Growth August 30, 2020

With the world speeding towards the apocalypse (A.I., Neuralink, politics, climate, monopolies, etc.), why even bother building a business?

Philipp Bauer @ciriousjoker

Why not just hope the world doesn't go to shit within 10 years and wait for basic universal income and implanted happiness?

Please give me a reality check.

EDIT:
To clarify: I have way too much fun building stuff, so I definitely won't stop, don't worry. Also I didn't expect this to blow up that much lol

  1. 22

    What you read in the "news" is not indicative of the state of the world. It's a mixture of extremes and exaggeration.

    It's easy to get caught in this wave of pessimism but the world still spins and people still have have needs.

    My suggestions is to take a break from twitter and news and focus on building.

    1. 0

      News are exciting though. But I should probably find better ways to put them into perspective

      1. 1

        The news (mainstream media) is just another business. Big business. They’ve got it optimized to be sensational and salacious enough get and keep our attention just so they can sell more ads. Facebook has the same model, just different platform. It’s not very much keeping people informed or connected anymore.

        1. 0

          The thing is, I'm not really getting my news from "mainstream media" nor social media. I usually end up consuming my Google feed (mostly tech related) and from youtube videos about the newest scientific papers (2MinutePapers). I try to reflect on what I'm consuming, that's why I'm worried so much. I won't actually give up and twiddle my thumbs, but future is looking completely different than today, for better or for worse.

  2. 6

    The more you can do to accelerate this development through your business, the better.

    I have been a fan of Star Trek my whole life. I have watched ST:TNG in the 90s and I have witnessed the "scifi stuff" becoming reality: iPads, Hyposprays, VR tech, 3D printing, holographic displays.

    Be the one contributing to the whole world's population getting closer to that utopian future. Find a niche you care about and empower them. If enough of us do that in enough niches, everyone will be helped.

    That's why I became an entrepreneur.

  3. 5

    Wealth is being concentrated more and more in the hands of a few. The rich are going to continue looking for places to put their money to work with potentially big returns. The future of professional work is going to shift more and more from stable salary jobs (that rely on a large consumer base, that is shrinking) to venture capital funds (that rely on rich people). So being entrepreneurial is going to be handy when more and more money is going through VCs.

    1. 1

      Haven't thought about that angle!

  4. 3

    Look at this photo! Smiling Boy Trapped in the Sand

    It's the cover of Derek Sivers book, Anything You Want.

    I don't know about you, but I didn't get the cover of this book at first. I had a "WHAT THE...?" reaction until I read this explanation and I loved it

    "When D. Sharon Pruitt snapped this photo of a boy in the sand, she momentarily isolated what it is to be an entrepreneur. Stuck in a sandpit of your own devising, held immobile by tiny rocks, and enjoying every moment of it.
    "People see what they choose to see when they look at this photo, just as the way we see the life of the entrepreneur is a bit of a Rorschach test. For some, it's a trap. For others, it's the only way, a passion and a mission, not a job.
    "We hope that one day soon you'll feel the same joy and anticipation this little boy does, because that's what it feels like to pursue the thing you want, to do it with certainty and excitement."

    You get one life and you can make of it what you want. Building a business is not for everyone. Instead, it comes down to understanding your own personal philosophy and what you want your story to be. The message of the book is you can have anything you want in life. But depending on the kindness of strangers won't make that possible. No one besides yourself can give you what you want the most. So what do you want?

  5. 3

    What else are you going to do?

    There is only one way to respond to what is always happening:

    • Life, politics, humanity

    They are always at the edge of destruction. The hope is that there are people who actively working on things that will push and highlight the good and give us a sense of progress.

    Your own progress is the kind of bedrock you build to stave off that chaos. Evaluate what is important to you in these circumstances.

    Maybe it's:

    • My family's mental health and my own mental health are important to me
    • My home is important because it can give a sense of peace in an otherwise chaotic world/life
    • My physical health is important because it reduces the probability of disease, lethargy, and keeps my mind sharp
    • My work and my drive to learn is important to me because it keeps me from getting complacent with what I have and prevents me from becoming bitter when I don't meet the things I actually want to accomplish while other people are accomplishing their goals

    You have to really consider where positive emotion even comes from. It's from the active pursuit and reward of pushing towards something and seeing that you are making genuine progress towards that. Maybe that's you finally get up at the same time each morning, maybe it's that you have run a mile every day this month. Maybe it's that you've written some articles and increased your following - increasing the probability of having network effects for a product launch. Maybe it's that you've learned how to cook and you provide for your family. Or that you take time to check in on everyone and yourself.

