Focus on Your Mission

Coinbase's Brian Armstrong was right

Hey y’all, this week’s deep dive is a little spicy.

Answer me a quick question: are you really building a company that’s focused on a single mission?

Are you sure?

I ask because, if you spent any time on X this week, you probably saw the discussion about Google’s new AI model Gemini and its awkward… problem.

A picture tells the story:

There are countless examples of similar images.

Regardless of your personal views on the ideology of some of the people who built Gemini, it’s clear that it had a negative impact on the product.

On the other hand, Brian Armstrong famously stated that Coinbase is “a mission focused company” and that personal politics had no place at the company. This triggered legacy media but was genuinely controversial in Silicon Valley in 2020 after a decade+ of increasing ERG-led activism within big tech companies.

You didn’t ask for this, but its uniquely the founder’s job to decide what kind of company they are building — a mission focused one or one that gets involved in social causes.

This week I’m sharing:

  • Why founders need to make this decision explicitly

  • 6 reasons being focused on a narrow mission is an advantage

  • How to keep your team focused on your mission

Focus on Your Mission

Founders Need to Decide

When every one of today’s massive tech companies was founded, or soon after, they created a mission statement. Google’s was “to organize the world's information and make it universally accessible and useful.”

Would you honestly say this is what Google is focused on today?

With 156,000 employees I find it hard to believe that each or even a majority of them cares deeply enough about that mission to make it their number one priority at work.

Many are focused on their own career growth, and others are focused on using Google’s resources to build support for the social causes they care about.

Sergey & Larry never explicitly made a promise like Brian Armstrong and, as a direct result the company has lost focus and even fired employees for calling it out.

The world is highly and increasingly polarized along ideological lines and just having a mission statement is no longer enough to ensure your team will be focused on the mission first and foremost.

You need to decide — will you wait for employees to ask for your views on various issues unrelated to your business, or will you be explicitly mission focused from the start and attract others who are as well?

Why Being Mission Focused is an Advantage

Reduced Internal Conflict

Become a member to join the community, get access to all 90+ deep dives, our founder accountability challenge, and fireside chats with experts.

I can also help your startup in a few other ways:


Grow your audience + generate leads with my growth service.


Share your round with hundreds of investors in my personal network.


Hire curated candidates from top startups and communities.


I’ll help solve a specific challenge you’re facing with your startup.

🚀 Advertise in my newsletter to get in front of 75,000+ founders.

Subscribe to Houck's Newsletter Premium to read the rest.

Become a paying subscriber of Houck's Newsletter Premium to get access to this post and other subscriber-only content.

Already a paying subscriber? Sign In

A subscription gets you:
Full database of 70+ deep dives
Access to Houck's private founder community
Monthly digital workshops & IRL meetups
1:1 office hours with Houck