I have never thought of writing for reputation and honor. What I have in my heart must come out; that is the reason why I compose.
~Ludwig van Beethoven
When I was a venture capitalist, I noticed that entrepreneurs whose primary goal was to make money usually failed. This is because this kind of entrepreneur attracts other people who primarily want to make money, and then when the company doesn’t pay out big bucks immediately (and no startup does), these folks look for greener pastures.
The key question you should ask yourself before starting any new venture is: Do I want to make meaning?
Meaning is not about money, power, or prestige. It’s not even about creating a fun place to work. The meaning of “meaning” comes down to making the world a better place. You can do this in two ways:
First, you can create, enable, or increase something that’s good. For example, Macintosh increased people’s creativity and productivity. Google and Wikipedia enabled all of us, rich and poor, to access virtually limitless amounts of information.
Second, you can prevent, eliminate, or decrease something that’s bad. For example, Tesla is trying to decrease air pollution and our dependence on oil. Palantir and other cybersecurity companies are trying to prevent the bad guys from hacking our computers.
The desire to change the world is a tremendous advantage as you travel down the difficult path ahead because focusing on a lofty goal is more energizing and attracts more talent than simply making a buck.
And if you do make meaning, one of the natural consequences is that you’ll also make money.
The DNA of great organizations contains the desire to make meaning – to make the world better for their customers and for their employees. Having this desire doesn’t guarantee that you’ll succeed, but if you fail, at least you failed doing something worthwhile.
So if you’re thinking of starting a company, your starting point is to figure out how your product or service will make meaning. Everything flows from the answer to this question.
Read the full article at LinkedIn by Guy Kawasaki