A lot of stuff I read on tech these days is about “making it big in tech.” Y’know startups. A startup is a company that takes off, like..hmmm… MySpace.com .. grabs a lot of media attention. Gets funding from VCs (you
can decide for yourself if I mean Viet Cong or Venture Capitalists – I imagine the experience can be quite similar). Then gets bought for a ridiculous amount by some huge global conglomerate for so much money (at least millions) that you NEVER have to really work again. Sometimes, like MySpace, that huge corporate conglomerate has NO clue how to run the startup, so it slowly dies or worse becomes “uncool.”
Most of the people I chat with, especially in San Franscisco, think that is very cool. What it is about. For them it’s all about the big idea. I’m not dissing that, not by a long shot. If anything, I dream of starting a successful startup. But…
Just for the sake of being different (remember the Apple campaign – “Think Different”?). Let’s say instead of becoming rich by revolutionizing the world, you set your sights a little lower. Okay a lot lower. Instead you focus on just having what you need when you need it. You also focus on being able to produce or make it yourself. In the Whole Earth days this was called “self-sustaining.” What happens then? What if our focus flipped. What if instead of worrying about how we were going to afford the kids school clothes at Wal-mart, we worried about how we were going to make school clothes for the kids in our community. We have the people. We even have places to buy fabric.
What if instead of worrying about how we can afford groceries, we worried about how we could grow enough food to feed our community?
What if instead of worrying about finding something faraway on Google, we worried about how we could create a really nice search engine for our community.
What if instead of worrying about what the national leaders are doing to this great country, we worried about making sure our representatives were good people with values that reflected the consensus of our community.
What if instead of worrying about how we could buy something, we worried about how we could make it?
What would that be like? A community that focused on food and clothing created right in their own community. Not making enough clothes for the world, or to be a giant hit at Fashion Week – just enough clothes for our own children.
It seems impossible and I imagine a lot of the reasons you would have difficulties would be our own government interfering and taxing it into oblivion.
But just for a second – what would it be like? If instead of worrying about what the world is doing – we just took care of our own selves.
Google, who has had a rough couple of weeks, wants you to move all your information to the giant computer in the sky. That sounds really cool. Really cool. Our information is EVERYWHERE! When we are usually just right here.
What if we just got a little computer, loaded some software on it, and worked together to build our own Google? Or maybe our own Facebook? Or even, dare I say it, our own MySpace? What would that be like?
What if we focused on reuse? Using parts that can be repaired or recycled when they break down?
I think we’ve been so brainwashed that what really matters is the next big Hollywood blockbuster, that we’ve forgotten even the 500 million dollar epic Avatar can’t top a tomato sandwich made with home grown tomatoes (and some mayo and black pepper) when you are hungry.
Maybe we should start thinking small. Thinking about doing it ourselves for ourselves and reduce our dependency on what everybody else thinks.
Hmmm, now that sounds cool. Really cool.