Mission Driven Founders

I’ve written many times about how I/we prefer to invest in mission driven founders vs mercenary founders. The former starts a company because they see a problem they feel compelled to fix. The latter starts a company because they see an opportunity to make money. There is nothing wrong with the latter. It is likely the reason that the vast majority of companies are started. But we prefer to invest in the former because there is an extra something going for a founder who starts with a mission. It leads to more tenacity, more passion, more feel for the product and market, and ultimately a higher probability of success.

For role models for the mission driven founder we need to look no farther than the founding fathers and the opening line of the Declaration of Independence, published 240 years ago today:

When in the Course of human events, it becomes necessary

The key word being necessary. These people had had enough and NEEDED to forge a new path.

So when thinking about starting a company, ask yourself if it is necessary. That will tell you a lot.

#entrepreneurship#hacking government

Comments (Archived):

  1. James Ferguson @kWIQly

    The idea of founding a company that didn’t feel necessary is total anathema.Bills must be paid and many go to work to pay the bills – but founding a company to “pay the bills” is idiotic.I speak from painful experience, (because even running a necessary company is painful)However painful experience may be – if what you aim for is necessary – there is payback.It may or may not make you financially better off – but it enrichens.

  2. LIAD

    the best products get pulled out a company by their users.the best companies get pulled out a founder by their mission.

    1. James Ferguson @kWIQly

      Not only poetic – but spot on !

  3. Ben Kinnard

    Given the paucity of IPOs in startupland the last few years, I’m sure a few have thought it, but has any VC ever publicly said they like to invest in mercenaries?

  4. sigmaalgebra

    An entrepreneurial startup being “necessary”? Not very likely. Useful, terrific, a nice addition to civilization, all, maybe, but “necessary” is a bit strong.There is a lot of content on the Internet — entertainment, socializing, information, education, and more. It appears that a nice push forward for our civilization will be that people get more benefit from such content. And, then, sure, there will likely be feedback effects of creating more good content. In particular, IMHO, appropriate, good content is critical for civilization to have the better governments crucial for doing better or often even well, even avoiding various horrors of awful governments.But, there is so much content on the Internet that for individuals to find what they need to take at least nearly full advantage of what is there for what they want, need, etc. is too difficult.So, with Internet content, there is a problem in what used to be called information retrieval.That field identified one case — when the user knew what content they wanted, knew that it existed, and had key words/phrases that fairly accurately characterized that content. So, long one approach for this case was a library card catalog subject index. Basically, first cut, Google is a computerized, Internet version of such a subject index. But, as the old field of information retrieval knew, there is more to the problem of finding content, that is, information retrieval.Some of the writings of Benedict Evans describes some of the need not served by a keyword/phrase subject index. E.g., Evans mentions discovery and recommendation.Maybe, ballpark, just from some familiarity with content and the Internet, maybe, ballpark, since I don’t have a rock solid estimate, about 2/3rds of the valuable content on the Internet, searches people would like to do, and content they would like to find are poorly served by a keyword/phrase subject index.So, there is a need to do better on the remaining 2/3rds. Apparently Evans thinks so. Apparently the taxonomy of old information retrieval thought so. Long before I heard of Evans or got a review of old information retrieval, I thought so.It’s is easy to see that quite generally in computing, e.g., well beyond information retrieval, a good step forward would be to do well handling the meaning of content. Alas, as we know too well, working well with meaning is an unsolved Holy Grail problem for computer science, information retrieval, discovery, recommendation, curation, etc. A guess is that doing well with meaning is a part of real artificial intelligence, a field that IMHO currently is nearly always laughable down to hype, down to scam and fraud.But for the 2/3rds, a guess is that it would be good to make some progress handling meaning of content.So, what the heck to do about meaning? Good question.So, sure, as AVC knows well, my startup is attacking this problem of the 2/3rds. The ideas appear to be worked out. The crucial core is some applied math. Much of the role of that crucial core is getting at meaning. The code intended for early production is running and in alpha test.Maybe people will like the work. Maybe they won’t. Maybe people don’t much want to find content they don’t know exists. Maybe the user interface I’ve developed will just repel users. Maybe users will find the user experience like a “barbed wire enema”.I believe I’d like to use what I’ve developed, but I know that that doesn’t have to mean much for 3 billion other people.I hope that one good effect will be that people will do better getting the content for the information needed for better government. But I can’t save the world or claim to try to, or even hope to be able to. A better world is in the hands of billions of people where my hands are essentially trivial and irrelevant.So, I’m not on a mission to save the world. But if billions of people like my work well enough to use it on average for, say, 30 minutes a week, then maybe there will be some good effects on civilization. For several thousand years, others have pushed civilization forward. The current generation should also try. There’s no law saying I can’t. So, maybe my work will help. And, sure, for 30 minutes a week from 1+ billion people, just from the ad revenue I will become wealthy.Along with that much money will also come an opportunity for power. I want to be able to defend myself, and apparently if I become wealthy I will lose some anonymity and maybe will need much more defenses than now, but otherwise I don’t want the power. And I don’t want anyone else to have that power.If my project is successful, then I will concentrate on what I want — pure and applied math, mathematical physics, especially quantum mechanics and relativity, eventually for the core research questions in cosmology, etc. (wanted to do that back in college), go to operas and classical music concerts, maybe do more in music, sometimes feast on New England seafood, and otherwise enjoy life. For the wealth, I will try to arrange that it will help civilization, but I won’t want to give anyone a lot of power. And I will try to remain a private person.But “necessary”. Nope.I am also reminded of the Mother Goose story “The Little Red Hen”: She started with a single grain of wheat and worked to be successful in the bread baking business. All along the way, no one was willing to help her, and everyone either ignored her or laughed at her chances. But, some projects are successful, and her’s was, also. When she had hot, fragrant loaves of bread, fresh out of the oven and people lining up to buy, then people noticed.That’s just the way things are. The fraction of people that can see a successful bread baking business coming from a little red hen and a single grain of wheat is from tiny down to zero.Was her bread “necessary”? Not really.

