“Do you want to sell sugar water for the rest of your life or come with me and change the world?” – Steve Jobs
I sometimes wish that instead of working on Internet and software projects, I worked on cleantech or biotech projects. That way, when I came home at night, I’d know that I had literally spent my day trying to cure cancer or prevent global warming. But information technology is what I know, and it’s probably too late for me to learn a new field from scratch.
That doesn’t mean information technology can’t improve people’s lives. Google’s search engine helps people find information, which, for example, makes cancer and cleantech researchers more productive. Skype (Dixon is an investor) allows companies to collaborate remotely, and connects people with friends and family around the world. In the area of information technology, we create infrastructure and hope that people use it for more good than bad.
That said, the best entrepreneurs seem to follow a path of increasing gravitas. Scott Heiferman started out selling online ads and is now creating new communities. Jack Dorsey created Twitter and is now democratizing payments so sole proprietors can compete on a level playing field with large companies. Elon Musk started with online payments and is now developing electric cars and space programs.