"I want to build this business to add a lot of value to a lot of people's lives."
I'm speaking from experience here. I used to say stuff like that a lot. I've mostly stopped. Why? Because guys who are actually doing a lot of stuff to... add value... don't talk about adding value. It's fluff and marks you down as not having done much yet.
Well, maybe not! It depends on your audience. If you're speaking about business to people who are uneducated and think that capitalism is all about dumping toxic waste on top of endangered species to increase profit margins... then yeah, start talking about adding value.
But when you're reaching out to someone with business experience, you can drop it. It's assumed. Everyone gets it. It's like saying, "I'll be at the meeting at 11 o'clock with the reports, and I'll be wearing clothes."
Yes, add value. Yes, wear clothing. But you don't need to talk about it.
Alternatives to talking about adding value:
1. Talk about very specific problems you identified and how you're going to solve them. So instead of "I'm going to add value," you say, "One headache for people who want to change their diets is it wrecks their favorite recipes, so I think an app that shows what ingredients you can swap and how that changes flavor will be useful." That's slightly better than talking about saving the world.
2. What's best? Just actually do something useful.
Sebas, I read a lot of blogs... and let me just say yours is quickly becoming a favorite. You write with intellect and thought. It shouldn't be rare, but it is.
Good point on adding value. I can't imagine that Mark Twain would ever self-identify as someone who adds value. Great perspective. I will drop this idea from my vocabulary.
Writers often say "show, don't tell". Don't tell me that you're adding value; I won't believe you until you tell me that you've done something that I think adds value.
There's a book by William Zinsser called "On Writing Well" where he talks a lot about removing useless words and phrases from your writing. Instead of "I added the review functionality", say instead "you can now click a button and review your post". The first is easier to construct, but means almost nothing. The second forces you to provide useful information. Not exactly the same thing, but your post reminded me of this (the point you were making, not your writing).
A few of my friends - three friends, to be exact - mentioned to me that I write a heck of a lot on here and they're impressed. I have convinced the ultra-smart Sami Baqai to start blogging, and he just got the holy-shit-this-is-hard-I'm-overwhelmed feeling. Ah, yes, I have been there Sami. Perhaps I can share some thoughts.
First and foremost, I am a huge devotee of the Equal-Odds Rule. As far as I know, I'm the only person talking about it outside of academia. This Amazon review covers it pretty well:
The equal-odds rule says that the average publication of any particular scientist does not have any statistically different chance of having more of an impact than any other scientist's average publication. In other words, those scientists who create publications with the most impact, also create publications with the least impact, and when great publications that make a huge impact are created, it is just a result of "trying" enough times. This is an indication that chance plays a larger role in scientific creativity than previously theorized.
So I read that, and I'm like - whoa. You know Neo in the Matrix? Whoa.
If you want to make excellent stuff, you need to make a lot of stuff.
Daniel Odio gives tips and tricks for entrepreneurs!
Click to listen to "Episode 65: Interview Part 1" and click to listen to "Episode 66: Interview Part 2"
Jim Hopkinson, Wired.com's Marketing Guy and creator ofThe Hopkinson Report, recently interviewed me for his Hopkinson Report podcast. Here's a Tweet of Jim's about the Podcast, and another one about my social media hardware bag and another on my blog posting about how to hire people effectively.
Here is a transcript of the Podcasts