    1. Adam Sher

      Very few things are necessary. I think Fred is referring to an internal drive that compells a founder to work on a problem. Many times this arises from a frustrating problem one encounters at a previous employer. Maybe the problem is technology related. Sometimes it is the people that are the problem.

      1. sigmaalgebra

        I know.No investor wants to fund a luxury vacation instead of productive work. And they’d rather get more than 8 hours of work each 24 hours.So, investors look for whatever CEO personality features they believe might help.So, maybe such features are the CEO is driven, on a mission for something or other, maybe to save, change, improve the world, wants to prove something to others, family, friends, former bosses they didn’t like, investors, the tech media, bankers, some country club membership committee, blond stuffed bikinis, Ferrari salesmen, real estate brokers, etc. Maybe they want to be on the A-list, have every VC firm on Sand Hill Road calling them once a week, finally get smiles from the prettiest girls they knew in high school, etc. And, they need such things. Whatever, they are willing to give the project their all up to, and maybe for a while including, damaging their health.Okay, maybe there are cases of such drive that are successful.Alas, my view is that such drives represent a sophomoric view of life, business, success, and work, are not nearly the best features for success, and risk messed up family relationships, broken marriages, one night stands, mood altering substances, burn-out, serious co-founder disputes, lots of fighting with suppliers, too many law suits, too little concern for the customers/users, vast plans with half-vast execution, simplistic thinking or no real thinking, etc.

