Today was an exciting day, as we (the SpeakerText team) spent the morning getting interviewed by New York Magazine for an upcoming feature on the New York startup scene. After the reporter left, I thought a bit about some of the stuff I'd said and sent her the following in an email. I thought I'd share…
Just to re-iterate: I think we're at a special moment in New York and perhaps human history. The world, the economy is changing. Wall Street is shrinking. The media is undergoing a full-blown metamorphosis. People's faith in the powers that be has been shaken. At the same time, the web is exploding and the barriers to entry have never been lower. The tools you need to create a world-beating web service have never been cheaper and more accessible.
The scale, the leverage that a couple of dudes with no money, a big idea and an internet connection can achieve is just totally insane. Never before in human history have so few been able to do so much with so little. It's like Björn said: in the late-90's, people thought all this stuff would be possible, but so much of it turned out to be vapor and a mirage. Now, 10 years later, the vapor of the 1990s is suddenly real, solid and amazing.
The key is to get the word out. University computer science departments aren't educating students properly on the enormous leverage they can get using these tools. It's only later after they've left school, that the immensity of this opportunity becomes apparent. And that's bad. Each year, each month that goes by makes you more risk-averse, more accustomed to the standard "get a job, live for the weekend" career path. Repetition ingrains patterns on the mind and they become unquestioned habit.
But what people really need is someone to get up and tell them "Hey motherfucker, you with all your talent and creativity, you don't have to waste it working for the man. You can build something. You can create something that people want. You can put your gifts to work, take ownership of your soul, make the world better and get rich in the process. It's not either/or." It's like Samantha from Sex in the City would say:
You can have it all. But someone needs to tell people that. It's not normal to grow up thinking that way. God knows our educational system doesn't do it. And that's why I think such a large percentage of entrepreneurs come from families of entrepreneurs. Hence, in my mind, schools need to step up and fill in the knowledge gap.