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Beyond Social: The Age of Impact Entrepreneurs

Peter Diamandis

By Daniel Jordi

(Pulse) – For the major part of the past two centuries, we strived to build large organizations around one single purpose, to maximize profit no matter what. The industrial age was driven by greed and overly egocentric behavior.

As this age is coming (or has come?) to an end and the connection economy is thriving, there is a new breed of entrepreneurs rising to the top.

As we have seen when the dot-com bubble bursted or with the real estate and banking crisis, greed and “profit as purpose” are not sustainable business models.

Enter the Age of Impact Entrepreneurs

Today, the most remarkable companies are not only driven by profit but by a mission of “pushing the human race forward”. Some of the most well known entrepreneurs who are leading the Age of Impact Entrepreneurship are Richard Branson, Elon Musk, Peter Diamandis, Bill Gates, Simon Sinek and countless others.

Steve Jobs may have very well been one of the fathers of Impact Entrepreneurship.

Impact Entrepreneurship vs. Social Entrepreneurship

Some people think about social entrepreneurship when they hear the term impact. However, while some people may see them as interchangeable, I see them as two distinctly different fields.

Social Entrepreneurs are about the process of being social.

Impact Entrepreneurs are about the result of creating impact.

Dan Sullivan and Joe Polish recently discussed this topic on 10xTalk.

Steve Jobs was not a Social Entrepreneur but he was most certainly an Impact Entrepreneur. Just with the example of iTunes, he positively impacted the lives of hundreds of thousands of musicians who otherwise would never have been able to earn a living from their music when a few record labels dictated who gets picked.

Peter Diamandis, CEO of XPRIZE and co-founder of Singularity University, is not a Social Entrepreneur but he’s one of the major contributors and multipliers in Impact Entrepreneurship. He describes Singularity U’s mission as “to educate, inspire and empower leaders to apply exponential technologies to address humanity’s grand challenges.”

Impact Entrepreneurship can mean different things to different people. In my world, it’s everything that advances humanity or as Steve Jobs said “pushes the human race forward”.

Instead of trying to give an explanation of who these people are, I let Steve Jobs do that himself.

Disruption vs. Impact

TroubleMakers are in it for the Trouble. ChangeMakers are in it for the Change. That’s an important distinction. The latter one is more likely to be an Impact Entrepreneur.

The issue with a focus on Trouble or Disruption is that positive change is not a must result in every case.

When we focus on Impact as a result instead of the process of Disruption, the outcome has to be positive change.

Charity vs. Impact Entrepreneurship

I don’t believe in charity as a philosophy for major positive change because it’s not sustainable to throw money at problems. Giving people things in return for zero effort is a recipe for disaster.

Just look at our social security system around the world. Generations have been brainwashed into believing that “the system” will take care of them. Nobody has ever answered the question “What if the system fails?”.

Impact Entrepreneurs empower people rather than giving them things in exchange for zero effort.

Impact Entrepreneurs don’t try to fix problems. They create new solutions that make old problems become obsolete.

Generation Impact

I’m 30 years old by the time I write this and I have always noticed something special about our generation and probably many generations to come. We are more driven by impact and meaning than by “profit as purpose” and a comfortable life.

Maybe it’s because of a very different society we grew up in compared to our grand parents. I don’t know any 20-30 year old who is passionate about getting a corporate job or even being in business purely for the sake of making a profit.

This is not only Generation Impact, it’s also Generation Entrepreneurs.

People see the system failing and wonder “Why would I even consider getting into a system that is broken and failing?”.

I’m eternally happy with this trend because I do believe that entrepreneurship is the panacea for humanity’s challenges on a global scale.

Impact Entrepreneurs are shaping the future and they are shaping it in a way we can be proud of.

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