    Whatever the case might be, we need people working to do more of all of this. Because participation is the only thing that is keeping the chaos at bay. Many many many people are working on all sorts of problems from climate change to policies. That isn't to say we aren't going to experience incredibly terrible circumstances, but what other choice do we have than to try?

  6. 3

    The same could have been said about the industrial revolution and Great Depression, but not only have things gone on -- they've evolved by orders of magnitude.

    As @xyz_crypto mentioned, it may be from too much neurotic news intake. The media and people you surround yourself with is profoundly impactful in how you think, behave, etc. Only bother with that which would benefit you in the long run, and focus on what you can control: providing value to others.

  7. 3

    Few in the past guessed our present, it's unlikely we'll guess our future.

    To me it's simple: we live, and we need to do something with our life. Business or not, it should be our choice. That's freedom: to choose what you want.

    If you think that the world will burn, do what you can to save it?

  8. 3

    Fear is manufactured! Fundamentals will eventually cause course correction.

  9. 3

    Because I'm an optimist and building stuff is fun.

  10. 3

    (Really a good question. Probably not the best to comment. Humbly sharing a couple of ideas, but I would be interested to have your point of view)

    Hum, I agree with the idea of doing things in my own life and not wait until the next crazy idea funded by zealot capitalists, arguing they had foreseen the future of human kind - okay, a bit harsh here.

    Some ideas :

    1. introduce more regulations of what is possible to do and raise public awareness on those issues. I think we all agree, technology is not just improving faster but at a faster pace.... in a finite resource world.
    2. redefine what it is to have a successful business in the collective imaginary: hyper capitalistically funded and very R&D focused vs. Bootstrapped, decent margins and solving a real problem of today. These guys are just not bad entrepreneurs too, just a different choice of strategy.
    3. redistribution of gains: it's linked to your idea of universal income, but it could be possible that some people never enter the entrepreneurship game for lack of social codes, connections, and eventually a way too marginalized social background. Society should care about them too. Wdyt?
  11. 3

    For me building a business is not only for the financial gains or the future, it's also because I love doing it everyday. So even if the world as we know it would end I would like to keep trying :)

    Reality check: nothing matters, we are all slowly dying and try to make the best out of it. This is why it is ever so important to do what you love and be who you want to be.

    Good luck 🙏

    1. 2

      I also love working on projects, but imo there's a difference between project & business at least for me. Unless the project is to grow a business, you can usually get away with skipping the parts you don't like a out a project.

      My logic was the cost-benefit analysis of taking the normal job just to survive the 10 years with as much free time as possible with the expectation that if the world hasn't ended by then life will be great anyway so you don't need to build anything in the long term

  12. 2

    Maybe they're just growing pangs to a better future. Humanity is growing up and as we do we'll have bigger and bigger issues to tackle. To me humanity is like a teenager. We think we know everything and we're so cool with our cars and microchips. But really we have a long way to go. In the end I have faith in people. We'll figure out our issues, grow up eventually and build a future that's awesome for everyone. And it won't be easy. But it starts with creativity and innovation. Why I love this stuff.

  13. 2

    All the more fucking reason to be excited! AI, VR, AR, Biotech - all these exciting technologies coming together.
    So rather than say 'oh we gonna be in the matrix in 10 years so why bother working now' ask, 'How do I make an impact? How do I leverage the technologies coming online the next few years and build an amazing business, create value, and be a trail blazer'.

  14. 2

    I don't like writing mean things, but with this attitude you shouldn't be on Indie Hackers.

    If you really think, that you have no control over your own life and you're controlled by the illuminati, go slave away in some dead end job for the next 10 years because it dosen't matter anyway ...

    ....right?

    1. 5

      I think his question is extremely relavant.

      1. 2

        Totally. I’m glad to see this kind of question here, and more importantly, the many uplifting responses.

  15. 2

    I do admit this "existential dread" for need of a better term hits me from time to time - normally when I read a climate change article.

    I believe that the skills needed to build something might allow us to help with climate change. The more of us do this, the more "useful" we become vs. just being employees.

    At the minimum, an Indie Hacker doesn't need to drive 100km a day to commute, so that is something! And also an Indie Hacker can adapt to new opportunities and challenges as they come. Maybe in 2040 it'll be lights out and electricity for 2 hours a day - but being more resourceful and being able to build stuff up from grassroots may apply offline too. Selling veggies or SPF100 sunscreen to locals - or whatever it is.

    Having more entrepreneurs means we have a decentralized economy around the world, rather than a load of smart people all working for the same SP500 companies.

  16. 2

    The AI sector is not as intelligent as you think it is. All that news about AI, we are nowhere near to that stage (I'm not sure if we ever will). There are many simple problems today that AI cannot predict accurately.

