05/19/2014 03:27 pm ET Updated Jul 19, 2014

Stop! And Ask Yourself This One Question

You have a startup idea. A product vision. Hell, maybe you even have angel funding. Or Venture Capital funding. You have a sick office in San Francisco. Or New York. Or Cambridge. Or London. But please, before you blow through your money, spend hours building products, I beg you... ask yourself just a single - yet essential - question.

"Does this make someone's life better?"

It's not an easy question to ask... or answer, for that matter. Let's look at why that is.

First, we need to define "better." What makes someone's life "better?" The term can mean almost anything... more productive, happier, simpler, and so on. But at the end of the day, it will be your gut reaction. You'll know whether it actually makes someone's life better.

Second, you need to grapple with the fact that very few ideas actually make someone's life better. It's not that hard to make a product that makes money. Or come up with an idea that you can get funding for. But to actually create a product or idea that improves one's life... that's not easy.

And sometimes, it's not even a matter of changing your product or pivoting. It can be as simple as realizing the untapped potential of what you are creating, and focusing on that as you move forward.

So ask yourself that question. Ponder it. Think about it. Maybe your product does make someone's life better... and maybe it doesn't. Either way is okay, but it's worth keeping in mind. Working on a startup, taking on investments... it puts you in a position of power. You're creating the future. Create responsibly. Keep in mind how you can improve lives and make the world a better place.