    2. thinkdisruptive

      There are two levels of “necessary”. There is the need that an individual (founder or team) has to solve a problem — like an obsessive compulsive disorder, they can’t not solve it. It’s no different from what artists, musicians, writers, scientists and explorers do every day. They create, find, discover, perform and do because they have to. They can’t imagine doing anything more important with their lives. It is a personal need that we often call passion. This is not the same thing as anyone else needing the results of your efforts, but it is sufficient to start a company, because you have to possess the persistence to keep pushing when the chips are down, and the satisfaction of an emotional need whose pursuit is its own reward, since the monetary rewards could well be less than most jobs you could be doing for someone else.When your personal need intersects with something that many others need to get done, and you are able to accomplish that for others in a way that adds value, saves time, enriches life, etc then you are chasing something truly special that can be huge.Although it is the second type of need that creates the opportunity for wealth, the first kind of need (the personal need) has to be there first for you to have a shot at succeeding at the second and becoming a market leader. If you aren’t solving a problem that you are compelled to solve, you have little chance of creating the massive wealth generating success that derives from satisfying other’s needs.I’m pretty sure Fred is mostly talking about the first kind of necessary.As a sidebar, I don’t trust any entrepreneur whose first goal is money/personal enrichment. And, the public generally can’t relate to entrepreneurs who lack a mission or a backstory, which is why those whose main pursuit is money are the ones least likely to achieve it.

      1. sigmaalgebra

        > like an obsessive compulsive disorder,There’s next to nothing good from OCD. One of the really bad things is that an OCD person has a super tough time looking at reality, thinking about it objectively, rationally, and effectively, figuring out what the heck to do, and doing it. Really, an OCD person is lost from reality and in serious trouble. OCD is a profound incapacitation for anything good.OCD is an anxiety disease; in simple terms, it’s a result of someone having fears that are wildly exaggerated and out of control. But it isn’t all cognitive: E.g., dogs can get it, too, and then may lick a paw until it is raw and infected, chase their own tail until they are exhausted. Expert opinion says that the basic cause is biological and genetic. In humans it may not come on until the mid 20s. It’s commonly accepted by experts that clinical psychological talk therapy helps from only a little down to not at all.But it isn’t always 24 x 7, and in some cases circumstances and environment can play a role, good/bad.E.g., a special case is social phobia where the anxiety level of, e.g., what others might think, goes way off the tops of the charts. But, for such a case, away from people except close family, the symptoms might mostly go away.All the entrepreneurial passion, drive, etc. in the world will be just a gigantic waste of time, maybe of much of a life, a family, etc. if users/customers just don’t like/want/need the product/service.Wasting time, money, effort, family, life, etc. is a total dumb de dumb dumb bummer.So, to avoid a gigantic waste, very much need more than just passion; need good understanding, insight, ideas, etc.The economy, money, work, family financial security, etc. are darned important. From small towns to the largest cities, a huge fraction of the well off families are supported by family owned businesses, maybe even sole proprietorships. Maybe they are running 10 convenience stores that also sell gasoline, 10 McDonald’s, are the leading wholesale plumbing supplier in a radius of 100 miles, dominate the medical testing lab business for a radius of 100 miles, own 400 units of rental housing, etc. In my visits to yacht clubs, that’s mostly where the money was coming from.It’s called a career, and careers are darned important. In simple terms, what is needed is a good business direction, a good plan for that direction, and, then, working hard and smart. Luck, when available, can also help a lot. Some internal, irrational, psychological need is from not much of the whole down to irrelevant, harmful, or just debilitating.One of the patterns of disaster I saw way too often was some parents did from okay up to quite well, and, one way and another, one of their children felt obligated beyond all possible human strength to do much better. Yes, then, some of the other children went the opposite way — saw the astounding struggles, thought that at best they would come in second to their driven sibling, and gave up. Bummers all the way around.So, the driven child just kept driving. There were interpersonal problems, problems for the clinical psychologists, GI problems, marriage problems, etc.Setting all that overhead aside, there was the work, the business. Oops. Not good.Charging really fast in, however, some foolish directions, “Damn the torpedoes; full speed ahead!”, there was pushing too hard on others until they just responded FU and walked out; there were nasty disputes with suppliers, too much fighting, too many legal cases. The drive was so much that there was not enough thinking, and some really stupid actions were too common. And, there was disaster — the businesses flopped, lots of family money was lost, there were divorces, etc. Years of really bad family Thanksgiving dinners.Common advice is that 90% of success is drive; 90% of success is luck; 90% of success is who you know; 90% of success is ABC, always be closing; 90% of success is getting up early; 90% of success is ….Instead, let’s look at a little of crucial, maybe boring, reality: So, for a career, i.e., to make money, can work as an employee for a business, can own a business that might hire employees, and, now, for a big advantage, can own a business based on the Internet, Web, and software. For more in advantage, since computers are doing the production part of the work and since can program computers to do a lot of calculations from applied math, can use some math as an advantage.So, maybe someone lives next to a par three hole on a golf course and just likes to see whole in one shots there. So, to see more hole in one shots, they try to get everyone tall enough to swing a club to go out for golf. Then, lots of beginning golfers wear out the fairway and the taller grass on the sides walking to, looking for, their nearly lost balls. Heck, some of their shots go off the course, across the road, and get lost under the shrubbery of some houses (heck, as a child, at a golf course not far from where I lived, my brother and I used to paw around under such shrubbery, retrieve the lost balls, wash them, and sell them).Once a year the golf course has a tournament with a lot of expert golfers. Then, maybe 1 in 20 times the hole is played, there is an eagle, two under par, hole in one, on that par three.But, it may be that, right, over the whole year most of the hole in one shots on that hole are still made by beginning golfers who played a lot and got lucky instead of the expert golfers who actually had a 1 in 20 chance.So, conclusion: If you want to place a bet on a hole in one on that par three, do you bet on a beginner or an expert?But the expert is short on the passion of the beginners? Uh, how the heck do you suppose they got to be an expert?Irrational psychological needs, charging herds of manipulated beginners, OCD cases, blind luck, really, really good jobs, very high pay, in Silicon Valley and NYC where, however, the employee can’t afford to buy a house and support a family — a lot of mistakes. Gads, I need to get back to productive work.

