Why do I want to build products that positively impact +1 billion people?

Lately I’ve been a questioning some of my motives behind the things I am working on and the reasons why I do what I do. A little doses of healthy skepticism if you will. Today I am writing about why do I want to build products that positively impact +1 billion people. This might seem like an arrogant statement but that’s not my intention. I am setting ambitious goals for myself in order to push myself to help as many people as I can while still feeling fulfilled by the work I do.

Now why build products? Why not directly help people by volunteering? Why not work for an NGO and directly help those that needed the most? Well for two reasons. First, in my opinion building digital products gives me the leverage to reach way more people than I ever could on my own. Assuming that every life is equal then the ideal outcome is to improve the lives of as many people as possible. Second, personal predispositions. I really like technology and building awesome products that people love. I believe that I can be a great builder but only a poor or mediocre doctor or government official because I am naturally more interested in the former rather than the latter.

The underlying assumption of my argument is that by having a positive impact on +1 billion people I am able to a have a disproportionate impact on shaping the future. Way more than the average person and even more than most companies and institutions. Now why is that a good thing? Here’s where our (and by our I mean my) human ego comes into play. The answer to my initial question of why do I want to build products that positively impact +1 billion people presumes that:

  1. I know what’s best for +1 billion people
  2. I am the one that can bring this change to the world

Even typing these words I cringe at how arrogant my own thoughts sound. However, the more I think about it the more I realize that maybe I don’t know what’s best for 1 billion people but if I listen carefully I can address the pain points of 1 billion people. If I do that I should be able to rally enough people to believe in our cause and make change real. Furthermore, if you think about it we need people to take initiative in our world. Otherwise, no one will do anything. As the famous saying goes “If not us, who? And if not now, when?”