There was a time, where things appeared to be simpler. Day to day roles were defined by tradition, faith and immediate means. Men worked to provide an income for their families, and women cultivated the family and tended to the needs of the home. For a time very few really had the desire or abilities to challenge the status quo.
People’s futures were defined most often by their immediate capabilities and it worked, it worked for a long time. Perhaps purely because people didn’t know better, perhaps because people simply didn’t have the power to do much else, or perhaps because quite simply, people didn’t know what lay beyond their local town centre and in the world that surrounded them. Their information was obtained from their community, local officials or newspapers and surely their confidence lay in their tradition which likely encouraged what they were already doing.
Transition to now and oh how things are different. The advent of technology has made all things possible, all things accessible, all things attainable – or so it seems. Phones, TV’s, The Internet and Social Media have brought to our attention every single thing conceivably created by our minds. Similarly, the purely insurmountable wealth of information at our fingertips has cast doubt on everything we have ever been taught to believe, giving us the confidence in our own capabilities to know better how to achieve everything.
Social media and media in general has infiltrated our minds with the “achievements” of others, leading many to become dissatisfied with their current situation as well as the prospects of what they can achieve in the future following a traditional path.
But it goes one step further, with the crippling costs of schooling, health insurance, day care and housing prices in many major cities, what people once were able to achieve with a traditional income now seems far out of reach. The very lives we were brought up to strive for, seem a distant unattainable dream. Take my city of Sydney in Australia for example – the median house price in 2017 was 13 times the average salary (mind you, that’s only the median house price, not necessarily even a nice house)
Mediocrity seems the unavoidable designated future for most and yet everywhere we turn we read that something else is possible… and it just might be!
Laying the foundation for our current environment, I believe there are three main other contributing factors. Education, incumbent corporations and technology.
Tertiary education used to be wholly relevant. In some industries it still is and that makes sense, after all who would want a surgeon or an engineer working on a life threatening project without the foundational knowledge to support their life impacting decisions. However, for many industries like IT, experience far outweighs formal qualification. I recall working for various IT companies in my early 20’s, having no formal qualifications myself. The whole IT department would shudder at the prospect of a new employee straight out of university with no experience. In this day and age, with access to endless amount of information, coupled with general capabilities to experiment – almost anyone can do anything if they dedicate enough time to it. Take Jack Andraka for example, the 15-year-old who invented a sensor to detect early stage pancreatic cancer, I wonder what part google had to play in that one!? – Ok! Fine, we might not all be geniuses but these days, anything is possible and it would seem with many of the “successful” startups out there, the idea barely has to be novel. We live in an age where we can educate and test ourselves in our own time and this opens up a world of possibilities.
Next we have incumbent corporations. In the 1920’s the average lifespan of a company was 60 years and today that average has decreased to 15 years. Furthermore, in Australia the number of new actively trading companies is increasing and the exit rate of companies is declining. To put it simply it seems older companies are dropping off and newer established companies and are doing a pretty good job of sticking around. This means that markets are letting the little guys have a go. In the past, companies with large market share and resources to maintain it had market dominance, but in today’s age with increased accessibility, information and technology we are proving that new companies can rival old competitors and this lays the foundations for a continuation of the trend. Unfortunately for the bigger companies with vast management structures, politics and kilometres of miscellaneous red tape, new technological advantages are far easier taken advantage of by their rivals We see this massively in industries like transport, hospitality and travel – these industries have been smashed open and made accessible to many smaller players that can now influence and gain traction in what were previously inaccessible markets.
Lastly -Technology. Where would be without technology! More than any single factor and combined with every other factor, technology has opened the door to make all things possible. Every single function of a company is made more efficient with technology. Communications, Marketing, Administration, Accounting, you name it and you can almost guarantee that it can be administered by a capable professional from any run of the mill laptop. Technology for business operations has made possible many things that were previously only available to larger companies with resources to dedicate to the task. Combined with the ability to self-educate and Voila! – everyone can get the job done! On top of this, technology has allowed companies to engage economies where their dollar stretches farther, enabling them to grow beyond their traditional means. Finally, technology has allowed new companies to reach further, providing digital products and services accessible almost everywhere on devices that everyone already has in their pocket. Technology is changing industries, automating previously bespoke tasks and opening up entire new markets to previously non-existent entities.
Summing it all up
While it is blaringly obvious that being ambitious isn’t enough to run a successful company, driven by all of the above factors, more and more people are beginning to pursue the journey of entrepreneurship. The impact that it will have on the world is exciting and it is profound, but for some, it will also be devastating. Given the empowerment that technology has given the everyday person coupled with an environment ripe for disruption, continual segmentation of current markets is inevitable and will make entrepreneurship the way of the future.
It would seem that we have the perfect storm, we have a problem and we have the solution. Our growing needs and ambitions represent the problem and our growing capabilities represent the solution. Our passion at Aeona is overcoming the challenges that transpire once deciding to take on the challenge of entrepreneurship and thus we have made it our mission to ensure that entrepreneurs have access to the resources, knowledge and support to empower them to achieve their ambitions.
We would love to know your thoughts! What do you think is driving entrepreneurship?
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