        1. Lawrence Brass

          Its 4th of July sigma, we have to ask @JLM if we can take the afternoon off.Cheers.

          1. sigmaalgebra

            Ah, I got back to work for a little then for lunch listened to the 1812 Overture as athttps://www.youtube.com/wat…That version uses a chorus for some of the parts — it’s well done.But, back to work. I have one more random exogenous interruption and then, VICTORY over the nonsense, and back to the code.Then test the heck out of it (some more). Stuff in a lot more initial data.Likely change the Web site logging from the Microsoft ASP.NET and/or IIS facility (which does handle the possibility of multiple Web pages wanting to write to the one log file at the same time) to just a simple simplification of my simple code for Web page session state. The Microsoft log file is a total pain to read; I wrote some quick and dirty interpretive code to make it easy to read, but that code is too slow for production; the log file records I write will be dirt simple to read, sort, filter, analyze, etc. And, sure, I could tweak that log file utility to look at incoming records and give me a phone call at 3 AM! So, that code is single threaded, and the issue of multiple Web pages … is handled just by the standard TCP/IP FIFO queuing. I hope it works as advertised!Then the usual — static IP address, pick and register a domain name, touch base with NYS for a business name, etc., get a tax ID, set up a business bank account, …, get a cheapo router, plug together a first server, maybe based on the 8 core AMD at 4.0 GHz, use the Microsoft Bizspark program for high end versions of Windows Server and SQL Server, have a private beta test, get publicity, go live, run ads, get revenue, do whatever else to make it grow, and, if it works, handle the growth. All standard stuff done by others maybe a million times — I should be able to do it.Keep working on the Fourth? Ah, sure! The sooner I get this done the sooner I can get a great cold lobster salad and a glass of Montrachet for lunch! Sure, some haricot vert with a simple Sauce Vinaigrette, some French bread and some sour cream butter. Montrachet is the most famous of the French white Burgundies, Chardonnay, from near Macon. Hitchcock liked it! Would be still better in a yacht on Long Island Sound sharing with some young, blond, stuffed bikinis! Ah, still better, go for a lecture on quantum mechanics and relativity!

  5. aminTorres

    agree but oh sad times when the mission is not in a venture fundable sized market though…

    1. jason wright

      size of market is for mercenaries. people with a messianic zeal to do a thing have no choice but to do that thing.

