A colleague recently recommended I take a look at the book entitled "The Art of the Start" written by Guy Kawasaki. I got my hands on the book through Amazon (man they make it easy!) and proceeded to devour it. It is a fantastic book with lots of great advice ... a must read for any entrepreneur looking to start a new company. The recommendation that sticks with me the most though is to "Make Meaning". Although obvious, it is very easy to forget we have a responsibility to make the world a better place.
This reminded me of a very clear moment that occurred last year during a U2 concert following the very moving song ""Sometimes You Can't Make It on Your Own", written by Bono as a tribute to his father who died of cancer in 2001. I was just recently rudely reminded of a pledge I made to myself during that moment. A colleague of many years lost his young daughter to cancer last week. This is such a sad sad tragedy ... I don't have the words to describe how awful I felt hearing she had lost her battle. I can't even begin to imagine how her family could possibly cope with this senseless loss. It literally brings grown men to tears.
I lost my own mother to cancer many years ago and with an awesome wife and three daughters myself, I'm scared to death one of them will get sick. Children are so sweet, innocent and helpless against the world, making the world a better place for them must become a life's mission.
So what does this have to do with start-ups? Quite a bit if we choose to. During that moment at the U2 concert, when the thousands of people around me seemed to disappear and everything went quiet in my head, I pledged to earmark at least 1% of profits of my new venture to fight the suffering of children . With your support, we will do amazing things.
The company I will build will make allot of money. I will not rest until it does because no matter what the product or service is, it has a much grander and more important mission. This will be one of the pillars of the company that goes beyond "don't do evil". So rather than wait until success finds this new venture to make such a pledge because all the money somehow feels hollow, this is now a public goal made on-line where it will live forever.
As a reader of this blog, you will have the opportunity to be part of this mission as a potential partner, future employee or customer. It's all coming together.