In Business Leadership, will a Digital Earth be Top-down or Bottom-up?

By 2025, will today's leaders rule, new startups replace them, or something else?


How will advanced economies climb out of their economic stagnation, bring prosperity back to their citizens and give us “The Future” we want? The tech industry is where society thinks this question will find answers.

Here’s what some in the tech industry think.

I recently went to Silicon Valley to meet with top tech companies. All said the Expandiverse’s new technology to build a digital world describes where the tech industry is headed. All are moving forward toward new technology, each in their own way — with their own roadmaps.

I also met with entrepreneurs, angel investors and a VC (Venture Capitalist). As Silicon Valley’s engine, startups drive change at ever faster speeds. They pivot until they find traction, build revenues and grow companies. In parallel, angel investors and Venture Capitalists want them to accept investments so they can share the valuable assets (new companies) they create.

Who will win? Will our solutions come from big company roadmaps, market driven startups, or something else?

The real question is where will we find “The Future” we want?

If I could choose a destination I’d choose greatness for everyone. “The Future” should be a world where success and greatness become normal. For you and for everyone.

The source of “The Future” is important. The ones who win will choose. They will own your future and write the story of your life.


When startups rule: Change is the new Big. Change eats the slow.

Change has changed: Every day, the future arrives faster. Today’s scope and speed of innovations have expanded.

Innovation is more than new technology. Successful startups can add new tech, new IP, new business models and new ways to live, work and communicate.

When startups win their version of the future comes from finding anything that works, and evolving that into a business:

  • Google: Started in 1996 as a PageRank algorithm to improve Search, became the world’s largest online advertising business.
  • PayPal: Started in 1998 as digital cash for PDA’s, became eBay’s online payments.
  • Facebook: Started in 2003 as an online version of Harvard’s houses’ printed facebooks, became the world’s largest social network.
  • YouTube: Started in 2005 as a way to share short videos online, became the third largest domain by page views, and 17% of peak-period download traffic in North America.
  • Twitter: Started in 2006 as a way to use SMS texting to communicate with small groups using short bursts, became faster news than the news, and a wider social media than Facebook.
  • Instagram: Started in 2010 as photo sharing, became a $1 billion extension of a social networking service.

Startups can become exceptional. The biggest change a lot of people’s lives, but startup companies grow by pivoting until they find what works. That proves their best plans didn’t work.

Can that drive the future we need?


Today’s top-down rule: Change is the new Big. The big still eat the small.

The leading companies have created ecosystems that capture customers and drive the future they want. The best ecosystems are from Apple, Google, Amazon, Facebook, LinkedIn, Microsoft and more.

Each has its own roadmap to build the future it wants — a future they own.

There’s just one problem: Their customers (markets) and startups (potential competitors) change faster than them.

The leading companies are in an impossible race to stay ahead of constant changes. Except they have a powerful weapon — their deep pockets.

Expectations keep rising. Innovations are everywhere. Volatility and speed accelerate. Financial pressures mount as economies plateau, middle class incomes shrink, governments can’t afford everything they promise and customers don’t have enough money to buy the lifestyle they’re trying to live.

Technology’s pace is approaching the speed of thought. If it can be imagined, it can be built.

The “end state” for lots of startups, new technologies and IP is an acquisition. They become part of a leading company’s weapons platform.

The big eat the small, and the biggest want to own the world.

They each have their roadmap, but is that the future you want?


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