For 20 years now I’ve been introducing myself in professional environments as “tech entrepreneur”. But recently I have observed that I am no longer comfortable with defining myself this way. This article in Wired very well explains why:
Outside the bubble, things are different. We’re not egging on startups that willingly flaunt regulations. We’re wary of artificial intelligence and its potential to eliminate jobs. We’re dubious of tech leaders’ promises to make their products safe for their kids to use. We are all sick of the jokes that no longer feel funny: lines about the lack of women in tech, about obscenely rich 20-somethings, about awkward coders with bad people skills, about “hustling” and growth at any cost. It all feels inappropriate.
I never felt well in the middle of the Silicon Valley’s hype, exuberant extroversion and the idea that one can shop and consume oneself into a sustainable future. But I always liked the idea of good disruption, and of building companies that are both impactful and positive, lingering on the verge of social entrepreneurship, art, science and novel economic models which inspire democracy. Still both the greed and the will to make positive impact exist among techies. Wherever there is money, there is greed. But wherever there are people, there is also integrity. The technology industry must come back to terms with its integrity. Because long-term it’s the integrity, and integrity only, that pays off. “Es lohnt sich, anständig zu sein.”