Best Practices

Do great things: A talk at TechCrunch Disrupt

On May 5, I will be speaking at TechCrunch Disrupt NY on using technology to help humanity thrive. I hope some of you will be able to attend, either in person or via livestream. After the conference, we’ll share the full video in this post.

As technologists, we have greater capacity to change the world today than the kings and presidents of just 100 years ago.

Incredibly, we can now design the world we want to live in, and have the engineering skill to make even global-scale designs a reality. As designers, engineers, and technology leaders, we are a tiny portion of humanity, yet we hold an astoundingly leveraged ability to affect all of it.

How are we using this power? How do we want to be using it?

With our powers combined, we could fix education, end poverty, connect everyone to the resources they need, scale clean energy, democratize democracy, create a sharing economy to rival the ownership economy — potentially within our lifetimes. We could design and implement a post-scarcity world. We could engineer a world of abundance and thriving for all people, in the image of our imaginations.

There are effectively two tech industries. One is focused primarily on these ambitions — on helping humanity thrive — using capital as a means toward that end. The larger one appears to be focused foremost on wealth, valuations, exits, competitive landscapes, and ad revenue.

During the keynote and Q&A, I’ll question the most basic assumptions of the tech industry, exposing subtle but perverse addictions that the Valley takes for granted. I’ll share:

  • A vision for how our industry could choose to transition from “change the world” platitudes to a deep commitment to the future, born from a love for our species and our planet — with new success metrics, new stories, and new heroes.

  • A worldview that sees the tech industry as a single distributed company/team, rather than a set of warring tribes.

  • Practical steps for how each of us can discover our purpose, make our greatest contributions to the world, achieve deep personal happiness, and win the respect of friends, peers, and prospective mates — all at the same time! Starting today!

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