can do more.
We look for new ways to accelerate science and technology, and help build enduring technology companies.
Going back to
Don’t we have enough progress already? Why should we accelerate science and technology?
The 21st century will be wildly successful if we can continue to lift the living standard of the whole world. However, doing so with our current technology means we’ll quickly run into resource constraints.1
Every century in recorded history, without exception, saw at least one catastrophic conflict. Today, we live in a world that can destroy itself many times over. We truly cannot afford another major war.
We can debate the if and when ad infinitum, but we simply can’t brush this problem away, or merely come to terms with it. We have to be the first generation to overcome it.
Starting with a simple definition of technology as doing more with less, we believe it to be the only effective way we have to create widespread abundance, prosperity, and security to guarantee the peace.
Sadly, a lot of what passes for innovation today is trivial at best, if not downright cynical. Real science and technology breakthroughs are so dramatically better than the alternatives they replace that every time a great breakthrough was made, mankind has never looked back. In short, real science and technology endure.
Can a technology company truly endure?
When a technology company stops reinvesting in new science and technology innovation, it begins to expect the future to look a lot like the past. At that point, professional managers can take over, since they’re well-suited to manage an organization focused on making incremental gains, or looking to sell.
Visionary founders stand out, because they offer a striking vision of a better future that breaks radically with the past. To be inspiring, their vision must be possible. To be valuable, it must be hard.
The best founders walk this tightrope by lifting their mission above their own wealth or status. They push beyond the easy answers of business school, beyond reason itself at times, into the rarified air of faith and total devotion, where no hired hand can break in, and no grounded competitor can follow.
This has arguably been happening already. At the peak of the last globalization cycle in 2008, the price of a barrel of oil blew past $100, setting a new historic high. And in the last decade, rising global food prices spurred violent uprisings in the Middle East. ↩︎
John runs research at Refoundable.
Previously, he worked for a global early-stage venture firm, where he managed deal flow from over a dozen emerging economies, and reviewed hundreds of early-stage startups.
Before that, he organized and curated several large conferences on technology and new ideas, hosting talks by a wide range of eminent speakers in technology and the arts, including most notably a Thiel Fellow, and the director of NASA’s Jet Propulsion Lab.
He continues to look for new ways to accelerate science and technology in the 21st century.