I like the way you built up the article, but here are a few counterpoints:
- The “already been done” scenario has been proved wrong multiple times, and companies like this gone on to do big things: Facebook (there were already many social networks), Instagram (there were already many photo sharing apps), Siebel Systems (already many CRMs at this point), etc. The list goes on, and even if they didn’t add much value to “forwarding” the world, they have helped in other ways (programs to enable internet access, open sourced ML libraries, etc.).
“best way to send money to my friends” app that isn’t PayPal, Venmo, or Google Wallet is actually necessary. — There’s still a lot of innovation that can be done here. Why do I still need to pay credit card fees as a merchant? Why aren’t ACH transfers instant?
- The great thing about ventures that have already been done is that they fail fairly fast if not successful — in a fast-paced startup environment, founders that aren’t 100% passionate drop out early. People build what they know to build. Building rockets is hard — Elon himself had to study day and night to understand physics and rocket science.
- Elon Musk himself said that working on something that’s “useful to society” is great, it doesn’t necessarily need to change the world:
In fact, his first company, zip2, was an online city guide, when no one really needed that (this was still in the mid-90s with limited computer access). But after his financial successes with this and PayPal, only then was he was able to fund SpaceX and Tesla.
- This isn’t only in SF. While it may be the poster city for these kinds of apps, it really happens everywhere. There’s not a lot of deep tech in NY/Chicago/LA, for example. SF still has the highest density of one would call “world changing startups” compared to other places.
- To receive funding for ideas like this, there’s need to be a certain portion of an asset class directly dedicated to it. Given that these are extremely risky ventures, asset allocation put towards a majority startups like these is quite risky for a portfolio. You need to be masterclass to do it right.
- I already think “deep tech” is trending back anyways: