Monthly Archives: November 2011

Make It Matter

Note: This post originally appeared on the Guidewire Labs blog.  I have moved it here to consolidate my selected writings. – CS

I’m worried.  Maybe I’m worried in that “you’re getting old and grouchy sort of way,” but still I’m worried.

I’m worried that there are so many really big problems to solve. The kind of problems that get solved when you put an entrepreneurial mind to them. I’m not talking about world hunger, profound poverty, or peace in the Middle East.  I’m pretty sure there is no app for that.

It’s the other big problems that have me worried.  And not the problelms themselves, per se, but the gross lack of entrepreneurial attention they currently receive. Over the last several months, I’ve evaluated business pitches from nearly 1,000 companies.  What strikes me most about these business is that they are doing nothing of significance.

Indeed, the collective attention of young entrepreneurs seems be have been hijacked by all things trivial. How many knock-off AirBnB sites does the world need?  Or new vertical social networks for niche groups that can’t figure out how to create a Facebook page?  Or Foursqure meets Match.com meets World of Warcraft?

Presumably, these proportedly hot startups are endorsed by the taste makers of the angel investor scene.  And if you’re an investor, these businesses may be a good way to turn a quick profit – for you, if not the entrepreneur. But, really,  where’s the long-term positive impact?

Building a startup, regardless of the target market or customer, is crazy hard work.  It can suck the life out of you if you’re not careful.  So if you’re going to work that hard, why not work on someting that matters?  Solve tough problems, make an impact.

Over the last two issues of this newsletter, I offered up the support of Guidewire Group to any young business that was tackling tough problems in the areas of health and wellness, financial literacy, sustainable energy.  Exactly one entrepreneur rose to the challenge. The offer still stands.

Do something.  Do something that matters.