Explaining can be your Superpower

Our mission is to turn everyone’s ability to explain into a superpower

Avatar of Gregory de Souza Gregory de Souza on August 31, 2018

Spiderman Reading Photo by Raj Eiamworakul

We live in a hyper connected world where sending a message is easier than ever. But it’s come at a cost: we’re all so overwhelmed, we have increasingly less time & attention to spend understanding one another.

In this day and age, if we want to be understood, we have to explain ourselves. But as you’ll soon discover, explaining yourself won’t just help you cut through the noise, with the right tools it can be your superpower.

A skill we all possess

Ever asked a kid to explain something? Well in the video below, BuzzFeed did just that asking kids: how are babies made? Even though most kids wouldn’t have any first hand experience, they successfully share their understanding by relating it to things they know about.

The fact is, explaining is a skill we all possess. But while some of us are great at it, many of us struggle to do it well

However, for many of the world’s greatest scientists & inventors, explaining isn’t just another skill, it’s their superpower.

feynman blackboard

Richard Feynman, a Nobel laureate often lauded as the ‘great explainer’, famously argued that if you can’t explain something in simple terms, you don’t really understand it 1.

Even Apple (the designers of the device you're likely reading this on) expect employees to explain their work, not just present it. Apple believes, like Feynman, that clear explanations don't just help others understand what you’re presenting, but prove you understand it.2

These examples illustrate why explaining, when done right, is a superpower. As Feynman argues, a clear explanation doesn’t just help a distracted audience understand you, it can deepen your very own understanding of the subject. And as Apple’s work culture illustrates, a clear explanation proves you know your stuff, helping you persuade a skeptical audience.

A 'superpower' for everyone

We’ve established that ‘explaining’ is a skill we all possess, unfortunately it's not a superpower for everyone.

But if human ingenuity can help an average person drive a car faster than the fastest man alive, should there not be a way to drastically improve our limited ability to explain?

We certainly think there’s a way and it’s why our company’s mission is creating tools that turn ‘explaining’ into a superpower for everyone.

We want to empower anyone to become a great explainer so that everyone, not just the Feynmans or the Apples of the world, can reap the rewards of explaining well.

The first step in making our mission a reality is StepTree, the world’s first & only ‘explanation tool’. StepTree is designed to empower anyone to break down what they know into simple steps everyone can understand.

Now that you know that explaining can be your superpower too, isn’t it time you try it? Try StepTree today.

  1. Jason Kottke neatly summarizes Feynman's take on the importance of explaining

  2. John Gruber clarifies that explaining is ingrained into Apple's culture on purpose, not because it's executives are rubes

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