Let me tell you a hard fact. Mark Zuckerberg did not build Facebook out of the goodness of his heart, because he had a life’s mission to connect people. No matter how many inspirational social media posts you see, it’s just not true.
He built a business.
A business that would make money.
Those same posts will try and convince you that Elon Musk built Paypal because he wanted to help people pay for things and make the world a fairer place.
He was building a business too.
Those same posts will try and convince you that startup founders are new-age digital Mother Teresa’s, and it’s all completely untrue. These were people who set out to build businesses, who put in the effort to turn those businesses into billion dollar companies. That’s awesome, and I respect them for doing that.
And I’m not going to sit here and pretend they haven’t helped the world. There’s been philanthropy, there’s been technology, there’s been things that have helped humanity. But they were side projects and side effects of building successful companies.
We need to stop dressing it up as altruism.
At the end of the day, there are people who have dedicated their entire lives to helping people without making money along the way. The people who dedicate their lives to to helping and caring for the sick. The disabled. The helpless.
Startup founders might do a lot of good. But they also make a lot of money. Let’s remember that next time we want to light candles for them.
The opinions expressed here by Inc.com columnists are their own, not those of Inc.com.