2014: Still living in the 20th century?


Let’s cast our minds back to Peter Thiel’s Start-up Course that we teach here at eToro. Recent tragic events reminded me of this particular class.

It is now well over a month since flight MH170 disappeared from radar and has still not been found. Ignoring the conspiracy theories circling the web, assuming this plane is at the bottom of the ocean sea bed, how has nothing been recovered including the black box flight recorder?

Only last year we were told that there are no secrets, that governments can snoop on us, any time, anywhere. The truth was supposedly exposed. Here Ed Snowden, talks on TED about, ‘how we can take back the internet’.

The Malaysian plane tragically reminds us that there are a vast swathes of the earth unexplored, that the internet cannot track us down everywhere and that perhaps we often focus our innovation efforts in the wrong direction.

As mentioned we have remarkably been travelling at the same speed for 30 years. Aerospace has often been neglected in the wake of economic downturns. Governments are looking for a plane with naval and air support that was developed more than 30 years ago. It’s a shame that such tragic events remind us that we have not advanced technologically as much as we often like to claim.

It is a stark reminder that there are huge obstacles in the way of innovation. When Concorde came to market many thought this is how fast the masses would soon be travelling from continent to continent. This of course has not happened. Electric cars were the future 10 years ago, but I am still driving a regular petrol fuelled vehicle.

I am very excited about what the future holds: Google Glass and driverless cars coming to the market, but we should react with cautious optimism. Cynicism develops if we promise too much and raise expectation levels.