As we reach the end of another startup cycle, it's becoming apparent that big companies are growing ever stronger and in order to compete, tech startups have to be as narrow and focused as ever, in order to avoid direct and fierce competition. The future feels gloomy as it's no longer possible to create an app and make millions, as it was once possible during the web and then mobile booms. And yet, I am hopeful.
It may seem that the only way to compete is by going into massive, hard and obscure niches, like self-driving cars, AI, aerospace. It may seem that in order to get funded one has to invent new and futuristic companies, something that promises a solution to the dystopian future, or fix the not-actually-broken systems, in an exciting but perhaps utterly useless way. There are thousands of people doing just that, and some will succeed, most probably fail.
There is another way, I can feel it. One thing that tech companies aren't good at, besides being agile, is being creative. They can hire the best people and pay lots of money, but at some point, their slow pace and overwhelming bureaucracy will be sufficient to repel. Creative people need freedom, and this is the future.
Creative projects can be copied, replicated, streamlined for masses, but the very essence of creativity can't be invented by people who aren't.
The future belongs to the starving artists.
p.s. thanks to my hyper-creative friend Michael Parenteau for this image of bicycles.