10/29/2013 06:42 pm ET Updated Dec 29, 2013

It's Not About Legacy, It's About Doing the Right Thing

I dislike the word "legacy." Too many great people I've had the fortune of meeting talk and act like they're planning their funeral. They've accomplished something great, and rather than continue to experiment, they play it safe and start to protect their "brand."

Growing up as a child in Nigeria, West Africa, three years into living there, my mom started planting trees at our house. Of 100 visiting agriculture scientists, every house had wild fruit trees, but none with any real good fruit. So my mom bought great fruit, she started to dry tangerine, orange, lemon, mango seeds and then planted them around our house.

I yelled at her, "You are crazy, trees take 10 years to grow, we'll be gone within 2-3 years, why are you doing this."

Her answer, was so simple, "It's the right thing to do. Whether we are here or not, this is the right thing to do."


Charlie Kim's Mother

We lived in Nigeria for 17 years. Every family I met talked about how the Kims had the best fruit trees.

This lesson stuck with me as I built my company Next Jump. It's been almost 20 years since I started, yet I feel like I'm at the beginning stages of 20 more. I spend every day focused on "doing the right things."

Lots of start-ups begin talking about employee well-being, but lose their way. People often ask me: "Why do you focus so much on your employees?"..."Because it's the right thing to do." My mom knew this then -- I am honored to live it now.

Charlie Kim is Founder & CEO of Next Jump, a technology company headquartered in New York City. What sets Next Jump apart is their culture and focus on human capital, defined by: Better Me + Better You = Better Us. Follow Charlie on Twitter @CharlieYKim