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A Message for the Future Generation of Entrepreneurs
As we have recently been in what I would consider a “lull” of innovation in the internet startup industry, I feel recent changes in technology (hardware and open-source software) and the world economy are going to trigger a couple of specific key trends for startups to come. I feel these trends are going to be some of the most important things any entrepreneur can be working on at this point in time.
#1 Connecting people locally. Many recently launched apps are trying to solve this problem in their own way.
#2 Innovative products and services that easily help the average person make more money. There are up and coming big movers in this space, but there is a ton of room and untapped potential. Currently some of the biggest and most tractional ideas to date are:
So why are these two particular spaces going to be big trends in the startup world?
Our world is changing faster than you can imagine. The standard of living for everyone in the world is increasing exponentially as well as the unemployment rate. Innovative technologies consequently eliminate jobs, but in turn create new jobs and free our lives from things we probably don’t care to do. It is a paradox. As we naturally adhere to creating products and services that make things simpler and easier, we in turn affect our long term well-being as a sustainable society. Therefore, we will continue to evolve societally in unpredictable patterns. As people begin to lose their jobs they are going to begin depending on new innovative products and services that effectively improve their current status quo, such as:
There is a high probability that first world nations are going to see some serious economic problems in coming years. The USA, Greece, Spain, and Italy are just a few that have shown some early signs of things to come. The economy of the world is interconnected and interdependent. Thus, when one of us has an economic problem, we all absorb a part of that problem into our own economies.
As economic problems continue to occur in separate nations at a non-linear rate we could possibly see an exponential decrease in economic growth. However I would argue this is a very good thing our world is so interconnected and interdependent because it should mitigate the probability of any sort of large scale war. We more than likely will never see a war with two major economies (China and the US for instance) since they are now so interdependent on one another. The US can’t just go to war with China because so much of the American lifestyle depends on the goods produced there, just as so much of China’s growing economy depends on the US and other countries to finance it.
The world as a whole will continue to become more interdependent as our standard of living increases, which is fundamentally the problem at hand. Economic growth must continue to produce more economic growth in order to sustain itself. Therefore, we as entrepreneurs need to focus on creating products that will help eliminate these issues. We need to quit focusing on these quick to cash ideas, ideas that revolve solely around an entertainment value. These products are nice, but should not be consuming a majority of the capital needed to create the products and services we need to sustain our growing economies. We need to shift our focus on the problems to come. Solve those problems and trust me, you will make money, more of it than you can possibly imagine.
However, I hope the next generation of entrepreneurs realizes making money is only skin deep. Making a profound positive impact on the world is going to feel far more rewarding than just making a lot of money. The smartest ethical people know that if they’re able to do this, consequently they will make a lot of money. Think about it, would you rather have Steve Jobs’ money or Steve Jobs’ legacy? If you want to make a positive impact on the world you can’t be consumed by the idea of being rich.
You have to be passionate about what you’re building and what you’re trying to do for the world. People are smart and thanks to the internet, they’re even more informed then ever before. Being a corrupt corporate crook is going out of style, thanks again to the innovation created through the internet. You can’t get away with a lot of stuff like you used to. You must act accordingly in the internet society, otherwise everyone you’ve ever known will know what a crumby person you are. I feel the next generation of entrepreneurs should aspire to fill the shoes of some of the greatest minds our world has ever known, not just tech/biz giants. The next generation of great entrepreneurs will be primarily empowered by the fact they have the ability to create mass change faster than ever before, not by money.
You may want to argue with me and say the problem is education and we need to focus on that, and you’re right. A serious disruption in the US higher education system is long overdue and trust me it is coming, but it’s not going to solve the problems we are facing in the near future. Re-educating the world is going to take time and a lot of it. The next generations are going to be the ones who benefit from a large educational disruption. Since this is more of a social policy problem we need to push our politicians to create innovative changes within our governments. Cheap high quality education is very much a conceivable reality. Germany seems to have figured it out without the help of any innovative products or services.
So sorry to break the news, we are not going to live in the world our parents grew up in or told us about, but that’s to be expected. Just as our parents never lived in the world their parents dreamed of. But thankfully, technology and the world’s perception of the internet is now in a position to allow these “essential for the future products” to be created and take off faster than ever. It’s our job as entrepreneurs to help create this reality and realize that it’s not going to be a new president or economic policy that changes everything. Economic and political policies just can’t change the world fast enough. Those days have come and gone, our world is too complex and interconnected now. The bottlenecks inhibiting our economic and societal growth are the very policies trying to maintain it. It’s our job as entrepreneurs to step up and initiate these disruptions on our own.
And this goes for everyone. We are all social entrepreneurs at heart, as we all aspire to live in a better world. You can define an entrepreneur to be any individual wishing to create change in a system that is unpredictable. Wether you are implementing change through your own technologies or just along for the ride, we can all help by contributing to the solution and embracing innovative products and services that will eliminate potential future economic problems. If we want to continue to grow technologically and societally it’s going to take a lot more than just voting for a guy who has the word “Change” written on his campaign poster.
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