They are among the lucky ones in the company, one who has (also) the task of following the "emerging technologies". Since I also have to work, except the important ones like https://www.layer123.com/ (where I participate in person), I follow them at a distance. But when I find myself with events like https://websummit.com/ , I find it difficult to express myself.
The first thing I notice is that these very young enthusiasts are obsessed with their bodies. When they think about how to solve the problems of humanity (like that of frequently brushing their teeth) they are very, incredibly very oriented to the human body.
I don't want to do the usual humor about how much we need a toothbrush that warns you to brush your teeth and gives you the statistics to provide to your dentist. I am sure your dentist is constantly wondering what is the maximum standard deviation in the frequency with which you brush your teeth. We are talking about an extremely advanced tertiary sector, therefore of middle class, so let's talk about the problems of the middle class. This is obvious.
But the problem is that if I had proposed only 25 years ago to thousands of young people an inventive race to solve the most common problems of people I would have seen:
- Common problems at home and in the garden.
- Most common problems with cars and motorcycles.
- Common problems in the office, in the car.
- Problems in everyday life (tasks of children, managing commitments, sports activities, etc.).
- Common problems related to the body and clothes.
The amazing thing about these fairs is that slowly some problems seem to have disappeared on the horizon. I do not say that there is no one to preside over the subject, it is clear. But if we start with intelligent swabs (which then is intelligent the fact of managing the stocks, but ok), up to the measurers of <physical size of the body at random, from the pressure to the density to the whiteness of the teeth to the ocular pressure>, I discover that for the new generations the person occupies a gigantic place with respect to home, work, car, garden, children, family, and so on.
It looks like a portrait of a generation that doesn't think about buying a house, buying a car, having a job, starting a family. It is the portrait of many isolated atoms that go to work for fun, do what they really want to do, live for the day, don't plan for the future (or did I miss the app "where will you be in ten years?") And all what they need is to be fit, pollute little, have a perfect and happy vagina, white teeth, accurate weather forecasts, have a make-up that resists the gym, know for sure where to rent a dress, have with if it's your favorite music (without exposing yourself to the risk of listening to the wrong song! you never know that you know a new group without having accurately calculated your tastes!) and an electronic report with your cat. Virtual cat.
It is not a question of falling too much into stereotypes, but if I make a brief mental statistic on what I have seen, and that I continue to see, I know that the 99% generation has "fairly low" life expectancy.
The equipment "for life" that they carry with them is the electronic equivalent of the equipment of a soldier, or of a complete camping equipment, only that instead of surviving outside the urban areas it is proposed to camp in the society '.
I understand that the new fashion is the nomads. As a person who is still striving to improve spoken German, however, I struggle to understand a topic such as "there is no difference between living in Saigon and where you were born". Well, no. If you are not able to talk to your landlord, I assure you that finding a rented house could be "sub-optimal". Ah, right: you have an app to find a house for rent.
And certainly, the topic of nomadism deserves to be explored: it is true that there is no difference between living in one place and living in another: provided you never talk to the local people, and interact with reality as little as possible. Even if you died, in fact, it doesn't change much between Saigon and Munich.
If when you need a house you buy it using an app, if when you want food you order it with an app, when you need a doctor contact him with an app, obviously it's the same thing. But in that case, what the fuck did you go to do in Saigon if you only talk all day about the same apps you used in Berlin?
Anyway, I've learned to never put myself between fashion and his fans, so yes: you'll be right. Going to a place where you do not understand anything about the language, and even about culture, and about nothing you see happen (for an Italian in Germany, after all, the problem is only the language. The average behavior of people is understandable to a first observation – except for some details – is exactly like being at home. If you say it, it will be true. Who among us doesn't think about dodging coconuts while driving a scooter in the Königsallee? ( and then, who knows why, living in Germany, I had the feeling that learning German would be useful. Mah. I'm a strange type. Or do they have the app that translates everything instantly and accurately? Uhm … actually yes. BUT with the German there is little to trust. )
Ok, I admit it: nomadism could be fine, but only if it worked. In reality it doesn't work, unless you have an intermediary between you and the customer, which you can never meet in person since you're in Saigon. But this intermediary costs money, and guess which income takes them? Well done.
But let's forget the details. We were saying that it is as if these people were completely focused on any minimum detail related to their body. I understand things like "the Greek culture of the body", but compared to these the Greeks were cynical scurries, like Simeon the Stilita.
The range of problems also seems utterly extravagant. Startuppers seem obsessed with their own vagina, and with that of others. I believed that, since ~ 3.5E + 09 women are alive, and about 63E + 11 have existed so far, now the female gender has learned to handle it. Apparently, this is not as simple as it seems. Who knows what the grandmothers used to do.
The teeth and hair seem to be the second obsession: apparently, the new generations have not understood well when you have to wash them, when you have to cut them, and how and when to comb. Also on the teeth: apparently they are very interested in the statistics concerning the cleaning. How much you put into it, how many times you do it, and an AI to see if plaque is increasing or not, seem essential. Apparently they seem unable to decide whether to brush their teeth, and how long it takes them.
