People don’t buy what you do…

…they buy why you do it.

Which seems rather simple as we watched the video in the staff meeting on Monday.

I met an older guy a few weeks ago during a tech meetup. When he approached us, he declared that he created something innovative. He pointed at his bike. I saw a colorful pinwheel attached to the handlebars. I tried hard to look for something. I started opening my mouth to laugh when I realized that he was not joking. “These are fun and safe!” he exclaimed.

I saw the packaging. A clear packaging stabled to a poorly design cardboard label featured stock photos of a happy girl on bike and happy mommys. In the kindest way possible, I asked, “Do these sell for 99 cents?”

Being polite, I decided not to ride away from him and let him spit out (literally and figuratively) his plan to me. And through it all, I challenged him. Not quite asking the why, I continued to ask, “What unifies all of this together? What is the mission?”

That’s when he stepped forward and smiled. “This is just a small part of the puzzle, Jennifer.” He touched me on my arm for emphasis. “This is going to help me be an environmental activist.”

His eyes glowed with passion.

At that moment, I felt uncomfortable and took a few steps back. Whether it was the awkward touch that kept increasing in frequency or how I sensed that…I couldn’t buy the why. It was unrelated. I saw the bright colors. The sparkles. The oddly shaped attachment. And I thought, why would I ever buy this?

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