Stop Worrying About the World, and Start Fixing It. You Can Start by Becoming an Entrepreneur.

by Greg Prestemon

Stop Worrying About the World, and Start Fixing It. You Can Start by Becoming an Entrepreneur. | Greg Prestemon | Pulse | LinkedIn

I don’t know if you’ve heard, but the world is changing.

And it’s changing really, really rapidly.

In 1993, when I started this job, a cell phone was a rare luxury item that weighed roughly 50 lbs. and did one thing: made phone calls. And in 1993, cell phones didn’t even do that very effectively, or cheaply. A first-generation iPhone—a handheld computer in your pocket—would have seemed impossibly futuristic.

This year that first-generation iPhone celebrated its 10-year anniversary, and it seems like a quaint and tiny antique.

The way we work has changed too. In the EDC incubator and in OPO Startups, we see multiple businesses that rely on clients and partners in Europe, China, and nearly every corner of the world. Public policy and technology have opened the world to entrepreneurs, and though we are obviously still adjusting to how that can impact specific industries and sectors of the economy, there is no denying it’s a huge change.

Many of the entrepreneurs in our incubators meet regularly with international partners and clients, for free, using apps like Skype and WhatsApp. If you were born in the 1980s, or (and this makes me feel ancient and fills me with resentment) the 1990s, you might not appreciate how revolutionary the changes in communication technology are. Way back in the stone age, when I grew up, the idea of dating someone from a different county would have been crazy—your mom would have murdered you for the long-distance charges.

Now you can communicate with anyone, anywhere, just by opening an app on your space- age phone.

But it’s not just the changes that have already happened creating uncertainty.

It’s the changes that will happen.

Estimates vary widely as to how many jobs will be lost to automation, but it’s safe to say given enough time, that number will be high, and those job losses will have an impact on our economy, our society, and our politics.

However, change doesn’t mean the apocalypse is coming.

Technology gives each of us an incredible opportunity to take control of our own future. When it comes to entrepreneurship, the barriers to entry in many industries have never been lower.

In 2017, becoming an entrepreneur doesn’t require a million-dollar investment, or an Ivy League MBA.

To use a term from a time when even a brick-sized cell phone would have seemed like science fiction, all you need are a little gumption and a good idea.

And a little gumption and a good idea are not only the building blocks of a business.

They are also the antidote to the uncertainty so many people feel right now.

You can’t personally control the fate of the world. Politicians are going to do what politicians are going to do. And you can’t stop the pace of technological change—the age of automation and artificial intelligence is here.

What you can do is take your idea, and some gumption, and start your own business. Your idea might be the next great social network—or it might be a neighborhood sandwich shop. Regardless of what it is, if you make that idea a reality, its success or failure will depend on something far more reliable than politicians or technology:

You.

Greg Prestemon is President and CEO of the St. Charles County EDC Business and Community Partners.