who are you doing this for?

You have to know your audience.

This applies to pretty much everything public, business, social, academic, philanthropic, government. Who are you doing this for? is the question to ask up front, and all along the way. Because the answer may change, you have to make sure from time to time that you're on target.

Like the time I took that Lit class, where my grades directly corresponded to how well I repeated what I heard the prof say in class in my essays on the tests.

When I saw that the criticisms in the margins (explaining my less-than-A grade) pointed me back to his view, I understood. Things had changed. Well, they didn't change, my understanding broadened. I took a step back on the landscape, caught sight of my target, and what I needed to do.

If I wanted to produce As, I needed to give him what he wanted, what he thought was good.

I tested that theory with every essay from then on. I did my best to repeat what I heard him say. And, it worked: I got As the rest of the way.

What I initially wanted was to talk about ideas, but when I saw that that was at odds with the other thing I wanted (good grades across the board), I made a decision.

I could keep working on my personal interest or get on with the "business" of my education. In that class, the set of ideas we would discuss was bound by the prof's particular view. Either I was in, or I was out.

It's like that with most things. There isn't always a grade attached of course. And it's not always such a sharp boundary. But there is an audience, and they have a view of what works for them. It could be that their view is much like yours. The thing is: it's still their view. 

If you want someone other than yourself involved in an outcome, you have to know your audience, and accept their view.

You have to satisfy their criteria to succeed.

So, the first question is: who are you doing this for?  What do they want? What's important to them? Easy for them? Painful for them? What are they already doing, caring about, wanting help with? Who do they think you are in this story?

Who are you doing this for?

Your view of what's important, a good experience, a good product or idea is part of it. How much depends on the situation, the relationship, the goal. It varies. Sometimes roles define ownership, sometimes it's a negotiation or a discussion. If they're grading you, like my professor, or your customer, then it's totally their call.