I’m sitting in a professional development course right now on organizational change. We are on a dinner break.
We watched a video on the importance of “starting with why” https://www.ted.com/talks/simon_sinek_how_great_leaders_insp…
Simon Sinek explains how he examined successful leaders and noticed that they all had one trait in common. They started with “why” and then progressed to “how” and ended with “what”. The “why” is the problem they are looking to solve or the need they are looking to address, the “how” is their method for doing so, and the “what” is the product that accomplishes the method.
Simon uses Apple as an example of a company that starts with “why”. I thought of Amazon as another company that starts with “why”
I found an article written by Brian Stoffel entitled, “10 Reasons to buy Amazon.com, Inc Stock and Never Sell” https://www.fool.com/investing/2016/09/11/10-reasons-to-buy-…
In the article he talks about Amazon’s mission statement, “We seek to be Earth’s most customer-centric company,” and how this mission statement gives the company unending potential.
So I decided to look at some other mission statements. I found something interesting. Alteryx is a textbook example of a company that starts with “why” and DataDog is a textbook example of a company starting with “what”
Here is a copy/paste from Alteryx’s “About Us” page:
Companies of all sizes recognize the tremendous potential for data, but many struggle turning that data into actionable insights that improve business results. The legacy approach to analytics has slowed organizations down, requiring too many specific tools used by too many uniquely skilled people, and a high software price tag.
Every data worker, regardless of technical acumen, can be a curious problem solver. Allowing these workers to find and understand what information is at their disposal, and giving them the ability to analyze data from more sources and easily deliver business insights, is now reachable. Alteryx is revolutionizing business through data science and analytics, and we empower everyone in an organization to experience the thrill of getting to the answer faster.
Our award-winning end-to-end platform unifies the analytic experience, enabling organizations to break data barriers. The Alteryx Platform provides the analytic flexibility that business analysts, data scientists, and IT need to discover, prep, analyze, and operationalize analytic models through a collaborative and governed platform.
The first paragraph is their “why” - Data Analytics is not living up to its potential
The Second Paragraph is “how” - They will allow all data workers to easily find and understand data so they can be empowered and create insight.
The third paragraph is the “what” - their platform.
In contrast, this is from DataDog’s “About Us” page:
Datadog is the essential monitoring platform for cloud applications. We bring together data from servers, containers, databases, and third-party services to make your stack entirely observable. These capabilities help DevOps teams avoid downtime, resolve performance issues, and ensure customers are getting the best user experience.
The first sentence is “what” they sell - their monitoring platform.
The second sentence explains “how” their platform works.
The third sentence explains “why” their platform is useful.
Obviously this is a little fuzzier than analysis of each company’s revenue, competitive position, cash flow, etc. I don’t want to say that DataDog is going to fail and Alteryx is going to succeed. But I do think this is illustrative of an important way that these two companies differ in their organization and approach, and that this distinction is worthy of consideration in making investment decisions. Leadership is important and I believe that Alteryx’s leadership is truly special.