The Good Entrepreneur

There’s something missing these days in the  corporate visions of many start-ups and start-up entrepreneurs. Long before the first round of funding, many young founders are dreaming of the fame and the riches that can be made from the success of their product or service, but ask them about  the role of the company in society at large? That will lead to a blank stare as that piece of the puzzle is largely absent.

In an interview with Mashable, Apple cofounder Steve Wozniak lamented how money-driven Silicon Valley and startup cultures had become. He expressed the sentiment that many of us feel: there are too many entrepreneurs going after fame and fortune instead of trying to figure out what they can do that will benefit society or consumers. Not every company is going to be a unicorn. Instead, Wozniak advises, founders need to focus on identifying a need, and then do their best to fill it. The most successful companies have founders that decide to work on one product or project at a time, slowly perfecting it. Figure out what’s important to you, he says, then do it. Let the money follow, don’t follow the money.

But you could take this renowned tech guru’s words one step further. Critically examine your project, and ask how it can help others in the long run. How can it change society for the better? Will we be able to do good with our influence? Whether or not this is a question that all successful entrepreneurs should begin with may be idealistic, but one would hope that they can  answer questions like that as they mature. Google made it a mission to map the internet and corral that vast expanse of information for casual users— then they tried to map the world. Amazon was in the business of bookselling, and has now expanded to “the Cloud” and efforts to bring all types of products to consumers. And Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg has taken his classmate-connecting platform to new heights by using it to speak out on social issues across the globe.

So next time you’re setting goals, or brainstorming the next big innovation, ask yourself how it can make the world a better place – you might find that the answer not only fills a need, it could even fill your bank account!


Written by

Dave Pflieger is currently the CEO of Island Air and previously the President and CEO of Silver Airways. Previously, Dave Pflieger was the CEO & Managing Director of Air Pacific (later Fiji Airways). Before joining Air Pacific, Mr. Pflieger was a Founding Officer and Senior Vice President at Virgin America from 2004 to 2010.