    2. Marissa_NYx

      A key skill for the mission focussed founder in that situation is to know how to pivot into a large addressable market for customers hungry for their problem (not the mission driven founders mission based problem ) to be solved . Sometimes we get their obliquely rather than directly. Sometimes it’s simply a matter of strategy – ie. Using the mission to create strategy rather than using the mission to create or invent a market problem. Where there’s a will, there’s a way.

      1. PhilipSugar

        Or not.There is this famous jewish deli where I went to school the owners do very well: http://www.philly.com/phill…Money quote:Ever think about expanding?We have lots of offers, lots of offers. But it’s like, I have one good wife. Why would I have two wives? You might think you would make more money, but really it’s just more headache.

        1. awaldstein

          Interesting.Been watching Russ & Daughters in LES. Been there over 100 years. My mom & dad went there on a date 75 years ago.Lately, they have a cafe in LES basically same food that is made. Freakin amazing.And in a few of the Jewish museums. There’s natural expansion and then there’s expansion.

          1. PhilipSugar

            Yes like that. The thing was the owner’s had an absolute fun time. working. They loved handing out samples to the line.I will tell one of my few off color jokes here because it shows just how much fun they had.One day I am waiting in line with my Jewish fraternity brothers. They pass out tongue and I refuse. The owner says: “you are Jewish you have to eat tongue it is Jewish soul food”My fraternity brother says: “he is Catholic: Jewish soul food? What is that? Does it make your nose bigger and your dick smaller?”Every single time I went in there he would pass out tongue in the line and tell the joke. (and I would eat the tongue and laugh with everyone else, including him who laughed the loudest)

        2. LE

          A guy who does real estate for me got a listing on a deli for sale in Cherry Hill. I immediately called a man who runs a deli that my niece used to work for to see if he was interested in buying another one. (Just for kicks, wouldn’t gain in any way). He literally had no interest, it was as if he was overwhelmed just running the one that he owned. Didn’t even are about the details. In my world anyone into what he did would have pumped for info and intel or just been curious. This guy was like all spent and out of energy (guy in his 50’s probably).Running a deli is probably harder than most restaurants. Many combinations of dishes and things that can go wrong and the type of customers (jewish people like me) that tend to complain and hold your feet to the flame.I was tempted to invest in someone who might want to buy the deli in Cherry Hill. I kept thinking “you need to have your head examined for thinking that”. Yet the challenge of making a difficult situation work kind of drew me in. [1][1] Ironically per my other comment, as an “investor” with a limited downside!

          1. PhilipSugar

            I think that is one of the points of the post. If you have a zeal for what you do you can put up with the pain. When you are doing it for just for money it is harder.You can’t just do two you have to run from two to 100 like this Delaware Deli: http://ownacapriottis.com/

          2. LE

            In a college class I brought in as a speaker one of the guys that started Spains Cards and Gifts (sold out to Hallmark I think). Anyway my Dad used to say (they were a customer) “Back in the day they couldn’t pay their bills to me!”. Was either Murray or Bernie Spain. He had to beg them for money they were totally bootstrapped.I don’t remember much from college but I remember one thing they said. They said “when we had two stores we could be at one in the morning and another in the afternoon. Then when we had more than that number we had to figure out a way to not have to be there because there wasn’t enough time”.Most people who bought from my Dad at the giftshows would come into the booth and waste a great deal of time. My dad was a nervous wreck. [1] The Spain brothers (and I remember this from the 70’s) would come in and say to my Dad “what are the best sellers you have” and write a big order in 5 minutes and be off to the next booth they needed to visit. Never forgot that. Yiddish word for guys not like them was “nudniks”.[1] My Dad kept us kids around to handle the pains in the asses. We knew very little but it was the only way to keep him available for when the important customers stopped by.

    3. PhilipSugar

      Actually no. Now you have the opportunity to bootstrap and not have to compete with some whacked out mercenary that has raised a ton of money.If it’s something you love then you get to have fun doing it. I’ve done it, Charlie’s doing it. LE does it. Take it from the “old guys” on the board: you aren’t going become a “unicorn” but who cares? As JLM says you can only eat so many Taco’s.

