Want Better Solutions? Ask Better Questions.

Why any innovation starts with one impulse.

David Rhoades
7 min readAug 23, 2018


It seems like every comedian with kids has a riff on the same bit: making fun of their kids for asking “why.”

You’ve probably seen some variation on it. The bit usually begins with the comedian recounting a scene (usually in a car) where a kid asks a benign, easy-to-answer question. The parent answers, but then the kid asks why. Then the parent gives a slightly less plausible answer, then the kid asks why again, and so on.

To be fair, the bit is usually at the comedian’s expense (“Parenting — I’m just making it up as I go!”), but the joke at the heart of it is that kids who constantly ask “why” are, well, kind of annoying.

At some point, all of us realized that our constant stream of questions made us look silly, or we picked up that the adults around us didn’t really want to answer them.

And then, tragically, we stopped.

Maybe we lost our compulsion to ask “why,” but we need to get it back – and quickly. Why? Because more than any other trait, more than any other productivity hack or product or notebook or efficiency tool, the ability to ask good questions is what makes us future-proof.

Good questions will always be relevant. Good questions do not go out of fashion, they don’t become obsolete, and they are not mass-produceable. Asking good questions is still one of the few things you need a human being for. Good questions guide the way we gather and interpret data, the way we design and code sites, the way we build and launch products.

Here’s what I mean:

Good Questions Shape How We Approach Problems

Asking questions is a way of aiming our learning – the questions you ask will shape how you think. It will also shape the sort of answers you’ll create.

Consider two similar-but-distinct questions:

  • “How do I find the one thing I’m best at?”
  • “How can I make the biggest impact?”

If you’re at any point interested in growing at Scorpion (or in general), all of us ask ourselves a variation of this question. But consider where either one leads. They might lead to the same answer, but would take us there by vastly different routes.



David Rhoades

I write about life as a working writer and how to practice sustained creativity for long periods. Subscribe to my weekly newsletter: https://www.rhoadey.com.