I hope the holidays were safe and joyful for everyone. We took some much needed time off over the past few weeks - still working, still having meetings, still moving forward - but not with as hard an agenda as we were pushing up until late December. It feels good to be getting back to work.
Time has really changed, however. By that, I mean that the passage of a couple of weeks at this particular point in time feels like a much longer time period. There is so much happening in the world, the economy, politics, and technology. It really feels like we are on the edge of a massive global shift.
No one knows what that will be, but here are a few massive changes that have taken place since I last wrote this newsletter just before Christmas. First of all - all the political madness. I don’t have to spell that out but I do think it represents a gargantuan change in the US political machinery. The two party system seems to be disintegrating before our eyes - and I feel like this is an extremely good thing.
Next, the economy. Like many, I’ve found it disconcerting to see markets heading upwards while unemployment still sits at record levels and millions of people have no way besides the government to take care of them. There will have to be some sort of a reset here as well. Personally, I think we are heading into a time when governments have no choice but to provide more in the way of universal healthcare, universal education, and even a universal basic income. I’m not certain how this will pan out in the entrepreneurial world - but certainly it will bring some changes to how startups work, get funded, and scale.
A connected shift is that of the world’s richest person. Elon Musk has eclipsed Jeff Bezos as the world’s richest person. To me, this represents a global shift in thinking. We’ve gone from this being represented by the founder of a company that sells products at any profit it can get - a sort of global dollar store that used data as a way to push sales to the founder of a company that is focused on solar energy, electric cars, reusable rockets, and more. I’m not always a huge fan of the things Elon Musk says - but he’s a way cooler figurehead than Jeff Bezos. I think this shift symbolically represents our economies going from blatant consumerism to fixing climate change.
This is also clear to me in the shift from the current POTUS to Joe Biden. Interestingly, I think Biden may be the perfect man for our time - someone who actually can work with bankers, CEOs, and to a limited extent - activists. I’m hopeful that things will simmer down and become boring again on the political front.
Finally, big data and tech companies are undergoing a massive shift. There are several viable projects moving forward that seek to create a ‘new internet’ - not the least of which is led by the man who is credited with creating the existing internet - Sir Tim Berners-Lee. I think we are going to see some really interesting changes that take away large amounts of power from Facebook, Apple, Google, Amazon and the other tech giants. I don’t want to jump the shark here - but we may have a little part to play in all of that.
In any event - we seem to be suffering the fabled Chinese curse “May you live in interesting times,” and while there is no doubt it is a curse - I don’t think there has ever been a more exciting time to be alive. We are on the cusp of great changes.
I wish you the happiest of New Years,