I, along with about 1.2 million others, follow the CEO of Twitter on Twitter. I recently came across a Tweet that really got me thinking. A quick background: Ev Williams was the founder of Odio, a pod-casting company, prior to Twitter. Before that Ev started Blogger which was later sold to Google. So, he’s been around the startup block and has some insights to how things are done. In short, when he speaks, I listen.
When I started thinking about Ev’s tweet…
There are basically two types of business people: Those who see money as the ends and those who see money as the means
…I started to think about my goals as an entrepreneur. Is my attitude toward the process aligned with my goals? Is my purpose pure? What exactly does that mean? And, why do I feel the need/desire to have a pure purpose?
I don’t want to be a greedy, Gordon Gecko like businessman, I want to “share the wealth” and have a common purpose with my colleagues, not JUST make a lot of money. However, I’d be lying if I said money wasn’t an extremely motivating factor.
So the next question I posed to myself, is one good or bad? Is there something wrong with wanting to make a lot of money in business and if that is your goal is it going to impede your success? Or, could the drive to amass significant wealth improve your chances of success? Quite frankly I’m not an artist here for others enjoyment. For others to be inspired by my artwork and for me just to enjoy my work day isn’t my goal. I want tangible, measurable, accomplishments that I feel proud of and are visible to others. Leading a group of people to create a system that creates value for others is a significant part of that tangible accomplishment.
The reality is that your motivation is important. It is critical for one reason, if your motivation runs dry, you’re ruined. Passed that I don’t see a ton of reason you can’t be just as motivated by building an electric sports car, or selling word class ERP software, as you can by making $1 million, or taking a company public for $1 billion. What is most important is that you have a sustainable drive.
Why do I feel a bit bad about being partly motivated by money? I think that it’s because all of the big entrepreneurs always seem to be motivated by something outside of the money, but that is what they are saying after the fact. My hunch is that pre-success most of those entrepreneurs would say that the money aspect is definitely a motivator.
Once you’ve made a significant amount of money it becomes much less of a worry. I believe that once an individual doesn’t worry about money, that person forgets about the drive that comes from it, and the desire to have it. Once that worry is off of their mind they are freed to focus on the effect of their work and on the world at large. The scope of their dreams broadens and the potential of their goals becomes more significant because of their proven ability to achieve their goals.
My goal is not money, but money will come with the achievement of my goal. About a year ago I set the goal for myself that I would start a company and sell it for greater than $100m or take it public. As I continue to read the book, ‘Put Your Dreams To The Test’, I will continue to work to define my goal and my path to achieving it. Even though my goal is not, “Make $30 million by 30 yrs old”, when I achieve my goal it will have a significant impact on my personal wealth. That is how my motivation is aligned, both wealth and personal achievement are important to me, and my conclusion is, that’s OK.
So, what’s your thought? Do you think you can be in business and have consider money a means to and an end and an end? I do.