Two New Einsteins...
By Asking Why.

I have a friend, Ray Hewlett. We go back more than 35-years. A couple of years ago, we were talking, and he mentioned Steve Jobs' commencement speech at Stanford. Ray told me about a video of this speech. I have written an article about connecting the dot based upon that video and have used that video in many other articles.


Several months ago, Ray and I were doing lunch again, which often is a very long lunch, and I mentioned Jack and Owen who are my two toddler grandchildren. Jack, who is nearly four, is always asking why. He will repeat his why until he gets an answer that he can accept. I told Ray that I was writing an article about my two grandchildren being new Einsteins. Jack and his whys and Owen who was just learning to talk but points in amazement to everything that interests him...which is about everything.

Al, Jack, and Own using the computer

Ray responded that he heard a webinar from IU's Kelley School for Business by Mark Long. In Long's seminar, he mentioned that someone did a study comparing 5-year olds and 44-year olds and the number of times per day that they ask why. The statistics were staggering. An average 5-year old would ask why 65-times a day while the average 44-year old would only ask why 6-times.

This professor went on to apply the youngster's questioning to a better business model. If business professionals would ask a series of whys, they will improve their business models. Long's webinar lecture told his listeners to ask why-type questions at least 20-times a day regarding how to improve their business.

I spend a great deal of time pondering many why-related questions. I was teaching Jack chess several weeks ago. He knows all the name of the pieces like king, queen, bishops, etc. After answering a long list of why questions from him, he finally asked, "Where is the princess? We are pondering his question.

Al and Jack in conversation

At another time, I am explaining to Jack and Owen the magnetic domain theory of Pierre-Ernest Weiss, the French physicist. Over a century ago, Weiss worked on the mean field being proportional to the magnetic bulk or Magnetic equation.



Jack and Owen are watching me using a magnet to make a face on a card while I explained Weiss' theory.

Al, Jack, and Owen playing with magnets

It is clear to me that Jack and Owen are two soon-to-be Einsteins.

Jack and Owen gardening

Owen and Jack are pondering what next to do and why.

This is the name and business address of my friend, Ray and Mark Long who mentioned the comparison of a 5-year old and a 44-year old asking why on a daily basis:

Raymond Hewlett
Financial Representative
Mark S. Long
Northwestern Mutual is a company specializing in financial guidance, insurance, and retirement planning. Johnson Center for Entrepreneurship and Innovation at Kelly School of Business.