      1. LE

        Right. I was going to say something similar in reply, then I saw your comment.Here’s the other thing though. When you use your own money and your own time, you are cautious and try extra hard to make sure that you don’t loose it all. Where “all” equals both time and money. And with failure “the traditional route” you don’t get pats on the back for failing big and get another try. You are a failure. As a result you will be more cautious and deliberate in what you do, maybe even to cautious, to prevent that failure.When you take someone else’s money I would imagine that you are spurred on by the belief that your idea is good and has merit just because you were able to convince one or several people to give you money. But they are about as sure as someone who buys 10 stocks with small amounts of money. Pretty sure that over 10 stocks (arbitrary) they won’t bet wrong on everyone and win on some of them. Looking at some of the bets that Fred makes he would acknowledge they are long shots. But that is “his” business which he is good at.One thing is for sure. And this applies to Fred or any other investor. They are not evaluating your downside, they are evaluating their downside in any decision that they make.

        1. PhilipSugar

          Right on all counts. Willing to take more risks and your downside is not the same as the investor.

      2. aminTorres

        Thanks, but this is a different point. “Now you have the opportunity to bootstrap..” and this was true before also. Additionally, not all projects all bootstrap-able and/or not everyone is in a position to do so.My point simply was that while I agree 100% that mission driven founders may be more appealing to smart VCs. Not all VCs are Fred Wilsons, and even if they do get it, they are obligated to invest in stuff with fertile grounds for the biggest possible return on their dollars. Regardless of whether a mission is there or not.I agree with the rest of your comment though, I just thought it is worth clarifying.

        1. PhilipSugar

          This is going to come off as really offensive, and I don’t mean it to be but it is true.Those of us than can bootstrap stuff are happy that not everybody is in a position to do so.

          1. aminTorres

            Not mean at all, natural. Someone who makes bread and sells it is provably happy that not everyone knows how to or has the time to make their own. :)What is this business you bootstrapped btw?

          2. PhilipSugar

            wearable robotics, robotic ankles, loyalty software, environmental software.

      1. aminTorres

        Really liked it as well, thanks for sharing.

  6. Adam Sher

    This also applies to starting your company in a [professional] service sector (e.g. accounting, business advisory, real estate). I felt compelled to go out on my own to run my business based. Perhaps because I never met the right CEO or manager along the way, for who I would feel drawn to work more strongly than I feel the need to be the primary beneficiary of my efforts.Feeling like your choice to build a product is necessary means you are intrinsically motivated. In psychology, this type of motivation is said to result in more creativity, higher internal standards, and a drive to achieve the results in the most efficient way.

  7. William Mougayar

    What drove necessity was most probably a discontent with something that the entrepreneur wanted to change. David Rockefeller said it well:”If necessity is the mother of invention, discontent is the father of progress.”

