Is Your Company Really Changing the World?

A Dime a Dozen

There’s this scene in Silicon Valley I love. If you watch the show, you probably remember it.

It’s the clip where a bunch of startups are pitching their ideas. And it’s so good. The startups are building a company that’s doing any number of things to “change the world.”

And that, my friends, is the joke.

It’s a hard argument to make that every company is really changing the world.

False Advertising

Never before have we seen the number of world-changing, mission-first companies than we do today. And there’s a reason for that. My fellow Millennials and I crave working for and running these types of companies. They satisfy our soul, give us purpose, and drive us to show up to work every day.

CEOs get this, as well. Most of my CEO friends have read Drive, a book detailing what actually motivates most of us to show up every day. In it, Daniel Pinkard outlines three primary things that drive us: Autonomy, mastery over the tasks given to us, and a strong purpose and vision at our company.

The problem is that almost every company has strong “world-changing, mission-first” wording on their sites because they know that these things attract the best Millennial talent to their companies. Because of it, a generation of new workers is entering the workforce under the false pretense that the company they’re working for is changing the world when, in fact, they’re just being fed a bunch of appealing language in an effort to attract them to join a team.

Another way to say it is that they’re just being manipulated. And then, they’re stuck in a job that’s hard to leave.

The Privilege of Choice

Before I go any further, I completely recognize that—for many people—it’s necessary to take any job that will help make ends meet. While the unemployment rate is falling drastically across most of the world, the cost of living has widely continued to increase, without a substantial rise in pay. One result? Brandi on our team recently sent me this article, sharing that “half of Millennials have a side gig because they can’t find a full-time job that will pay them a living wage.” And here in Denver, “the average Denver renter doesn’t earn enough to afford a one-bedroom apartment in the metro area.”

This post isn’t for those people. This post is for the fortunate few who have a high degree of choice in terms of what job they want. The issue is that—for those of us who do have a choice—we’re often not taking the time to step back and ask what it is we’re really looking for. Instead, we feel like we have to make a certain salary. And, when we find a job that’s actually willing to pay us what we want, we take the job or stay in one that’s offering us more pay. Or, we just love feeling wanted. When someone is interested in us, we love feeling desired. Or, we take a job for the title. Or the benefits. Or whatever else you prioritize.

What You Can Do

As I talk with my friends about what their “ideal company” offers, I usually hear things like a fun culture, plenty of flexibility, and being paid well.

But here are a few types of questions we at GAN are hoping to be asked by candidates before they join our team:

  • Do you treat all employees like humans first and foremost, and how do you actually practice this?
  • Do you have a mentality that seeks to give startups the power to create and grow their businesses in every part of the world, and how do you live this out?
  • And, do you treat your customers with a level of selflessness that makes people question your sainthood? What are some examples?

I’m looking for people to ask us these things because:

  1. They are the things we hold true. They’re rooted in GAN’s values and you can find them directly on our website.
  2. They say something about the quality of human we’ll be working alongside, and help them examine the kind of “world-changing” we’re actually trying to accomplish.

Taking Your Own Stock

So as you go into your next interview or look at your current role, you may want to ask yourself some serious questions. Things like: Do you want to work at a world-changing company? If so, what (as you define it) makes a world-changing company? Based on that, are they a company that’s really changing the world?

Because once you do these things, I’m almost positive that you’ll do what you set out to do in the first place: Actually change the world.