For the first twenty years of my career I was a techie. And it was an amazing two decades to be in tech, spanning the dot com bubble, the ubiquity of the personal computer, the Web, a mobile phone in every pocket, smartphones, tablets, social media, and the cloud.
Six years outside of tech, it is interesting to watch how that market seems to be reaching a zenith. My computer is almost six years old, and doing just fine. There is nothing an iPhoneX does that my iPhone6 doesn’t already do. I use the same apps on my 6 as I did on my 4. For that matter I use the same apps on my notebook as I did back in 2010.
And it’s not just me, a recent TechCrunch article was lamenting “After the end of the startup era” and a recent Guardian article as asking “As tech companies get richer, is it ‘game over’ for startups?”
Of course, that is conflating all startups with tech, which is the type of hubris that gets former techies in trouble when they venture out into other industries.
One such industry is the world of social good, a.k.a. impact, a.k.a. social enterprise, a.k.a. regenerative capitalism, a.k.a. conscious companies. This is the industry where I now work. I do that not only because it is inspiring and because it needs to be done, but also because it feels like an industry that has decades of growth ahead of it.
Looking around the industry and there is growing excitement everywhere. More entrepreneurs than 750 inculators can help. So many new funds forming that the industry needs an accelerator for fund managers. New national and global events each year, all while SOCAP grows its attendees more than 25% year after year.
It could simply be that we have 1-3 billion people left to pull out of poverty (depending on your poverty line), 10 billion people to feed in the next decade or two, 95% of electricity production to replace with renewables, dozens of diseases to eradicate, fisheries and forests to save, and a whole planet to cool back down.
Or it could simply be that tech focused on the low hanging fruit for the last four decades, overlooking the other 99.6% of opportunities. See Ross Baird’s The Innovation Blindspot for that thesis.