What do Investors Want? Maybe What the World Needs?
Try this: take a step back from your phone, your FaceBook, and your daily routine, clear your mind, and think about the large-scale institutions that need change. What markets to disrupt?
It’s going on three years since Fred Wilson of AVC did this excellent Google talk on disruption. What markets really need disruption? He said consumer finance, energy, education, and health care.
I’ve read more than 100 business plans in the last 8 weeks, and considerably more than half of them promised either “disruptive” or “game changing.” One or two of them might be.
I’d say there’s been movement in consumer finance over the last three years, and maybe in energy, but not much at all in education and health care. A lot of sound and fury, perhaps, but signifying nothing. Lots of online courses, especially for adult education. Lots of universities offer online courses, led by the likes of Harvard, M.I.T, and Stanford, including a lot of online institutions and new ideas like Kahn Academy and udemy. But not of this does much to change the basic model of one teacher and two or three dozen students in a classroom.
To me it seems like nobody’s dealt well with the problem of keeping younger kids engaged and learning by some other means than the traditional model. Or the validation and certification that comes from diplomas and lots of hours sitting in seats. Do you agree?
And then there’ s politics. In the U.S., at least, politics doesn’t work. Wherever you stand on the political spectrum, I bet you agree that our system is totally obsolete on fund raising, advertising, issues discussion, partisan politics, and the actual voting mechanisms themselves. Do you agree with the need for disruption there too — the business of politics, if not the core of politics and political parties. And the business of political discussion, and issues?
What is still true today, as it has been for a couple of generations, is that truly disrupting a market can mean a huge business win. For startups and whoever invests in those startups.
Written by Tim Berry
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