We are connected anytime, anywhere. But we all?

In the last 10 years I flew many times around the world. But I still can remember the first time I got myself inside of an airplane, it was in the 1980’s and I was only 6 years old. It was a long transatlantic journey and I was very excited back then because a lot of amazing new things were happening in just 1 day.

Fast forward 30 years to today, I’m on an aircraft again. But once again, this flight is special. Why? Because I’m connect to the internet! I know this is not new, but it’s the first time I give it a try. I started by sending some text messages to family, friends and coworkers spreading the excitement for being online up in the air at near 32 thousand feet (about 10 thousand meters). This is a special thing for someone like me that knows how was life before the internet and cellphones. After some messages I started to get some work done, killing some time during the flight. All this got me thinking about the evolution of the human kind, society and technology. The internet and software are eating the world people say, and that’s true, because I’m writing this blogpost over the Atlantic North.

The technological advances in the last 100 years are incredible, in the last 20 years are at breathtaking speed. But despite all this wonders, despite people being able to be online anytime, anywhere there is an ugly truth. From the 7.4 billion people on planet earth, only 3.4 billion have access to the internet, this means that more than half of the population never, ever have been connected or experienced the power of information at their fingertips.

Picture borrowed from FT

When will those 4 billion people have access to the internet? We are living in our small worlds thinking that everyone is connected, always on, anytime, anywhere. This is especially true for startups, developers, designers and tech fans. Because we are creating software products to “eat the world” based on the idea that everyone is connected 24/7 at high speed 100Mbps or more. For me, this means that we are advancing very fast on technology, but we are still lagging behind on social and human kind evolution. We still have issues inherited from the middle ages, but that’s another discussion.

I think we should rethink a lot of things and build products that can benefit not only the “always on” people, but also the other 4B people. How about the slow connected people that only now coming online for the first time? How will we improve their experience? How can we change their lives with innovation and technology? How about offline? How about low end mobile devices? We need to rebuild (or refactor, like developers use to say) mobile technology, that would be the only way (in my humble opinion) that software could really eat the world and create a more advanced human kind.

There are endless good business opportunities for startups to advance the human kind to a fairer world. Instead of building the next awesome dating app, let’s build what matters. We are living exciting times, like never before in human history. It’s in our hands to write the future, and it can be through lines of code.