I’ve been around the block quite a few times. In the late 2000s, I was wet behind the ears, likely just like you, with this crazy idea about an online marketplace. People thought I was off my rocker. But let me share a little ditty from the vault about one of my first startups.

I had this killer team, and I was jazzed about the vision I had, right? Problem was, getting my team to see what I saw was like asking a dog to meow. I wanted us to be the next Amazon, but my team? They just wanted stable jobs and to not be the next startup bust.

I spent nights staring at the ceiling, wrestling with the question: “Do I make them want what I want or help them get what they want?” It took a hot minute, but I finally figured out the secret sauce: it’s not always one or the other; sometimes, it’s a mix of both.

So, strap in folks, we’re diving into the deep end of the pool here. We’ll explore the two paths to make change happen – changing what people want and aligning your goals with their existing wants. It’s not about mind control, it’s about influence, and let me tell you, it’s more art than science.

So, whether you’re starting your own gig or looking to climb the corporate ladder, this guide is for you. If you’ve ever wondered how to rally people around your vision, you’re in the right place. By the time we’re done here, you’ll be the Picasso of influence, painting your own entrepreneurial masterpiece.

The Two Paths to Making Change Happen

Change, eh? That tricky little devil that gives all of us, including old timers like me, a run for our money. But here’s the thing – we’re in the driver’s seat when it comes to change, especially when we’ve got a vision and we’re running the show.

Now, put on your favorite swimsuit because we’re diving into the two paths to making change happen.

1. Changing What People Want

In the red corner, we’ve got changing what people want. Sounds a bit manipulative, doesn’t it? But it’s not about pulling a fast one or some kind of snake oil scheme. It’s about presenting a vision so flipping fantastic that people can’t help but want it.

Think Steve Jobs introducing the first iPhone. No one was sitting around saying, “I sure wish my phone, camera, and music player could be the same device.” But Jobs painted a picture of this new world and bam! Suddenly, everyone wanted in.

Changing what people want is about sparking that fire, lighting up their imagination with your vision. It’s about leading them to a new horizon, one they may not have even dreamed of.

2. Helping People Achieve What They Want While Achieving Your Goals

In the blue corner, we’ve got helping folks get what they want in a way that also gets you what you want. This isn’t a zero-sum game, my friend. There’s no rule that says for you to win, someone else has to lose. That’s horse hockey!

This path is about finding that sweet spot, that Venn diagram where their wants and your goals overlap. You see, when people feel like they’re winning, they’re more likely to buy into your vision, and boom! Change happens.

Imagine you’re starting a green energy company. You’re not going to get far by trying to make people want to save the planet. Instead, you show them how switching to renewable energy saves them money and reduces their carbon footprint. They get what they want (saving money), and you get what you want (more people using renewable energy). Win-win, baby!

These are our two paths, and they’re not as different as they might seem. In both scenarios, you’re the catalyst for change. But the approach you take, the path you walk, can make a world of difference.

Understanding The Art of Changing Desires

So, you fancy yourself a bit of a Jedi, eh? Want to use the Force to change what people want? Alright, young Padawan, let’s see if we can’t learn a thing or two.

First off, let’s get one thing straight. Changing people’s desires isn’t about some kind of mind control hocus pocus. I can’t stress this enough. We’re not trying to pull a fast one here. We’re not playing games with people’s heads. This isn’t about making them want something that’s not good for them. No, sir. That’s a quick trip to bad karma town, and let me tell you, you do not want to go there.

Changing desires is about reframing, reshaping the way people see the world. It’s about presenting a vision so compelling, so flippin’ irresistible that people can’t help but jump on board.

Now, how do we do this? First off, you’ve got to understand the psychology of wants and desires. Human beings are complex critters. Our wants and desires aren’t just about basic needs. We’re not hamsters, for crying out loud. We don’t just want food and water and a wheel to run on.

We want things that make us feel good, that give us status, that make us feel connected to others. We want to be a part of something bigger, something meaningful. We’re hardwired to seek out novelty, to be curious, to explore.

That’s where you come in. As an entrepreneur, as a visionary, it’s your job to tap into these deep-seated desires. To show people a vision of a future that’s so darn enticing, they can’t help but want it. It’s not about trickery, it’s about alignment. It’s about showing them a path to a future where their deeper desires are met.

But, be warned, with great power comes great responsibility. Just because you can change what people want, doesn’t mean you should. Always, and I mean always, operate from a place of integrity. Remember, you’re not just in it for a quick buck. You’re in this to make a positive impact, to make the world a better place.

Changing what people want isn’t just about getting them to buy your product or service. It’s about sparking a movement, creating a shift, making a difference.

