life of failed hopes, dreams and expectations.

Steve Jobs — a man crazy enough to believe he had the power to change the world…

 Do you SEE the connection between YOUR values, vision and purpose?

Apple was dead in the water when Steve returned, floating among the rotting corpses of failed hopes and dreams. They had no choice but to Think Different. They had to regain relevance in a highly competitive, highly unforgiving world… or they would simply cease to exist.

Do you have a choice?

Is it time YOU connect your values, visions and roles into an unstoppable sense of passion, purpose and mission… a mission to make a huge difference in the world… just because of YOU?

Are YOU crazy enough to believe you have the power to become all that you are meant to be? 

Now, watch this video and take copious notes.

The reason 95% of all business leaders FAIL is that they do not EXPECT to succeed in the first place. WHY? They look at success from the wrong end of the lens. Inside out, or outside in? You be the judge.

As you can clearly SEE, the WHY is the power behind success…

Without it, you will struggle with the heartbreak of failure for the rest of your life.

With it, you will empower your business to greatness.

As the principle author of Success On Purpose: The Starting Point for a Life of Happiness… Satisfaction… and Significance, I frequently use the above videos to show a real life example of the importance of finding fresh new Starting Points in your life — personally… professionally… and in business.

Today, Apple is worth some $600 BILLION vs. Exxon at $400 Billion (the close number 2).

From a technical net worth less than YOU… digging themselves out of a huge hole that was 10 years in the digging phase… to the most VALUABLE company in the world… is predicated on just 3 simple variables:

  1. Knowing your VALUES and being willing to live and die for them each day you are alive…
  2. Having a crystal-clear VISION for where you want to go… and be willing to do what ever it takes to get there…
  3. Creating the right ROLE for your company… and be willing to power up that role to the fullest extent possible.

As we say in Success On Purpose, triangulating your Values, Visions and Roles into your Natural Mission provides you with the 4 C’s of the Winner’s Mindset™:

Absolute CLARITY… which leads to unstoppable CONVICTION… which leads to unflinching COMMITMENT… and the COURAGE to take bold action.

CONVICTION came easy to Steve. He had absolute CLARITY of VALUES… absolute CLARITY of VISION… and absolute CLARITY of ROLES.

This overwhelming CONVICTION that what he was doing was the RIGHT thing to be doing (the big WHY) made it easy for him to COMMIT to a Different course of action.

Thinking DIFFERENT not only showed up in his commitment to take bold action… it showed up in the DNA of his leadership style, and the DNA of Apple itself.

The COURAGE to actually BE DIFFERENT is what drove Apple to greatness.

It is what drives ALL businesses to greatness.

Steve was absolutely correct in his observation that…

The people who are crazy enough to think they can change the world, are the ones who do.

Find YOUR big WHY. Improve your Biz IQ 80 points…

As Alan Kay said, “Point of view is worth 80 IQ points.”

The way you SEE the problem determines how you SOLVE the problem.

You become instantly SMARTER when you start to Think Differently.

You SEE options and avenues of approach that weren’t there when you looked at the problem head on.

Get around it… beside it… on top of it… find a different perspective and a different view point.

Stop focusing so much of your time on the WHAT. It’s important, but it’s not the main thing.

Stop focusing so much of your time on the HOW. How you get things done can take a million different forms. In the end, it is simply the means to an end.

Start focusing the preponderance of your time on WHY you do what you do. Show the world you care. Help the world discover what you and your company are all about.

Shake things up. Lead away from the pack. 

If your business is struggling to find itself…

If your business is on the ropes and you’re down for the count…

If your business is slowly losing mind share and market share… losing relevance in the eyes of your customers…

Watch BOTH videos again, then…

Order Success On Purpose

Do the work…

And discover YOUR big WHY.

Finally, I used a picture of a lightening strike for this story… partly to honor Steve, knowing that he is looking down from the heavens and blasting his creative inspiration all over the planet still.

And to make my point that a HIGHLY FOCUSED WHY gives you the power to change the world.

Are YOU crazy enough to believe me?

E. R. Haas, CEO 


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Category: Business Growth, Featured

About the Author ()

E. R. Haas is CEO of the TQ Smart family of web sites including,,,, and hundreds of others.E. R. is a "serial entrepreneur" and has created over 20 different businesses in software, manufacturing, finance, publishing and many other areas.He is married to Jan Haas who shares his interest in model railroading, gardening, and traveling by train. Together, they have 5 grown children, 9 grandchildren, and 6 great-grandchildren.

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