Technology is one of the greatest results multipliers any entrepreneur could hope for, so, personally, I always want to be as plugged in as possible to the latest breakthroughs.
Technology and the unseen element.
Technology has become such an ingrained part of our lives that people can’t help but be fixated only on the technology itself. But I’ve noticed that when a breakthrough technology finally enters everyday life, there’s a crucial element that often goes unnoticed.
That crucial element is an entrepreneur—a specific entrepreneur whose sole purpose is to create the opportunity for the new technology to be used by millions, sometimes billions, of people in the world.
Think of the cult-hero entrepreneurs over the past 30 or 40 years: Bill Gates, Steve Jobs, Larry Ellison, Jeff Bezos, Elon Musk, and Larry Page and Sergey Brin at Google. Without exceptional entrepreneurs like these, the technology itself would never even have made it out into the world.
There has to be that one personally and emotionally invested entrepreneur who takes a great risk, usually laying all their chips on the table, to bring a new technology into the marketplace and create the demand for something that no one even thought about before.
When you hear about a technology breakthrough, it never comes from a politician, someone in the news media, or a corporate CEO; it comes from an entrepreneur.
The creators of progress for everyone.
This is not just a recent phenomenon. If you look back over the past 200 years—the greatest period of progress in human history and more than all the previous centuries combined—progress has been made at the hands of entrepreneurs.
So much so that from about 1700 to 1800 in certain societies in Western Europe, then Great Britain, and then North America, entrepreneurs for the first time in history were admired and respected on an equal plane with the highest levels of society.
This was a noteworthy and monumental change in human society, and it wasn’t because of any particular technology or governmental institution or structure. For the first time, entrepreneurs were being recognised as people who used their own intelligence and their own capital and risked failure in order to introduce new products and services into the marketplace.
This was the beginning of what we call the Technological Revolution, which started not because of the technology itself, but because there were entrepreneurs who saw the possibility of introducing something into the marketplace that held great value. They could see that people’s lives would be made easier, they would be able to do things faster and have the things they needed at much lower costs—and they could get much greater results than was ever true at any time in human history.
Progress built on purpose.
Why are the greatest game changer entrepreneurs motivated to risk their reputations, their money, and often their personal lives to follow a path so fraught with pitfalls? They took this path because they wanted to achieve a new reality in the world around them, and in many cases, because they wanted to take what was inside their heads and see it translated in a practical way out in the world.
Today, we see and hear about game-changing technologies regularly. But, none of it happens in terms of the wider population unless it’s triggered by an entrepreneur who has a particular personal purpose, the courage to take a gamble, and the persistence to make it happen. In other words, the number-one reason there is positive change in the world is because of entrepreneurs with a specific practical purpose in mind.
Celebrating entrepreneurs worldwide.
I don’t think that entrepreneurs really think of themselves as a collective force for positive change and progress in the world, but they truly are a force.
I think we’d be remiss if we didn’t celebrate the people who make the world better on a daily basis in a very practical way for the greatest number of human beings.
Entrepreneurs do what they do for their own reasons; they’re not trying to save the world. But they do care deeply about making positive change happen in the world, and that’s something well worth celebrating.