Case Study: Apple’s iPod – Creating a Desire People Didn’t Know They Had

Picture it. The year was 2001. Britney Spears was belting out ‘I’m a Slave 4 U’ and we were all bopping along with our bulky CD Walkmans. Then, out of nowhere, came this sleek, shiny gizmo from Apple – the iPod.

“1000 songs in your pocket,” they said. Who needed 1000 songs in their pocket? As it turns out, we all did. We just didn’t know it yet.

The beauty of Apple’s approach was that they didn’t just try to sell us a gadget. Nah, they were selling us a lifestyle, a new way of being. They painted a picture of a world where we could have a soundtrack to our lives, where we could carry our music with us, wherever we roamed.

They didn’t change our love for music. What they changed was how we interacted with music, how we experienced it. And that was something we didn’t even know we wanted. But boy, once we saw it, we couldn’t unsee it.

The iPod was more than just a product. It was a revolution. It changed the game, and it paved the way for everything that came after – the iPhone, the App Store, and yes, even those pesky AirPods that keep falling out of your ears.

Apple didn’t just create a product, they created a desire. A desire for a new kind of music experience. And in doing so, they transformed an industry.

This, my friends, is the power of changing what people want. It’s not about deception, it’s about vision. It’s about seeing a future that others can’t, and then bringing that future to life.

Now, not all of us are sitting on the next iPod, and that’s okay. Remember, it’s not about creating the biggest wave, it’s about creating the right wave. The wave that aligns with your vision and your values.

The Second Path: The Win-Win Situation

Alright, so we’ve talked about changing what people want, about creating a vision so compelling it pulls people in. But there’s another path to making change happen, a path that’s a bit less Jedi and a bit more, let’s say, diplomat.

This is the path of the Win-Win. The path of alignment. This isn’t about changing what people want, it’s about finding the sweet spot where their desires and your goals meet. This, my friends, is the art of negotiation at its finest.

The win-win path is all about collaboration and compromise. It’s about finding common ground, about meeting in the middle. And it’s a damn powerful way to make change happen.

Imagine you’re at a dinner party, and you want to get everyone to play a game of charades. Now, you could try to convince them that charades is the best game ever (good luck with that, by the way). Or you could find a game that everyone already enjoys and wants to play. That’s the win-win.

In the business world, the win-win approach is all about creating solutions that benefit all parties involved. It’s about understanding the needs and desires of your customers, your partners, your employees, and aligning your goals with theirs. It’s about creating a business model where everyone gets a piece of the pie.

The win-win approach fosters trust and builds relationships. It’s a long-term strategy, one that’s all about creating lasting, sustainable change. And it’s a path that requires a deep understanding of the people you’re working with, a keen sense of empathy, and a willingness to adapt and evolve.

But just like with changing desires, the win-win approach comes with a word of caution. It’s not about people-pleasing or compromising your values. It’s about finding a common path, a shared vision. And sometimes, that means standing your ground, sticking to your guns, and saying no when you need to.

Now, you might be wondering, “which path should I choose? The Jedi or the diplomat?” Well, why not both?

Case Study: Uber – Aligning Individual’s Wants with a Revolutionary Business Model

Think back to the good old days before Uber. Getting a taxi was, let’s face it, a royal pain in the patootie. You’re standing on a street corner, arm outstretched, praying to the cab gods, and if it’s raining? Forget about it.

Then along came Uber, like a knight in shining armor, with a solution so simple, so convenient, that it felt like a miracle. A tap on your smartphone and, voila, a ride appears. It was like having your personal chauffeur, minus the fancy uniform and the British accent.

Uber didn’t change our desire for convenient transportation. That desire was already there, festering every time we got overcharged by a cabbie or missed a cab in the rain. What Uber did was align their business model with our pre-existing desires, and it was a match made in heaven.

The success of Uber didn’t come from creating a new want. It came from tapping into a want that was already there and providing a way to satisfy it that was better than anything we’d seen before.

And they didn’t just stop at the customers. Uber took the win-win approach to another level by providing a flexible earning opportunity for drivers. For people with a car and some spare time, Uber was an attractive way to make some extra dough. Again, Uber didn’t create the desire to earn more money, they simply provided a new and flexible way to fulfill it.

Through this double-sided approach, Uber hit the jackpot. They aligned their goals with the wants of both customers and drivers, creating a revolutionary business model that changed the face of urban transportation.

But just like Apple, Uber also faced its share of challenges. The path to change isn’t always smooth, and it’s important to stay nimble, to learn and adapt as you go along.

So, you’re probably thinking, “Alright Geoffrey, these case studies are all well and good, but how do I apply this to my own venture?” Well, hold your horses, we’re getting to that.

