Musings: Aiming for Impact

Photo by lalesh aldarwish from Pexels

Photo by lalesh aldarwish from Pexels

Last week, a founder friend of mine dropped by to visit me. He wanted to talk about a new product he was working on. I'm usually quite curious about the activities of my peers so usually interested in these kind of chats.

Anyway, my friend is a serial entrepreneur, and he's been successful enough to the point where he actually retired a few years ago. However, given his gusto and some personal circumstances, he's jumped right back into the races.

The difference this time was the path he chose: he was entering the hardware space with a path towards medical devices. His team was prototyping a device for diabetics and chemotherapy patients. Given that his past businesses were mostly in financial services, compliance, and telecom, I immediately asked him why the heck he was getting himself into a field that, on paper, didn't fit his experience.

He surprised me with a few answers.

He said, " Ernest, I've made good money using financial goals as my measure of success. I've done that a few times in a few different industries so I know how to make a profit. But how many lives have I impacted greatly? Maybe six. I want impact to be my new measure of success."

He proceeded to tell me that despite his lack of official credentials in his new space, he had intensely studied his space and talked to many people for the good part of the year. Plus, he is diabetic, and he had close family members who went through chemo. In turn, this made him quite proficient within a short period of time.

“…I want impact to be my new measure of success.”

I've been reflecting on our conversation for a few days now. I'm not thinking about his business model, his technical challenges, or his lack of a hardware supply chain. Nor am I really thinking about his credentials, his personal experiences, or his ability to execute. He's proven savvy from his past (and from our conversation) that he'll likely find ways to overcome hurdles and profit from this venture.

Instead, what's given me pause is his drive to" measure impact" this time around and to leave a legacy.

This was particularly interesting to me because of the timing of our own initiative: our team has spent the last few weeks doing self-reflection. In turn, we've decided that our purpose is empower communities towards sustainable practices, by accelerating actions from map and data analysis. We’re going to release the Covarian brand in a few weeks.

Now, we can take that to the next steps and derive metrics not only financially, but to "measure impact". This is our homework, my homework.

So let me ask you, do you have a measure of impact?