Generational Foundation Building

I’ve always looked up to my father, he is kind, funny, and a hard worker. He sacrificed a lot for my happiness, for my future. For 30 years he worked as a custodian at a local middle school. For those 30 years he worked so he could help provide for the family, so that I could have the things he didn’t, so that I could have opportunities he didn’t have.
I call this foundation building.

As we get older, we start thinking more about our legacy, what we are going to leave behind. We really start to focus in on what we are doing with our lives.

I recently heard an old Tedx talk from a founder of an agency Cambodia called 17Tiggers. The talk was about his quarter life crisis and how he looked at what he was doing with his life. Check it out here, it’s worth a listen.

What foundation are you preparing to build?

I’ve been reflective the past few weeks, thinking about what we are doing at my agency(@getglean), if we’re focused on the right things, and what type of foundation we are building. Are we working to fulfill our own interests, or are we working towards something greater?

We’ve been blessed with a great opportunity to help groups work on some of the worlds toughest issues. We’ve helped The World Bank with government transparency issues. We’ve helped Oxfam communicate woman’s empowerment to four counties in Asia, we’ve helped transgender groups get important health information. All great pieces of work.

But it’s bigger than that.

What’s the point of all the international development work? Are we focused on just getting a solution out into the world? Or are we focused on building a foundation, something that is going to last for generations?

Generational foundation building is looking at the long-term. It’s looking at the future generations, and finding ways to provide them the opportunities. It’s working to help empower them to be the next group that does something impactful in the world.

“Making the world a better place” is a joke used in the comedy Silicon Valley, to describe the mission statement of all the startups from the valley. And while its satire, it’s also rings true. I see all the time on hacker news different startups looking to disrupt and make the world a better place. And it’s stupid. 99% of the stuff coming out of Silicon Valley is not world changing. It’s fluff, it’s un-needed software that helps businesses make more money. It’s not making an impact where it’s needed. Where the world needs it.

Some of the smartest people in the world are working to solve problems that won’t matter in 5 years. Do we really need another software group working on making payment processing in the US better? Probably not.

Can technology help fix homelessness? Can it help combat trafficking? Can it help change the way we receive health care? Absolutely.

What foundations are you building?

It’s a important question and one I hope you spend a lot of time looking into.

About the author

Jesse Orndorff

The founder of Glean, an agency for change. Formerly Innovation Program Manager at DAI. He's now focused on building technology and startups that work on challenging issues and doing social good.

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Jesse Orndorff

The founder of Glean, an agency for change. Formerly Innovation Program Manager at DAI. He's now focused on building technology and startups that work on challenging issues and doing social good.

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