The Balance of Power: Striking the Right Chord Between the Two Methods

Okay, so we’ve looked at two paths to making change happen – changing what people want, and aligning your goals with their existing wants. But here’s the kicker: it’s not an either-or situation. In fact, the most successful ventures usually involve a mix of both.

Think of these two paths like two tools in your toolbox. You wouldn’t use a hammer to screw in a bolt, right? Similarly, you need to know when to use which method, and that, my friends, requires some damn good judgment and a healthy dose of flexibility.

Changing what people want, the Apple approach, is high-risk, high-reward. It’s like betting everything on a single roll of the dice. If it works, you’ve got yourself a game-changer, a revolution on your hands. If it doesn’t, well, better luck next time.

On the other hand, aligning your goals with people’s existing wants, the Uber approach, is a bit safer. You’re not trying to reinvent the wheel, you’re just making it smoother, faster, better. But while the risks are lower, so are the potential rewards.

So, how do you strike the right balance? It’s all about understanding your market, your audience, and yourself.

Know your market. Are you entering a saturated market with established preferences? Then maybe the win-win approach is your best bet. But if you’re breaking new ground, if you’ve got something truly innovative, then maybe it’s worth taking a risk and trying to change what people want.

Know your audience. What do they value? What are their needs, their pain points, their desires? The better you understand your audience, the more effectively you can influence them.

And finally, know yourself. What’s your risk tolerance? What are your strengths, your values, your goals? Don’t try to be an Apple if you’re an Uber at heart, and vice versa.

In the end, the art of making change happen is a balancing act, a dance between vision and pragmatism, between innovation and empathy. It’s not easy, but damn, it’s worth it.

Practical Tips for Professionals: Riding the Waves of Change

Alright, let’s get practical. We’ve talked about the theory, the case studies, the strategies. Now, it’s time to turn these insights into action. Let’s discuss some actionable steps to apply these methods in your professional life, whether you’re an entrepreneur, a team leader, or a lone wolf professional looking to make a splash.

Step 1: Identify Wants and Desires – This is your starting point. You can’t change what people want or align their wants with your goals if you don’t know what the heck they want in the first place. So, do your homework. Get to know your market, your audience, your team. Ask questions, do surveys, engage in conversations.

Step 2: Define Your Goals – Next, get clear on what you want. What are your goals, your vision, your aspirations? The more clarity you have, the easier it will be to influence change.

Step 3: Choose Your Path – Now comes the fun part. Do you want to change what people want, or align their wants with your goals? Remember, this is not a one-size-fits-all decision. Consider your market, your audience, your own strengths and risk tolerance.

Step 4: Implement – You’ve done your planning, now it’s time to put it into action. Launch your campaign, start your project, introduce your product. And remember, the key to successful implementation is communication. Keep the lines open, be transparent, and let people see your enthusiasm.

Step 5: Monitor and Adjust – Last, but definitely not least, keep an eye on things and be ready to adjust as necessary. Things not going as planned? Don’t panic, just revisit your strategy and tweak as needed. Remember, change is a process, not a one-time event.

Throughout this process, remember the importance of authenticity, communication, and understanding. You’re not a snake oil salesman trying to trick people into buying your product. You’re an agent of change, helping people achieve their desires while achieving your own.

And remember, I’m here to guide you every step of the way. So, whether you’re creating the next iPod or the next Uber, just remember: you’re not just building a business, you’re crafting a revolution. Let’s make it count!


Alright, my ambitious change-makers, we’ve been on quite a journey. From the back alleys of my own start-up struggles, through the lush fields of Apple’s innovation, and along the bustling city streets with Uber, we’ve explored the art and science of making change happen.

And what did we learn? That there are two main paths to influence and instigate change: changing what people want and helping them get what they want while achieving your own goals.

We saw how Apple played the high-stakes game of changing what people want, crafting a desire for a product we didn’t even know we needed. And then there’s Uber, aligning its business goals with our pre-existing desire for convenience and affordability.

Both approaches are valid. Both approaches can be wildly successful. But remember, it’s not a choice between one or the other. The real magic happens when you learn to dance between the two, striking the right balance based on your market, your audience, and your own strengths and values.

At the end of the day, the art of making change happen is about more than just strategy. It’s about understanding. Understanding your market, your audience, yourself. It’s about empathy, authenticity, and connection.

So, to all you budding entrepreneurs and professionals out there, I say this: Embrace the art of influence. Drive the change you wish to see. Whether you’re changing what people want or helping them get what they want, remember, you’re not just building a business.

You’re crafting a revolution.

About the Author: Geoffrey Byers
Geoffrey is one of the world's foremost Designers. He is also a Serial Entrepreneur, Author, Speaker, and Mad Scientist. Hypothesis-Driven experimentation is his love language.