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Startups exist because they radically change the category. A startup can either make a better version of something or create a new way of seeing a problem.
If a startup tries to make a better version, they’re playing the comparison game by the leader’s rules. A better way is to be the only one. In a world that sells bananas, you want to be the world’s first apple.
Category design is then creating a minimum viable different future that early adopters choose. By choosing that different future, they join your movement. As the movement grows, it becomes a market because it defines the category.
I’m not the best, I’m the only. You want to force a choice and not a comparison.
The printing press was a democratising technology. When the Roman Empire became corrupt, the Pope tried to establish order. But ruling institutions often become more interested in keeping their status and power than serving their real function and consequently started to fleece their people.
From this came three technologies:
The internet is much like the printing press because anyone can circumvent the traditional media.
Bitcoin is a sophisticated accounting system that enables people to bypass the fiat currency system.
When people see too many problems in a state, country, a product, and there is a denial that things need to change, they will abandon it.
Exiting broken institutions will give a voice its power.
The future doesn’t happen to us, it happens because of us.
Understanding how broken institutions work is merely observing a natural cycle:
A centralised organisation can make decisions quickly, but with time it becomes a caricature in itself. So it will slow down, people in the centre will make all the decisions, and nobody will be able to get anything done without asking for permission.
That's when you want to be decentralised. Everyone can make things happen independently, but if that carries on for too long, there will be too many different ways to do something, and efforts will be duplicated. This is when you will move back to centralisation.
In the 20th century, you got rich by investing in companies that were a bet against a different future.
Startups used to be something similar to a hobby turned into a business, but they are going to animate breakthroughs and create a different future. They are creating new categories instead of dominating existing categories.
The future will happen because of us. We can either join movements that will create breakthroughs that build a different future, or we will tear things down if we make bad choices as a society,
When people say that robots are going to eat the jobs, they reveal a particular world view where the world is centred on the industrial giant institutions, such as factories and big businesses where every person is part of the cog. But we don't live in that world anymore.
Software is eliminating the need for people to work at companies. In the past, you had to work at a company because you couldn’t produce your product at scale. Now people can exit that system. They can use software to build their product and distribute it. They can be in multiple networks simultaneously.
In the last century, we trained children to be employees who follow the rules. They had to subordinate their own desires, ideas and creativity to the organisation's needs.
In the 21st century, we need to teach children to define and shape their own destiny. We need to teach the importance of personal agency and understand that the world is working in a decentralised way. Learners should focus on their strengths, learn computer literacy, financial literacy, probabilities, and understand how to think about the odds.
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