Mission-Driven Playbook

One of the implications of our current pandemic is that we'll have an increasing interest in creating projects, ventures, companies that have a positive impact.

This has already been trending up, particularly with younger entrepreneurs who are seeing that they're going to be dealing with the implications of decisions made by the previous generation.  Climate change is just one (very large) aspect of that.

What's also happening, is that we're squarely in the deployment phase and past the gold rush of the initial internet phase.  So, many of those entrepreneurs have either moved on to crypto or other early technlogies, or they've found an exploitable niche where there's immediate value to be had.

One of the challenges is that "doing good" or "having an impact" has become so heavily stigmatized as "being naive", that it immediately gets pigeon-holed into "small business" or "impact investment".  It's a false choice.

This bifurcation is exacerbated by a few other factors.

First, the fact that the majority of the narratives–what attracts press and gets buzz–assumes you're objective is to build a venture scale business that will maximize for generating outsized returns for a large hierachy of investors.

Accordingly, most interviews, podcasts, frameworks for building startups, etc., assume this as the default.

I think the "created a venture-scale business" vs. "doing good" is a false choice, but the challenge is that there isn't as much of a gravitational pull towards a more moderate perspective.  A lot of this is driven by the shape of capital, as that in turn directs the incentives of all of the players in the ecosystem.  So, that's not really going to change any time soon.

However, whenever the herd increasingly decides to move in a specific direction, it shifts the dynamics of the entire system, and potentially creates an opportunity for an alternative approach to emerge.

And, I think one will.  Because we're now in a situation where the economics support the idea of building a house you want to actually live in, rather than solely a house you want to flip.

That will require different frameworks, narratives, and networks.  And, we're already starting to see these emerge organically.