It’s a very good time to be an entrepreneur. Startup funding is abundant. Stories of successful entrepreneurs make headlines almost every day and Technological innovation has opened the door to countless opportunities. All in all, given the support of capitalist values and the efforts of seasoned and novice entrepreneurs alike, it’s fair to say we’ve built a thriving startup culture but there are serious obstacles that need to be addressed, or we’re all going to pay the price.
- Funding is lumping toward established enterprises
funding is more plentiful than it’s ever been before -- but that doesn’t mean it’s available to all entrepreneurs equally. Instead, it’s lumped together to fund only the biggest, best-established, most promising businesses. This is discouraging to new entrepreneurs because it artificially limits the pool of potential innovators who could be driving our economy forward.
- Entrepreneurial diversity is lacking
We’re making some good progress when it comes to diversity among entrepreneurs
, but minority and women business owners are still disproportionately absent, compared to white males. Also a surprising majority of new businesses are being started by seasoned business owners, rather than new blood.
The end result is limited potential. We’re bound to our old standards and a restricted pattern of growth
- Replication trumps inspiration
When you think of the typical startup’s company culture, and you’ll probably think of a bunch of young guys and girls in casual clothes, sitting on sofas with Macbooks. But beyond culture, most new startups are merely reimagined versions of previously successful apps and ideas: Think of all the social media platforms that have cropped up, or how many Amazon-like businesses have struggled for relevance. This is because we nurture replication more than inspiration; we’re more prone to favor ideas similar to ones we know are successful than to gamble on something entirely novel. As a result, our collective inspiration is stifled.
In the words of Neil DeGrasse Tyson
, “Society has bigger problems than what can be solved with your next app.” Basically, the drive to create the latest and greatest technology often has more to do with refining the efficiency or entertainment value of minutiae, like organizing your notes better by color-coding them or finding hilarious ways to prank your friends.
This stands in stark contrast to technological innovation for solving world issues like poverty, hunger' and discrimination, or scientific pursuits like artificial intelligence development or interstellar travel. This isn’t to say these pursuits aren’t being addressed or developed, but they’re certainly less sexy and less popular than the latest fun app for your mobile device. If we want to prolong our success as a culture and a country, we need to do more to incentivize these kinds of innovation as well.
In our Western, capitalistic culture, there exists a persistent stigma of failure
. To fail is to have disappointed, and is associated with negative feelings. Moreover, failure is often seen as permanent. Instead of stigmatizing failure, we should be celebrating it; only through failure can we learn from our mistakes, adapt, and eventually move forward.