The Great Reset!
What should your personal “great reset” be?
“The Great Reset” is a headline that polarises many. “Conspiracy theorists” (I put that in quotes because what I have found is that many of them aren’t, but that’s another story) argue that the great reset is a way for the rich and powerful to grab more power and wealth and this may well be happening. On the other hand what many are saying and what I believe is that covid has provided “an opportunity” to rethink our actions through a lens of “lets not continue to do the damage that we are undeniably doing to the planet’s ecosystems through our rapacious desire for profit at any cost” and if the rich and powerful are saying this (and if they are genuine) then great, they have more resources to fix it than most of us.
I believe that looking at this great reset from an individual perspective is important as I would argue that trying to change big corporations or governments is like trying to turn an oil tanker. It can be done but very very slowly. i.e. decades, and who has that long?!. So I would do something over which you have more control, i.e. your own life. Plus I am not a fan of people telling other people what to do.
So let me tell you what I think you should do (oh the irony!… I hate myself!). I like the idea of stakeholder capitalism as it relates to some sort of “reset”. I am an advocate of personal responsibility and putting down activist placards and taking direct action yourself. So the question I would ask myself is what could a “great reset” look like on an individual level assuming the ultimate goal is to maximise planetary healing, reducing poverty, getting plastic out of the oceans, saving the Snowy Owls etc…
Surprise surprise I am (as I always do) advocating getting together a friend or two and starting your own purpose driven company and running it the way you think companies should be run. Make the woman co founder the CEO and try to find a woman lead VC (Why? because I have seen egos hamper companies, and as a general comment women’s egos are less destructive than men’s). If you are one of the 3 readers of these posts you will know that I am always saying “start your own company”. Its because I have first hand experience of doing it and seeing others doing it and the effect it has on their lives and the lives of their new employees and their families and communities.
The data shows that women in particular tend to give back more to their families and communities and also tend to build longer term less risky companies. Unfortunately the data also shows that women are losing their jobs more than men due to covid, but the good news is that they are also starting companies in record numbers too.
The key point I am making here is:
NOW is the time to start your own company. Your own Great Reset.
Covid has given many an excuse (an opportunity!) by giving people time to think, making them realise that:
- being in a corporate office is not the only way to do things. Working from home has had its benefits. You don’t need to live in the city.
- corporations are not people. They don’t care about you. People care about people, companies don’t. Maybe they have already let you go because of “covid”, in which case, great. Seize the opportunity.
- spending time with their kids more is something they wished they do more, and many more
What I know is that working for yourself or in a small and growing startup team is way more rewarding than working for a big company because you collectively make decisions you know to be right, and you learn a lot more. I believe the future of capitalism is breaking up big corporations into small parts and running each part as an independent company serving the other parts. Big companies try to do this by making each department a “service centre” that sells their services internally. The idea is right, but no one cares about it because at the end of the day they are still working for the man and not for themselves and their small team of bandits. The benefits don’t accrue to them, it is just a way of big companies creating more efficiency and maximising shareholder returns. And you are not a shareholder.
A wonderful thing happens when the shareholders of a company are also the owners; everyone works harder and has more fun. They are in it together and have more creative freedom to shape decisions and decide what the company could and should do. I think we need to get back to that. I don’t think we should throw out capitalism, I believe in the risk-reward model where if you risk much, you should enjoy the upside, since if it goes wrong you bear the downside. The downside in many startups is that you don’t get a nice fat corporate salary. I heard recently of a fintech startup where the founders were paying themselves $500k a year. “It is way less than we were getting in our previous corporate jobs!”. I’m not a fan of this, and as an investor I wouldn’t be ok with it.
What I have seen in the first half of my life is that success comes to risk takers and the trick of risk taking is to take them at the right time. To recognise opportunities and take them. To not listen to most people who will say “don’t do it”. Covid and “the great reset” is just a point in time. An opportunity to do the personal great reset that you have always planned. To do what you know is right, which is to quit a job that doesn’t feel right and start something or join something small.
Younger people in particular can take more risk, and whenever I speak to people my age (45), most of them say “I wish I had taken more risk when I was young”. Because you can afford to mess up a few times. The dirty little secret is that the world wants you to get in line and study hard and go to Uni and join a big company and join the workforce, but if you don’t then there is way more happiness and purpose and there is way more wealth there too. And it is better for the planet too, because something happens to companies as they get bigger, they tend to forget the “don’t be evil” or whatever righteous motto they started with. They lose their way. Lots of smaller companies don’t as much. By their nature they are more purposeful, mission driven and less profit focussed.
So in summary: grab one or two friends, start your own company and choose to do something that improves the lives of as many people as possible (while making money of course, you can’t change much if you are struggling financially, and money will let you grow and have a bigger impact). I read somewhere that MBAs had more applications because of Covid. I would urge you not to do an MBA (read this), but to start a company instead.
If you don’t want to quit your job and start a company right now, but you do want to feel good about helping the world then your even smaller personal mini-reset can be to buy a Lucy tote bag (hand made by a woman-lead company in Indonesia). All the proceeds go towards Lucy’s mission of helping women entrepreneurs to start and grow their companies.