Why Blog?

“Why blog? What’s in it for you?”

Tough questions. Sure, you and I can blithely answer off the cuff something, but have you really thought about why you blog? Or, if you don’t, why do others blog?

In design, there is a methodology to get to the heart of a problem called the five whys. The premise behind the five whys is to get to the heart of the problem and not the surface symptoms of the problem. Sometimes, you can’t answer the fourth or fifth why. Fatigue sets in and you want to get the questions over with and move to something else (don’t…set aside time to come back to it). Other times, the fourth or fifth why doesn’t come and you begin to ask yourself if it is important. It is.

The point of the deep dive into a problem is to understand it, and, if working with a group of people, to get them to understand not just the surface of why they do something, but the heart of what makes that important. In addition to distilling a problem, it also gets to the heart of why people do what they do. And, it helps them to understand the problem strategically; where it fits into the whole of whatever process you are exploring with them. I’ve also found when I’ve used it in understanding someone’s reason for doing something, that it helps them to own whatever it is they are doing.

If they don’t know why they are doing something, then they don’t know how that something fits into a larger whole. If they don’t know what the larger whole is, when they make a mistake, they don’t know the repercussions that mistake might cause. I’m reminded of the following quote.

“For the want of a nail the shoe was lost,

For the want of a shoe the horse was lost,

For the want of a horse the rider was lost,

For the want of a rider the battle was lost,

For the want of a battle the kingdom was lost,

And all for the want of a horseshoe-nail.”

― Benjamin Franklin

From Poor Richard’s Almanac

While most of what we do isn’t going to cost us a kingdom, a battle, a person’s life, an animal’s life, or a shoe, that “nail” in the process might still muck up a lot if the person responsible for the “nail” fails to do their part.

So asking the five whys, and getting people to understand the crux of a process, or if you are evaluating what it is you yourself are doing can lead to epiphanies you might never have known.

This brings me back to the start of this post. Why blog? I can’t answer that for you; everyone’s reasons will vary. But here are some that I think might get you started. Can you think of others? Drop me a line and let me know what you think.

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