Make Meaning in Business Make Meaning in Business
Click to Start TimerClick "I read this story!" to stop the timer.By Guy Kawasaki BeeOasis Step 3 The first thing I figured out and... Make Meaning in Business

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By Guy Kawasaki
BeeOasis Step 3

the-art-of-the-startThe first thing I figured out and learned sometimes the hard way, about entrepreneurship is that the core, the essence of entrepreneurship is about making meaning. Many, many people start companies to make money, the quick flip, the dot-com phenomena. And I have noticed in both the companies that I’ve started and funded, and been associated with, that those companies that are fundamentally founded to change the world, to make the world a better place, to make meaning are the companies that make a difference. They are the companies to succeed.

My naive and romantic belief is that if you make meaning, you’ll probably make money. But if you set out to make money, you will probably not make meaning, and you won’t make money. So my first thought is you need to make meaning. That should be the core of why you start a company.

There are three ways to make meaning. First is to increase the quality of life. My background is in Macintosh division of Apple computer, and I can tell you with total certainty that we were not motivated by making money. We were motivated by changing the world to make people more creative and more productive. We were trying to increase the quality of life of the Macintosh user. And that was a great motivation that kept us going through many, many difficult periods. We were waking up in the morning thinking how we could change people’s lives.

A second way to make meaning is to right a wrong. You know this fish is going to die after jumping out. But to right a wrong means that you find something that’s wrong in the world, or you notice something that’s wrong, or you want to fix that. This might be particularly applicable to not-for-profits where, you know, there’s pollution, or there’s crime, or there’s abuse, and their very core is to end that wrong.

And the third way to make meaning is to prevent the end of something good, that you see something beautiful, something wonderful, and you just can’t stand the fact that it’s been eroded, it’s being changed, it’s being ruined.

So I ask you as you start your companies, your not-for-profits, your churches, your schools, whatever you’re starting, please have one of those three motivations, one or more of those motivations. If you don’t have any those motivations, I suggest that you rethink what you’re doing. I think these three things are the key to starting a great organization.

This short talk was presented by Stanford University and Guy Kawasaki on Youtube. Guy Kawasaki is the author of “The Art of the Start: The Time-Tested, Battle-Hardened Guide for Anyone Starting Anything.” Tracking functions on this site are a separate service of

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