By Working Woman
blog posts after, the curtain closes, as we come to our final one. Do you remember how we started this blog? Well let me remind you in case you don’t.
We began with one man’s vision: “The web is more a social creation, than a technical one. I designed it for a social effect-to help people work together-and not as a technical toy. The ultimate goal of the web is to support and improve our weblike existence in the world.” Tim Berners Lee (Slide 65). And we picked up on that dream, in a promise to deliver through our blog all that’s great about digital media and computer mediated communication through the startup phenomenon! We’d like to think we met our aim! We talked about the new entrepreneurial culture, aided by the inter-connected world, which can provide new opportunities and possibilities for the coming generations, which can positively contribute to the springing economic development and growth (recently I visited California and Palo Alto, a city a few miles outside of San Francisco, entirely developed and created via startup companies-much like silicon valley, in fact it is termed the new silicon valley of California-housing communities, schools, shopping centers, you name it). We presented how much more easy it is to start a startup and fund it, through online crowdfunding sites (based in the crowdsourcing philosophy), and how social media with the dawn of web 2.0 has made it so efficient and effective to plan, set up, test, refine, communicate and promote a person’s idea/product.
We, in the midst of a great and endured economic depression, have presented the brilliant and promising Greek startups, demonstrating how even in environments plagued by limiting job opportunities, shrinking markets and high unemployment, a great, innovative idea can provide the necessary leverage to steer an economy to the right direction. We’ve looked into work life balance and presented arguments on how the inherent characteristics of the startup culture could aid “find” or “juggle” better a person’s work and life. We’ve seen startups taking on charitable character and promising to bring people even closer together, and work together for a common goal! Do good! And so much more that we might not even have touched upon. So what does the future hold for startups? Is it a fad or a business model that has come to stay and possibly evolve further?
“You can’t understand where mind-amplifying technology is going, unless you understand where it came from Howard Rheingold, Tools for Thought (1980)” (Diamantaki, slide16).
Where it came from…..wow, it is mind boggling to even try to start from the beginning, 2.5 millions of years ago from the homo habilis, to our generation, Generation C!
When we are talking about Generation C, we are referring to those people who were born after 1990 and who will by 2020 “make up 40 percent of the population in the U.S., Europe, and the BRIC countries, and 10 percent of the rest of the world” (http://www.strategy-business.com/article/11110?gko=64e54 ). It is referred to as generation C because it is defined by those 6 characteristics:
Interestingly enough, the 90’s which was the era that saw the spring of Generation C, was also the era that saw businesses, as network enterprises. With the realization of what new possibilities this networked model opened companies up to, it is the time that we start seeing a large number of businesses start using the internet and the web for conducting business. (Working Woman, https://startmeup2016.wordpress.com/2016/04/ ). It is exactly at that point when we see our paradigm shift! A revolutionized way of conducting business.
The technological determinist here would say that this entrepreneurial culture was a result of something that came entirely out of this new technology, namely the internet and changed the way we do business, bringing on a new type of business, the startup. He/she, would see it as either bringing about more changes in the business ecosystem and depending on the viewpoint (good or bad) this will bring the expected outcome to today’s and future worker. On the other hand, the social constructivist would say that this is totally absurd and that it was this new social shift, this dawning of the new generation that brought about the change in how the internet is used and its ultimate effect on the birth of the new business ecosystem. They were the soul determinants of the paradigm shift and they will draw and shape its trajectory accordingly.
Who’s wrong, who’s right? Like everything else I believe in life, my view is that there is no such thing as black or white. And both views hold truths. The qualities of the internet, its open architecture and its open governance have indeed played a key role in the new entrepreneurial culture that we see. The generation Cs have been born and raised in a connected, computerized world and it only makes sense that their way of conducting business would not stray far from that. Yet, if people had not created that technology, had not appropriated it in such an extend as to “create” a whole business out of the ease of their own homes with the use of a computer only, technology alone would not have accounted for startups. So, we are somewhere in the middle. Man created machine and machine helped man realize possibilities. And so came about further development and progress.
See, the 90s we witnessed changes both technologically and socially and as we progressed through the years, and society picked up on the new affordances the internet enabled and amplified them, new technological innovations and new possibilities came about. A mutual work in progress.
However, as the authors of the article I mentioned before, The rise of Generation C stated, generation C will account for just 40% of the world population by 2020. Well, what about the other 60%? As this generation came about the same time the new business environment surfaced shouldn’t we have 100% by 2020? The technological determinist here fails to account for this failing. Because it fails to take under consideration the point that if there is no access to the technology and man doesn’t take advantage of it, then it is as if a tree falls, but there is no one there to “hear” the sound it makes.
So we see the gradual uptake of technology in the developing world. As technological access is made possible to more and more people, new possibilities surface. More shaping takes place and the creation is being refined every minute as we speak. Greek startup phenomenon became a reality only when technology became more accessible and more valued in Greece and when the “traditional” public sector stopped being the “Greek” dream. While in Western countries such as the US, startups were already established and thriving. And we see even further segregation as technology is taken up differently in different societies, and it makes us think that the types of startups can very well differ, depending on the environment an entrepreneur is raised. Friedrich, Peterson and Koster, help me so beautifully make my case here: “Western countries currently lead the world in just two critical online services, e-commerce (Germany) and online advertising (the U.K.), whereas non-Western countries are ahead in several others: broadband (South Korea), social networking (Brazil), online gaming (China), mobile payments (Japan), and microtransactions via SMS (the Philippines)” (http://www.strategy-business.com/article/11110?gko=64e54 ).
Having said that, I have to admit that no one knows what the future holds for startups. Who knows what man will think of next and how this beautiful interplay of man and technology will bring about? One thing is for sure, there is no way to predict the future, we can only help create it.
Start uppers, out!
Diamantaki, K. (2016). MA in digital communication and Social media. Digital media and CMC. Lesson 1 [PowerPoint presentation]
Diamantaki, K. (2016). MA in digital communication and Social media. Digital media and CMC. Lesson 2 [PowerPoint presentation]
Friedrich, R., Peterson, M. & Koster, A. (2011, February 22). The rise of generation C. Strategy & Business, Spring 2011 (62). Retrieved from http://www.strategy-business.com/article/11110?gko=64e54
“Working Woman” (2016, April 18). A mindset revolution! A historical account of the startup movement [Web log post]. Retrieved from https://startmeup2016.wordpress.com/2016/04/18/a-mindset-revolution-a-historical-account-of-the-startup-movement/