The Real Issue In Silicon Valley: The Iconic People In Technology

January 28, 2013 3:36 am

Twenty-somethings changing the world and making billions in the process. Think Bill Gates, Steve Jobs, Marc Andreessen, Mark Zuckerberg … In one sentence, that sums up the real issue in the technology industry, because if you try to keep icons of that kind as a role model, you have the following issues:

1. If you have not changed the world by the time you are 30, you somehow consider yourself a failure
2. If you have not made billions or maybe hundreds or millions by the time you are 30, you somehow consider yourself a failure

Unfortunately, both the above statements sit at the heart of our ‘impatient’ generation. PG summarized it very well:

” It’s not a good idea to use famous rich people as examples, because the press only write about the very richest, and these tend to be outliers. Bill Gates is a smart, determined, and hardworking man, but you need more than that to make as much money as he has. You also need to be very lucky.”

But not being patient is okay – the real issue is that the hurry to succeed, begins to have an impact on the kind of problems we choose to solve – In an Instagram world, returns are not aligned to how important the problem is, it is aligned to how fast you can grow to millions of users.

Just as a thought exercise, let us think through this: our life expectancy has not gone down significantly compared to the previous generation – if most of them became a success in their 40s or 50s, maybe we can, too – this approach will give us time to ask Why Not? – but for that, we need to slow down first.

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