11.29.2017

The Changing Face of Startups?

I was quite happy that, during this past month, I got the chance to speak to Boyd Cohen -- one of the foremost climate strategists helping to lead communities, cities, and companies on the journey towards the low carbon economy -- about his most recent book, Post-Capitalist Entrepreneurship: Startups for the 99%. His thought-provoking book challenges many of our underlying assumptions about how entrepreneurs form startups and the objectives and roles (or lack thereof) of startup investors in a post-capitalist society.

During our conversation, I asked him: “Why has there been such a radical change in the dynamics of startups?" Here is his response:

Several factors have been evolving and even disrupting the startup scene during the past 5 to10 years. The democratization of the tools of innovation have led to massive reductions in costs, time, and barriers for startups. This includes the proliferation of cloud computing, Software as a Service, and co-working spaces.  But furthermore, the growing number of technologically unemployed and the resentment and frustration with growing inequality has given rise to a new breed of entrepreneur who is less focused on private ownership of land, capital, and human resources (the basic tenets of capitalism) and instead focused on inclusive, open, and collaborative business models, such as platform cooperatives and commons-based peer production. The highly disruptive, and distributed capabilities of blockchain even further these trends, opening up opportunities for alternative currencies and initial coin offerings (token sales) as well as automated distributed autonomous organizations where no intermediary monetizes transactions between peers. 

What do you think of Boyd's perspective? What are your thoughts on entrepreneurs who are pursuing radically different approaches to value creation and extraction?  

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