In collaboration with our friends at FNDR, we are excited to introduce FNDR’s Corner – a weekly series of business and cultural provocations that encourages everybody to think like a Founder.
Each week we will cover key themes to consider as you’re building a contemporary business: from creating an intentional narrative, to defining your social contract and seeing your company as a living system.
As the Congress hearing and the Fortnite parody of Apple’s 1984 ad have recently reminded us, we are living in an era where a few corporations control vast areas of our lives, from social media to search to seeds. And no matter their original intent, it seems clear that a core priority now is to stifle competition and capitalize on our lives, mostly through their (mis)use of our data.
As we see the rise of brand nation states, it can feel like the most powerful people in the world today are not the leaders of our nations, but those of the companies with an intimate understanding of billions of people’s every movement. By sharing our shopping habits, our music tastes, and our conversations we have paid a tax to these corporations that is as tangible and valuable as the tax we pay our governments.
If this is the new geography, it’s worth asking what kind of world we want to live in? One that is dominated by a few giant monopolistic companies practicing surveillance capitalism? Or one that thrives from a diversity of beliefs and innovation?
A world where there is only one social network, one shopping app and one search tool is a world hurtling towards monoculture and lack of choice. And whether it’s seeds or shopping, a monoculture is not a healthy environment. Given the potential of commerce to change behavior and attitudes, why have we surrendered so much of it to so few, whose motivations are neither clearly stated nor often geared toward our human progress?
As we navigate this extended DC (During Corona) era, we all have to behave like Founders, in relation to our work and our lives. The landscape over the last few months has changed radically, and whatever we were doing in the first few months of 2020 won’t cut it today. It’s 2030 already, and it’s a different world.
A different world with a different set of questions about how we move forward. What progress looks like. What we bring with us from our BC lives and what we leave behind. How we contribute to a more diverse world, and don’t feed the monoculture.
The questions we’re asking ourselves as individuals are the same questions the next generation of companies needs to be able to answer.
This uncertain world needs new narratives, ones that describe alternatives to today’s broken systems and careless companies. These narratives will come from people and companies who are re-imagining the way business works and creating new social contracts around technology, consumption and ecology. Our future prosperity requires it.
Despite so many signs that technological domination leads to monopolistic behavior and restricted choice, the true power of technology is to deliver diversity at scale. We need a new generation of Founders, working differently to unblock us from the unbalanced business world we currently inhabit, concerned with building not breaking, and thoughtful about the impact their innovations and behavior will have on society and culture. Imagining the way it should be, not the way it is.
FNDR works with the Founders of the world’s most transformative companies, bringing voice to Founders’ vision and defining culturally relevant, sustainable businesses. They are in direct conversation every week with the leaders who are building the next generation of business. They are fascinated by the shared themes and challenges seen across categories, and what it takes to lead a company intentionally.