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A few years ago a friend of mine, who also works in technology, went on a skiing trip with a group of medical professionals. He explained to me how it was difficult to have a conversation because every time he talked about a technology or startup he was excited about, they brushed it aside and explained to him that all of that was irrelevant and frivolous because ‘they were saving lives’.
He’d demo them Twitter, and they would be very disdainful and explain to him they were trying to cure cancer and this little thing wasn’t interesting for them. My friend quickly grew tired of having that discussion and considered them an arrogant bunch.
Although they’re right – and saving a person life must feel amazing – you’ve also got to wonder what you’re saving a life for.
Isn’t life about falling in love, enjoying yourself, and developing your skills? So isn’t Tinder, that’s helping people find loved ones equally important? Isn’t watching a movie that makes you laugh an essential part of being alive? What’s the point of living if you can’t enjoy your life? In that sense, isn’t a comedian who makes people laugh for a few hours on Saturday evening doing work that is just as important as that doctor that’s saving someone’s life?
That’s the way I look at our own company, and startups and technology. Can we make a subtle difference in a person’s life today? Can we teach them something that will help them in their career? Or can we simply make them laugh, even for a short moment. It’s all those little things that make the world slightly and incrementally better.
So go out and build a silly app, you just might be saving lives and making the world a better place.