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Less Than. More Than.
The flippening of the worlds society.
I’m fascinated by macro psychological change: like when I was a kid, the Chicago Bulls were the best basketball team, and the Warriors were laughable, and now the opposite is true. Warriors are now analogous with dynasty. These types of momentum shifts happen all the time. There is an inherited societal acceptance of something, and then almost the opposite becomes the standard.
“I love all types of music, except country.”
Was a common statement made by my friends between the ages of 13 and 21, and then Taylor Swift happened, and now all I listen to is country music, and I never hear any one say “except country” anymore, because the biggest rockstar on the planet started her career in country.
This psychological switch starts with a an anchor of truth in the world at the time.
Bulls are the best
Country music is the worst
And then a passionate small community of people stick their heels in the dirt and animatedly convince the rest of the world to believe in something else, something unfathomable. They convince the world that something that was once perceived as less than, is much more than!
Let’s talk about video games for a moment. From the perspective of parents this was a technology that isolated children, and never would give you life skills. Today, its become the largest entertainment sector, and has created subcultures, in most regard that create your digital identity. There are now esports scholarships at specific universities! I recently made an offer to an entrepreneur who legally changed his name to his World of Warcraft name, because he had spent so much of his time there, that his identity was more digital than reality.
However, if I mention an eSport athlete, you will think that this is some kid who has spent entirely too much time in front of a television, rather than thinking of them in the echelon of real Athletes. Even by segmenting their name ‘eSports’, I’m immediately parsing the idea of them being sports athletes like a Basketball player, or an Olympian. But what defines an Athlete? Its those who compete in activities that involve strength, speed or endurance. I believe that in the next 5 years, we will be looking at eSports athletes as more than Athletes because of the impact they can have globally, rather than less than, as they are perceived today.
In business, a corporation has always been centralized with a headquarters where the company works. That is how all the largest companies have been built, so why would that change. Why would they build with a community of people all over the world and give away the proprietary secrets that make the company successful… Yet, the largest movement in business is Open Source, in addition to Remote Work. Invision is now a $1B company that has no central office, and Redhat was just acquired for $34B. One focused on remote work, one focused on developing open source software. Open source software is mostly developed by non-company based communities of interested people, they are interested in solving problems, not being aligned specifically with any corporation. Where companies were once built to protect the rest of the world from seeing into the organization, now the next generation of largest organizations will build with transparency and global access in mind.
I think that one of the largest mental shifts in the last decade was that of the electric car, which many, 10 years ago, would have called a golf cart. The world looked down upon the electric car as “less than” a car. But Martin Eberhard decided that technology for batteries and engines were good enough to create a high performance sports car that was electric. And today we have reaped the rewards of probably the best product on the planet with Tesla’s cars.
These conceptual wars are happening all around us. If you listen to the largest points of friction in conversation you can spot them: Banks are too big to fail, You can’t build a relationship online, getting into a strangers car is bad. The world is constantly changing, flipping our definitions, and conquering our touchstones of what “good” is.
By Adam Draper
I ponder as a VC.
It's a quick one minute read to make you think, smile, or laugh.
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