Quote of the week:

“Pessimists sound smart. Optimists make money.” (Source)

The dawn of “The Great Progression”

“This essay is going to lay out in broad strokes the world-historic story of the next 25 years of our lives,” writes Peter Leyden in a remarkably forward-looking, big picture view of the future. It’s a fantastic piece.

Leyden, who previously authored the iconic “The Long Boom” Wired cover story back in 1997, goes on to make a few new predictions about how a specific set of technologies are on the cusp of their tipping points. Though not specifically geared for the investment community, I think this piece is a compelling framework for thinking about capital allocation over the next few years (and decades) in a period of heightened exponentiality—and a dynamic of increasing power laws at scale.

As Peter writes: “The next 25 years will see the introduction and scaling up of not one but three fundamentally new technologies that will have world-historic impact. One will be in energy tech, one will be in biotech, and one will be the next big stage of infotech, which will be driven by artificial intelligence.” He continues: 

“In the next 25 years, the world arguably will deal with climate change and transition the bulk of our core energy sources from carbon to clean. We will transition our transportation systems from the internal-combustion engine to electric mobility as part of an even larger process of reinventing cities. We will scale up brand new industries and build a much more environmentally and socially sustainable society. We very likely will reform capitalism around new economic priorities that counter the current imbalances and inequities. And we can be expected to revitalize our democracies and push back on authoritarianism around the world. People in 50, 100, or even 500 years from now may well look back on our era and marvel at the transformation that we’re about to go through.”


Earn customers—don’t pay for them

Trina Spear, co-founder and CEO of the apparel brand Figs, had a great line in a recent interview about how she thinks customer acquisition costs: “We earn our customers, we don’t pay for them,” she says. “When you’re just throwing digital marketing dollars because your VCs are saying, ‘We need to hit this and then hit that,’ you destroy the long-term trajectory of the business.” 

“The longer it takes to get to the top, the longer it is for people to come after you to take you down. For us it was this trajectory of really leading up to very fast, scalable growth, but doing it the right way and intentionally.”

A few more links I enjoyed: 

“Since the research lab OpenAI debuted the latest version of DALL-E in April, the AI has dazzled the public, attracting digital artists, graphic designers, early adopters, and anyone in search of online distraction. The ability to create original, sometimes accurate, and occasionally inspired images from any spur-of-the-moment phrase, like a conversational Photoshop, has startled even jaded internet users with how quickly AI has progressed… The technology is now spreading rapidly, faster than AI companies can shape norms around its use and prevent dangerous outcomes.”
“America’s decades-long leadership in film production is being replicated abroad. Rather than being limited to American studios, foreign moviegoers seeking a blockbuster experience will soon be able to enjoy local productions at comparable production levels. And when they do, they will be rapidly embraced.”

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