Marc Andreessen coined his famous “Software is Eating the World” over 5 years ago. His argument–forget the dot-com bubble. It’s time to be excited about the future again. Excited about where technology will take us.
Today, every company needs to be a tech company. The industry doesn’t matter. Software is eating the world. There’s a debate around whether tech companies deserve the financial valuations they receive. An example is Uber’s $68 billion valuation. It’s not even publicly traded yet.
Let’s forget about that debate for a moment.
I’d like to explore the intrinsic value that technology brings to society. This is day one for technology. Already, we see industry after industry being transformed by technology. Industries are being recreated right in front of us. I’m talking about Uber and Airbnb. You no longer catch a cab, you get an Uber. Hotels are boring, it’s all about Airbnb.
The next billion dollar company won’t be a soft drink company. It’ll be a technology company. A company with a mission not just of profits but a greater good.
The old world has been scrambling to keep their footing. To run from the disruptive startups. It’s non-trivial to reimagine a business from the inside out. There’s no blueprint for success, no map from A to B.
But, there are a few things that are important to the way every great tech company thinks.
The Long Term
It’s all about the long term. The fundamental measure of success for any business is its ability to create value over the long term. This has always been true.
Technology companies and technology investors focus on the long term. They use future-looking incentives and measures of performance. That’s why you see tech companies spend so much money to grow fast. When you’re big, you survive. If you survive, you can thrive.
We have a window of opportunity to create lasting businesses online before everyone else catches on. The internet will only get more competitive. There is still opportunity.
If you create or join a company that isn’t focused on next week, next month, or next year. But 10 years down the line. You’re part of something special.
As Warren Buffett says
“ Time is the friend of the wonderful company, the enemy of the mediocre.”
The Future Will Be Written In Code
It’s impossible to predict the future. But there’s one thing I’d bet on. Code. The world’s most wonderful companies now begin their life in a text editor. Forged at the keyboard, not the steel mill.
The future won’t be created by giants. It’ll be built by a small group of people crazy enough to believe they can build it. We’ve seen Microsoft put a computer on every desk, Facebook connect the world, and Uber reinvent transport. Today, we use Snapchat every hour, Netflix every night, Uber every weekend, and Airbnb every holiday.
Technology companies change us.
The software revolution is coming. So far, we’ve seen industries be transformed by technology. Tomorrow, we’ll see technology be at the very core of everything we do.
There’s a war coming. The incumbents vs. software-enabled guerillas. I’m betting on the software.
Culture Is Key
Technology companies aren’t just companies. They’re cultures. Culture is now the foundation of any business. It’s a no longer a nice-to-have. It’s a must have. Millennials are now the largest part of the workforce.
We grew up with technology. We live and breathe through the internet. We care about the future. Some of us are even excited by it.
Our parents were given a gold watch for their 25 years of service at one company. We’ve been dealt 7 jobs before we were 25. The world is changing. Job security is a myth that died with the birth of the Internet.
Business is moving too fast for job security. It’s a fleeting dream. Today a behemoth and tomorrow, nothing.
There’s only one thing that can protect you. You. You must become a learning machine. Whatever the next trend is, you should be trying to learn it. It’s no longer good enough to just learn at University, then stop. You’ll lose to a learning machine.
A career is no longer defined by a stable income. Your career is the stock market. You’ll have ups and downs. But if you invest in yourself over the long term, you’ll make it. If you keep learning, you’ll prosper.
Your job is not a place to make money. It’s a place to find and align with values. To learn and build a community. To build your own counter culture.
Don’t Be Evil
“Don’t be evil” is Google’s motto. Google is not a conventional company. It can’t be. Google was built on trust. Google’s users trust their systems to help them make decisions.
Decisions on what to wear, where to go, and how much to spend. To succeed, Google’s search results must be as accurate and unbiased as possible. While advertisements enable you to search for free, they can’t influence what you see in your search. Otherwise there’s no value.
Google is incentivised to supply the best information to everyone. We have access to more information today than a US President did 20 years ago. Anyone with an access to the internet can learn.
One of the best ways to learn is to join a startup. Startups are no longer just about business. They’re about learning and creating profits. That’s the only way they an attract the best people. Create a brand that people want to be associated with. “I work at Google” is synonymous with “I’m smart and hardworking”.
Your job is now a reflection of what you believe in. It should align with what you believe in. If you’re like me, it’s probably somewhere in the tech sector.
Technology is the future. It’s time for you to get on board. Luckily for you, you’re reading this. You have access to the internet. You can learn to code. Today, there’s a lack of programmers in the world. That won’t always be true. Take advantage of this opportunity. Technology is going to take over. This is still day one for the internet. Technology is spreading through society like a virus.
I believe in technology. I’ll be investing my Superannuation into a diversified portfolio with technology at its core. I’m working on Spaceship — a Superannuation fund with technology at its core — so you can too.
Spaceship is not a conventional Super fund. We are taking all the great parts of technology and letting them bleed into everything we do. We have long term goals. Our focus is on the customer and providing transparency and openness in everything we do.
This is day one for Spaceship and day one for the internet. You are one of the lucky ones. You’re reading this letter. It’s time to embrace technology. It’s never been easier to learn to code, start something and change the world.
All you need to get started is a credit card and a computer. Gone are the days when you needed a server room and tens of thousands of dollars to get started. This is, without a doubt, the most exciting time to be alive.
There’s so much opportunity.
I know you’ve got the horsepower. You just need to align yourself with the right crowd. Your success in life is largely dependant on your ability to attract and retain a network of the best people. A network of learning machines.
Charlie Munger puts it best.
I constantly see people rise in life who are not the smartest, sometimes not even the most diligent, but they are learning machines
You might not be comfortable with technology today. But in time, you can be. This is day one for the internet. You still have time to get on board.
Are you a learning machine? Get in contact, I’m always looking to meet more of us — email@example.com
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