    1. Twain Twain

      Are emotions necessary for intelligence?Two opposite views in Silicon Valley from its AI thought leaders:(1.) Jeff Hawkins of Numenta who says, “No.”(2.) Yann Le Cun of Facebook who says, “Yes.”But does FB have the right model for including emotions into AI and algorithms? No.Does Google? Well … I am the person who (in Oct 2012) asked Amit Singhal, then SVP of Search, “Does and will Google Star Trek engine have a heart?” to which he replied, “That’s very deep for a first question … No, we’re focusing on facts and figures. What we can measure.”Subsequently, in Nov 2015, Google started to say they’re at the Commander Data-level for AI and would like to get to the empathic Counsellor Troi-level — which is why they’re feeding their AI all sorts of emotional romance novels to get there.Such a nonsensical strategy, imo, because the mathematical frameworks need fixing first.As for Microsoft and whether its AI can do emotions? Well … see MS Tay and its autistic, mathematical way of spreading emotionally-illiterate racism etc.And last week Nadella published a piece on how AI needs to be “inclusive” and make a quantum leap of improvement — not just the incremental ones SV has been and is doing.So … ARE EMOTIONS NECESSARY FOR INTELLIGENCE. AND HOW CAN THEY BE INTEGRATED COHERENTLY INTO THE AI SO THEY BETTER UNDERSTAND, REFLECT & SUPPORT US?Naturally, I’m a mission-driven founder because I do have a coherent model for integrating emotions in an appropriate way into the AI and to do that by harnessing wisdom of the crowds.However, I’ve been challenged by all sorts of barriers (parking aside the obvious one about gender).Primarily, that 20+30-something engineers are stuck in the dogma that everything breaks down to a binary input (swipe left/right), to a 5-star rating system (despite it being constantly shown to be a rubbish system) and to logic trees with some type of probability between the branches and nodes.So, as a founder, when I approach these engineers … They don’t know where to begin to invent or even code any alternatives to these BROKEN SYSTEMS.Then when I try to source mentors in AI: I have the choice of people like Jeff Hawkins or Yann Le Cun whom I know don’t have the right models. And AI is the most specialist field in tech.So there it is.Mission-driven founder with no mentors yet still designed, invented and engineered a system so that AI better understands us, our language, our values, our behaviors etc.Mission-driven founder who can’t yet release product into market because haven’t yet found any engineers who can even begin to imagine (by applying Liberal Arts, Neuroscience and Einstein’s Relativity Theory alongside scalable data+systems engineering) how to code tools to take us out of the current wrong dogmas in AI.It’s like Galileo having to prove heliocentricity and the world isn’t flat. At the moment, the AI thinking is, “Humans and our information is flat or in a Matrix.”And that’s just fundamentally WRONG so I invented a system to fix it.@pointsnfigures:disqus @sigmaalgebra:disqus @le_on_avc:disqus @kwiqly:disqus @jameshrh:disqus @lawrencebrass:disqus @SixgillBlog:disqus @cavepainting:disqus @creative_group:disqus @liad:disqus @philipsugar:disqus @jasonpwright:disqus @marissa_di_pasquale:disqus @kirklove:disqus

  8. jason wright

    necessary is when you give yourself no other option.

  9. JamesHRH

    Sometimes NEED is tough to judge: do you need to do it or do people really need it done your way or do you just need to do it your way.As Jay Leno says: ‘If someone else can tell your jokes, you are a writer. If only you can tell your jokes, you are a comedian.’Either way, the world needs a laugh.

  10. jason wright

    Amexit or Indexit?the modern version is not now looking quite as cool as it did last week.

    1. Lawrence Brass

      Change is good, evolution is good but gambling with uncertainty when the stakes are that high is just stupid. So called disruptors fail often on this.

      1. jason wright

        true, and i agree with Fred’s optimistic view that change creates opportunity.EDIT: although i sensed an element of the ‘mercenary’ in what he said about opportunity.

        1. Lawrence Brass

          I was a bit confused by Fred’s post that day, took me some time to understand.I think that if you hurt or ‘disrupt’ an ecosystem (or a nation!) in a way that it cannot recover a dynamic equilibrium on its own, the grand total can be negative. Politicians never really pay the cost of their decisions when they fail, it is the people that pay. Literally.The good thing is that you are tough people and, citing a demotivator poster of the 90’s about consulting: “If you are not part of the solution, there is good money to be made in prolonging the problem”. So there is an opportunity in working to fix the mess. New market treaties to negotiate and understand, new markets with other countries out of the EU, who knows.+ fixed the poster text, according to the original, still on sale.http://despair.com/collecti

          1. jason wright

            government is the conspiracy of a small group of people against everyone else – the conspiracy of elites.

          2. Girish Mehta

            Seems like quitting is the new leading, no ?Re 😐 New market treaties to negotiate and understand.See attached.You couldn’t make this stuff up :-).

          3. Lawrence Brass

            I recall reading something about this online, last week. Let’s say it is ‘in the air’. πŸ™‚

    2. Henry Yates

      it never looked very cool from close up!

  11. William Mougayar

    Needs + Wants together are powerful motivators that can move mountains.

    1. Matt Zagaja

      Immovable object, meet unstoppable force.

  12. Lawrence Brass

    *laughs* happy 4th of July.

