Making Meaning

I recently came across an intriguing excerpt from Guy Kawasaki’s book “The Art of the Start”. Guy is the now-famous Silicon Vally entrepreneur and start-up guru. Relative to what people think most businesses are about—making money—Guy touches on something more fundamental for many business leaders.

He says “…the essence of being successful as an entrepreneur is building something that “makes meaning”. Meaning is not about money, power, or prestige. It’s not even about creating a fun place to work. Among the meanings of “meaning” are to:

  • Make the world a better place.
  • Increase the quality of life.
  • Right a terrible wrong.
  • Prevent the end of something good.

Goals such as these are a tremendous advantage as you travel down the difficult path ahead.”

As usual, Guy gives us great food for thought in simple terms. While making money is important and critical to the longevity of for-profit enterprises, and maximizing shareholder return the Holy Grail, that’s not what gets business leaders, and certainly their troops, up in the morning in my judgment. Not all of them anyway. For some it’s about making a difference, indeed making meaning, because to get people to sign up for the mission, to go where they’ve not been before, it just can’t be all about the money. There’s gotta be more to it.

Dick Schulte