Human beings are the first species to not be passively molded by the forces of physical evolution—a gradual process that takes millions of years.
Specifically, technology has allowed us to digitize and automate the power of the human mind.
In essence, great technologies—and the companies that deliver them—have fundamentally changed the rate of human evolution.
What I Look For
When investing, I look for technologies that, enabled by massive new trends, grant people or companies superpowers.
These technologies do one of three things:
1. Reduce Suffering
Centuries ago, the industrial revolution utilized machines to replace the toil and tedium of a human being spending days laboring in endlessly repetitive tasks while stationed on crowded, soul-sucking factory floors.
Today, although less dramatic than toiling in a Dickensian London factory, the long arc of this process continues.
Companies like DocuSign now allow us to digitize the laborious process of manually driving hours with reams of paper, for a wet signature, that would subsequently need to get carbon copied and physically stored in a vault for sale keeping.
The result is that human beings are able to reclaim more and more of their time, dignity, and mental space.
2. Grow Income
Technology can also create new income categories and drastically amplify a person or company’s income with the same resources.
For much of human history, human assets were our arms and a small plot of earth—if we were lucky enough to own that. For most, this meant toiling incessantly, with survival as our only aspiration.
However, modern technology allows us to take our existing resources and earn more for the same resource inputs, while unlocking new sources of income. For example, companies like Uber, AirBnb, and many others are creating new streams of income from existing assets. Furthermore, with COVID-19, a new generation of people are earning income remotely as a result of digital work that doesn’t require a physical presence.
3. Increase Productivity
Years ago, knowledge traveled verbally and through elders. Most were illiterate.
Thereafter, society drastically improved with the Gutenberg press, but the distribution of knowledge still required physical books.
Today, the quantity of books, information, and knowledge that we can acquire from a cellphone makes the library at Alexandria pale in comparison.
Using this technology helps people and companies do more with less, make better decisions, stay better connected, and deliver knowledge and services where they weren’t previously accessible. In short, technology increases productivity.
Furthermore, with AI, the rate of change of this productivity will also increase, via improvements in:
- Accessibility (e.g., as AI becomes highly modularized by use-case, shareable, and trainable via WYSIWYG-like interfaces)
- Bandwidth (e.g., as human-to-machine I/O skyrockets, driven by devices like Neuralink and advances in the internet)
This growth in collective reasoning, bandwidth, and storage will make the industrial revolution seem like child’s play.
Supporting Brave Founders Shaping Our Future
“The future is not shaped by people who don’t really believe in the future. Men and women of vitality have always been prepared to bet their futures, even their lives, on ventures of unknown outcome. If they had all looked before they leaped, we would still be crouched in caves sketching animal pictures on the wall.”
– John Gardner, Personal Renewal
It has always been those few, brave, headstrong entrepreneurs who have shaped our world and quality of life.
Today, entrepreneurs have their own superpowers. The code that an individual writes over one single weekend has the potential to interact with billions of people. Heck, that person could practically dictate and deploy it from a phone, in a no-code app running a serverless backend, while flying on a semi-autonomous plane at 30,000 feet.
And while we’re just beginning to scratch the surface, our challenges as a race will continue.
Today’s brave founders, including where and how they spend their lives, will directly impact all of us. The success and focus of their work will shape whether it’s wonderful or deeply unpleasant to be alive on this planet, and whether we’re still around to even discuss it.
As we continue to digitize and massively automate the power of the human mind, I look forward to supporting entrepreneurs who possess the head and heart to build the superpowers our world needs.