  13. Mario Cantin

    Necessity is a test of one capibilities. All too easy to be complacent in this world though, and so opportunities to see people’s true colors are often missed. Don’t worry, WW3 or the next apocalypse will fix some of that.

  14. Lawrence Brass

    Absolutely agree.During hard times it is not faith that keeps you alive, it is the commitment to the mission.I have learned that a key aspect of mission driven entrepreneurship is to communicate clearly the mission objectives to people around you, even if they are not directly involved.Very encouraging, thanks Fred.Happy 4th.

  15. Marissa_NYx

    Yes, so necessary, you would sell your car , beach house to pursue, you would leave your family back home to travel to where you can make it happen. But nothing is as necessary as protecting your family while you do this.Happy 4th July!The sun is shining & everyone is happy here in Boston.

  16. LE

    The former starts a company because they see a problem they feel compelled to fix. The latter starts a company because they see an opportunity to make money.The reason that it’s harder to do a second business in the traditional business world. The first idea was probably organic. You saw a need, possibly something that you would use and filled it. (Airbnb). Or you tripped over something and executed on the low hanging fruit.The second or next business was “thought up” and not organic. It wasn’t a business filling a need that you noticed at least not to the extent that the first business was. It was “what can I think and do now?”. It’s similar in a way to being a musician that has had some hits because of pain in their life (the song solving and helping with the problem) and then being happy. You acheived your goal and don’t have a battle to fight. Loss of creative opportunity. Many musicians with a few hits go nowhere after that. No boating accident why that is (Jaws reference).So the “opportunity to make money” is not the issue here. It’s the fact that the person who sees the problem has a leg on the person who doesn’t see the problem and is just thinking of a way to make money. Best case might actually be someone who sees a problem and also is looking for a way to make money.2nd businesses are harder in one way. You know a great deal. Not knowing can actually be helpful as long as you stay above water. (You will take chances that you won’t take if you knew how stupid those chances were). Otoh what you know just the same gives you advantages. 1st business you have little downside (you have little to lose at least if you are out of college). 2nd business if first was successful you have a great deal to lose (what you earned in the first business plus your reputation).

  17. creative group

    Fred:That Philanthropic mission statement could only evolve after a person has become sucessful or spirituality is the fountain they drink..

  18. cavepainting

    This is true especially for first time founders who face a daunting journey. Only love and passion can give you the grit and the perseverance required to fight the odds.It is also possible that you could fall in love with a problem even if it was not an organic part of your background. Deep love for a problem space or a desired future state is more likely to provide the fuel and the juice to overcome multiple impediments and landmines along the way. Love for money goes only so far.

  19. pointsnfigures

    Being a mercenery isn’t enough to give you the juices to cross the finish line. Hackman-Oldham theory of motivation will illustrate that. When you see yourself as fundamentally changing the world, it’s a lot easier to recruit people that see your vision. When you are just in it for the Benjamin’s, the next shiny object offering more Benjamin’s will take them away.

  20. Ryan Ferguson

    A textbook example of mission-driven founders is Clate Mask and Scott Martineau of Infusionsoft. They are changing the game for small businesses.

  21. Steven Kane

    may i agree with the overall conceit but quibble with the particular?the american revolution was indeed a noble and ideological event.but it also was all about moneythe revolution became “necessary” only when the King and parliament levied on the colonies what the colonists considered to be egregious taxes and market restrictions, e.g. the stamp act, etc.and the revolution sputtered and nearly died several times, owing to lack of financing. the ideological fervor of the revolutionaries was fairly thin to start with and evaporated when faced with economic challenges.george washington personally repeatedly financed the american military out of his own personal pocket, when congress could not make payroll.and the revolution was arguably decided in the colonies favor not through military prowess (washington never won a single battle) but when ben franklin and crew convinced the dutch and later the french to finance the startup, and england realized it could not win a war of attrition (which was its strategy – they knew they could and did not want to obliterate the colonies):D

  22. Varun

    Very good point, Fred. Spotting the difference during a pitch isn’t always easy but in my experience, true missionaries always tend to spend significant time explaining the relevance of the problem before jumping into the solution….