“Mark, you talked a lot about money in your presentation. Most Silicon Valley legends seem to say ‘it’s not about the money – it’s about changing the world or solving a problem’ that they had.” Gulp.
Clearly different people have different motivations but I believe the majority of entrepreneurs would love to make this initial money (I call it “feed the family money”) to get it out of the way. Just knowing that you have enough money to make you feel comfortable (however much that is) is enough for most great entrepreneurs to focus on what really makes us happy: building a company, building great products, taking on the establishment, bucking the rules, leaving a footprint on society and in some small way trying to “make a difference in the world.”
Some people have an aversion to making money. They subconsciously feel there's something wrong with that, and so they'll push money away. To make that stockpile of money that will "feed the family", you need the opposite temperament: a hunger for money. Getting rich rarely happens by chance - it's something that you have to work hard towards.
If there is a culture in Silicon Valley that "it's not about the money", that culture should change. It's ok for someone who's got $50m in the bank from their last startup to say that it's not about the money, but that advice is a disservice to someone who is just starting out and has no savings.
On the contrary, the advice should be "make sure your startup is making money, and make sure it's making enough that you'll personally get something out of it, and you'll be able to use it that money as a tool to achieve what you want."
Money should not be the ultimate objective, but to achieve many other worthwhile objectives it is a necessary step.
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