There’s nothing sexy about my business.
…and that’s probably because we’re not a tech startup.
Admittedly, and going by Millennial standards, my business must seem pretty boring.
That’s probably got to do with the fact that we’re not a tech-based come-as-you-are/party-and-work-at-the-same-time type of startup. Instead, we’re what one student who responded to our ad for interns call “an old man’s industry.”
I get it: in this day and age, the only real businesses worth any attention or starting up are companies that develop apps to make manual toilet flushing a thing of the past, and where we’re talking about R&D to finally get cars to fly by themselves and still not crash into lamp-posts compared to some half-sleeping human behind the wheel (imagine the warning alert: “Error. Human Driving.”)
And if I ever decided to look for funding from VCs and angels, they’re likely to be more interested in wearable tech that gives multiple orgasms to even the most asexual of humans (and aliens) that probably takes another 5 years of sunken “developmental budgets” to come up with the first commercially available version than actualisation of projected revenue growth over the same 5-year period that I bust my ass achieving.
Unfortunately, we live in a world where digitization of everything possible is the way to go, and for guys who are thinking along the lines of traditional brick-and-mortar businesses, I’m sorry, but you’re just not sexy enough for angel investors and even 19-year-old interns. And granted too, the level of innovation we do in my industry and work isn’t the kind of deal that makes investors all excited and buzzing — because there isn’t a sexy app or gadget we can come up with. Even the media is simply not interested in profiling companies where your best asset is a brick, as opposed to a multi-functional drone that can fly, navigate, pick up parcels, sing Sinatra’s My Way, and do a tap dance all at the same time.
Incidentally, if you are someone who’s developing said wearable thingamajig that gives multiple screaming orgasms to persons totally incapable of being sexually aroused, do let me know — I’d be happy to speak to you and we can talk about developing a real business together.
It has become appallingly obvious that our technology has exceeded our humanity. — Albert Einstein
So if Mr. Einstein was right, then we do have a cause for concern, because like I said, we’re now in a world where everyone is trying to digitize everything. While I am hopeful that the day will come when some robotic toilet commode will detect I’m about to take a dump and come to me instead of me having to go to it, I shudder to think about how I would even look like once our lives have gone 200% digital. I mean, would muscular atrophy set in because we no longer take even 10 steps to accomplish a menial task (like tying shoelaces), started getting bigger bums from all the sitting and lying around, developed huge brains cause we spend more time thinking stuff instead of doing them, and then we all start to look like Roger from American Dad?
Evolution to Roger can wait for now: the rate at which technology is replacing human jobs is a concern that I think we should really start thinking seriously about. I mean, there are estimates by the US Census Bureau that predicts up to 5 million jobs may be replaced by robots in the USA alone by 2020; and it would be naive to think that such technological unemployment is restricted only to certain jobs — in the future, I think all of us are equally vulnerable to losing our jobs and careers to the Tin Man.
This is the whole point of technology. It creates an appetite for immortality on the one hand. It threatens universal extinction on the other. Technology is lust removed from nature. — Don DeLillo
So, if any of us — the high-flying VCs and angels included — think that they are immune to being replaced by a machine, think again. And you can thank those innovative guys who came up with the ideas that you invested in: you just invested in your future unemployment.
And here’s what else I think: the programmers and tinkerers and inventors and engineers who think they are indispensible because we depend on them to make our robots should probably be aware that somewhere in the world is someone trying to make a robot that programs other robots. So guess what: Tin Man can probably code better than you, and flawlessly, if he/she succeeds.
But enough of robotic apocalypses already. The world is depressing enough with us humans trying to finish each other off, with or without swarm-technology drones fired from F35s to do the job.
My take is that in a world where we’re making robots to replace humans, and the only option left for employment is for bipedal living organisms to make a living doing menial tasks that still warrant the use of opposable thumbs, what hope is there really if nobody wants to start up or fund “traditional” businesses because it’s simply not sexy enough in terms of technology innovation? How much technology do you want to incorporate into, say, making a perfectly palatable chicken cordon bleu?
And believe me, some mad inventor somewhere is trying to make that happen: a robotic all-in-one chef that can make anything from a California maki roll to a perfectly round roti.
Technology is nothing. What’s important is that you have a faith in people, that they’re basically good and smart, and if you give them tools, they’ll do wonderful things with them — Steve Jobs
Jobs (bless his soul) could be forgiven if he is still happily smoking pot at the pearly gates and thinking people are altruistic in his hippie-aye-yay style: he’s not having to worry that some bot is going to be running his company now that he’s gone and very far removed from all that corporate crap that he despises so much.
For the rest of us, though, we can have faith in all the people we want, but we all know us humans have this innate nature of self-destruction. That, plus the fact that some people just want to watch the world burn, if only for the heck of it.
So what then is the solution? Simple: invest in my brick and mortar business. We’ll make sure that robotic take-over never happens.