Building Things That Matter
In 15 years, services like Facebook will be as ubiquitous as the telephone, used every-day by a vast majority of people, or gone, the way of Pets.com. However, I do not think that many people will look back on their time spent on Facebook or Twitter and think that their life was made better, or that it helped them overcome a huge life-altering obstacle.
Before I go on, I want to say that I’m not trying to bash Facebook, Twitter or any application or service that people are working hard to create. I think many of these services have a place, and many of them will prove to be useful communication tools. However, with so much money and focus on these services, I wonder if there are other ideas — ones that could provide a huge impact on people’s lives — that are going unnoticed or are abandoned because of lack of funding.
Recently, I was watching a video interview of Chris Dixon and he mentioned that one of his favorite startups that he helped fund was Kickstarter, because they were making a real impact — something that stuck in the back of my mind as a great reason to get behind a company. Shortly after, I was involved in a campaign to fund a Kickstarter project called The Diabetic Journal. The project aims to create an easy-to-use app for diabetics to track their blood sugar levels, exercise, and food in a daily log that helps them better manage their disease. This may not seem like a huge thing to you, but as a Type 1 Diabetic, I can tell you that it’s an incredibly laborious process and the existence of apps like this can greatly benefit the lives of approximately 177 million people (mine included) in a very powerful way.
Being a backer of The Diabetic Journal, and helping to promote it made me wonder what other apps or services are being developed that I am unaware of. What ideas are being kicked around that just need a nudge, or helping hand to get started? Maybe if we can turn our attention to the startups and individuals who are trying to develop products or services that can directly help the lives of people, we’ll see some additional funding and public attention on them — and maybe we’ll see people begin to build things that really matter.
If you know of a startup that is trying to build a product that genuinely will help the lives of people, I’d love to hear about it. Talk to me on Twitter and even Google+.