    Neuralink is something I was discussing to a couple of neuroscientists. They confirm it will provide more harm than good. I don't think Neuralink themselves know what they are getting into. I guess we will find out why businessmen shouldn't get involved in areas that they have no/limited knowledge.

    I'm not the right person to comment on other factors.

    1. 1

      My aunt has 2 cochlear implants. Watching her go from deaf to playing piano makes me thing neurolink has a lot of potential. Since we know that brains can learn from very foreign digital signals, applying similar tech to feed our brains signals besides audio could be quite powerful.

      1. 1

        It can be possible. My only concern is what direction will Neuralink lead to. I feel it can help people with conditions but fully functional people, it may be harmful to them.

        As you mentioned, current implants can solve many conditions. So far, what Neuralink has shown doesn't seem to be anything new.

        I watched their recent presentation and the demo didn't make sense. The problem they are solving is to help people but yet they (assuming it is) implanted it on a functional Pig (they didn't mention if it is not-functional). I'm not sure how that demo answer's their problem. It should've experimented on a not-functional Pig. Not to mention it will contain problems like a phone (e.g. battery replacement, upgrades, price). It can also make you feel dumber as well as you're not learning. Collecting Neuron signals is not something new, there are machines today that can collect without inserting wires directly to a brain.

        There is also that question, does it help people who developed the condition or someone born with the condition or both? I'm not sure.

        So, logically, it will not make sense to adapt unless you have a condition (which they technically not answered yet).

        1. 1

          I think the point of Neuralink is more geared towards being a new app and gadget platform for people to build on. Want night vision? Get these glasses and pay us 9,99$/mo for it.

          Solving real problems might be a noble cause but it's probably more of a nice side effect

  17. 2

    Because finding a traditional job or support yourself may be even harder than going indie and building a business.

  18. 1

    This thought has crossed my mind many times as well. My personal response is to try to look at the potentially apocalyptic problems and try to do something about them. Seeing the pressing issues around you can often be a great way to develop business ideas. Perhaps you can do something to help steer events in a happier direction.

    It's a far better way to go than stagnating. And if the world doesn't fall apart within the next 10 years, you'll either wish you had taken the leap and made something, or be glad you did.

  19. 1

    It certainly feels hopeless some times. And agree, the future is unknown, and doesn’t always look positive.

    However, isn’t it always like this? We never know what’s going to happen, and this provides opportunity; to build a business, fight climate change, push for social justice and human rights, etc.

    I look back at history and often ask myself “what did the people of Europe think in 1941 when war and destruction were everywhere? What about 1945 when the atomic bomb was dropped? What about people in 1918, during the Spanish Flu outbreak?

    Probably all the same things we’re all thinking today but... look how much progress we’ve made?

    There’s still a lot more to do, and accomplish. Start!

  20. 1

    I hear you. Life definitely seems more bleak as of 2020. It’s hard not to succumb to depression when the sky is falling.

    I offer that it’s also a matter of perspective. If you’re not in a part of the world adversely affected by COVID, you might breathe easier. If you’re not a minority in the US, you might breathe easier. And if you throttle your media consumption, through news and social media, you might not worry so much. They give us a largely biased view that I find hard to take seriously.

    Maybe we’re not speeding towards an apocalypse. Maybe we’re on the brink of something great. Maybe we‘re on the cusp of a new renaissance, with more access to knowledge and technological leverage then ever before. Maybe some of these old systems that are horribly inefficient and predicated on prejudice will finally dissolve.

    We need to build this new future. Its not even a battle of optimism vs pessimism. I’m too focussed on people’s basic drive to grow to worry about much else. Hang in there. We got this.

  21. 1

    You may not see either of those things in your lifetime. We as humans update our high and low minded goals every decade or so, but our projections tend to be a little right and a lot wrong since good or bad, we are lousy at predicting disruption.

    I would much rather be the disruption.

  22. 1

    I hear you man. But remember, where there's chaos there's opportunity. Perhaps you can find a solution to a problem that not only makes you money but addresses one of your concerns?

  23. 1

    Might take 60 years to get there.

    1. 2

      Honestly I doubt it. I believe 20 years is stretching it imo. At least with climate change deadline is guaranteed to be closer unless we find some miracle solution

  24. 1

    If you look into the actual news and statistics, what you're talking about is crazy

  25. 1

    Because you'll waste 10 years of your life?

    Because building a business is not just about income (and happiness) but about freedom.

    1. 1

      Building a business takes discipline, and freedom is a result of self-discipline. They come hand-in-hand.

  26. 1

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