Even their mating must be a terrible difficulty. Stuff that the pandas by comparison are pornstars. In my day the males complained that "the girls pull themselves", today they seem obsessed with finding "the right person, even for just one night (cit.)", And they have a gigantic sample collection, they seem to need of the most extravagant mathematical techniques to understand if a guy likes them or not. In my time the girls looked at the males and decided in a few seconds.
Now, for goodness' sake: to be one who at 14 has celebrated with friends the first connection with a BBS in Bologna (using a self-produced 300 BAUD modem), because "now we talk with the whole world", this whole thing should please me. And it actually does me, don't get me wrong. If we had Tinder, Grindr Parship & co in our time, it would have been a debacle. And many more children would be born. Not all planned, I think.
But the thing that puzzles me is that these things were for us to grasp the world. To own it. They were meant to talk to more people. They fulfilled a need to get out of a province that was a spiritual cemetery. The whole first phase of the development of the BBS, and the first years of the Internet, were characterized by this spirit.
These guys instead see IT as a kind of electronic trailer, with which you can go anywhere, have a chat, then come back on board and you're back in your comfort zone: between you and reality there are a number of applications that in the end they never make it reach you.
It's the complete opposite: we wanted to get out of our comfort zone, they want to take it anywhere.
Stay in front of the silence when you ask them what the fuck you are going to do in Saigon, then if you live in a computer bubble where you will talk to the same people as before, you will interact with apps and work like before, they say you are in a beautiful place ( of which you enjoy beaches and landscapes), surrounded by exotic natives who do curious things (seen about like the Oompa-Loompas of the chocolate factory, but without a chocolate factory) but you don't understand why you can't talk to them, and that's it. That's all?
Have you built a global infrastructure to enjoy the view and watch the chocolate-making Oompa-Loompas? It was enough to go to any neighborhood of immigrants, a stone's throw from home, eh.
I mean, if I decided I wanted to work in Thailand, I'd go right to Thailand. I would fuck all that, get out of my comfort zone, learn Thai, drive a scooter dodging coconuts, work in Thailand with Thai colleagues and Thai companies. To have Thai neighbors and Thai friends. But what is the point of going to work from Thailand, for the same boss you had before, with the same colleagues, chatting via whatsapp with the same girlfriend and with the same friends, interacting with the locals just for fun and necessity?
But the real problem is that, proceeding in this way, the final project seems to be to be foreigners IN ANY PLACE. I can understand that you are undecided about what kind of Thai food will hurt you, or make you get too fat, or make you allergy. Then you need the app. Ok.
But after 32 years of living in your fucking Berlin, you will have learned what a damn Bratwurst brand doesn't let you sleep at night, right? You don't need a fucking app for that. And you don't need an app to decide which fucking area of Berlin you'd like to live in, YOU'RE A NATIVE OF BERLIN!
You want to consider these people "connected" but in reality the network does not connect them with reality at all: when we connected with a Bologna BBS, we couldn't wait for them to organize a meeting to get to know all the others. They connect to avoid having to know someone, and nevertheless do business with them / work with them / fuck each other.
Oh, I'm not saying "these" are all. When I say "these" I mean "the world that the startuppers dream of". The world that startuppers dream of, it seems, is made by people who live in a kind of digital caravan, which they take everywhere, and allows anyone to ignore the surrounding world to interact only with their applications.
In this caravan, people have regressed to the fetal state, and they don't know when they have to brush their teeth: but an app reminds them. They don't know exactly what to eat. But an app explains it to him. They don't know exactly if they have teeth tartar: but an app takes a picture of them and explains if it has increased. They don't know exactly if he likes a boy: but the app calculates if he likes it. They can't tell you if the shower is too hot or too cold: but don't worry that the phone (water resistant) will make it a trill if it's too hot for their specific skin.
Let me be clear, dear startuppers: I know very well that you are ridiculous and that you do it to convince old babyboomers that by investing their money in you they will first retire. And I know very well that in your heart you only dream of a friend of yours knocking on the bell by surprise saying that he wanted to see you and had passed by there (an unlikely event in Germany, I know. You need an appointment to go to someone's house) .
And I don't have it with your technologies: I assure you that at home I have more useless ones.
But what puzzles me is the model of human being you seem to have in mind.
Because it seems to me so much, but so much, but so much a minus habens cared for by mother-machines.
Ok, ok. You do it for venture capital money. But let's face it: then you will change your name, to prevent your children from finding the movie somewhere where you said shit with the usual t-shirt and jeans. ( which would make you look young, if only YOU WERE NOT young people. So you look like old people trying to look young, have you thought about it? I don't understand why a young man should imitate an old man who is cool because he looks young , when he's already young ).
Ultimately: all the technological gadgets are also very nice, and the startups in short sleeves and jeans, full of enthusiasm and all eager to work 14 hours a day (but from an exotic beach, so they know what they are missing) are also fun . The technologies behind them are sometimes interesting.
But the world they are imagining will never arrive. Not so much because it is economically unsustainable, but because people could not hold back the laughter in front of the mirror.
And so, to answer "where do startups go?", My answer is: nowhere, but in a very cool way. And strictly alone.