Long before Google made their corporate motto “Don’t be evil”, there was a little company in Atlanta called MindSpring. I started working at MindSpring pretty early on and ended up running business development, marketing, product development, and product management there.
MindSpring did not have a motto, but it did have a purpose. By no means small minded, MindSpring’s purpose was to change the way the world does business by demonstrating that a company based on integrity and respect for the individual can do an outstanding job of serving its customers, providing meaningful work for its employees, delivering an exceptional return to its owners, and being a force of good in its community.
Change the way the world does business! It was just a startup. We were nuts.
But we were successful too. The company’s customer service is legendary, it was a great place to work, and even after the bubble burst its financial return from the time it went public was most extraordinary.
And if you do a simple Web search on “core values and beliefs” you will find many, many companies that adopted MindSpring’s values, which guided us in achieving our goals. Maybe we did change the way at least a part of the world does business.
I left MindSpring, which had morphed into EarthLink.
One day not too long ago I had the chance to hear Pat Gelsigner of Intel speak. Pat’s talk got me all motivated to do something that I had been talking about for years. To write out my life’s mission, personal values, and goals.
So I came up with a vision, purpose, values, and goal statement for myself. During this process I came to realize that MindSpring’s purpose and my vision had a lot in common. I will be sharing more of this as I go along, but in a nutshell, I intend to be a force of good in the world.
If it is good enough for my tombstone, it is good enough for my blog.