As I concluded the Zoom meeting with my business partner, I was able to hear my son joking with his friends in his online chemistry class. I must say this is a very strange time for me. As long as I love my family, usually, we don’t spend this much time together. However, this is not a normal time. In general, governments, businesses and schools do not agree to close everything. At normal times, the doctor did not agree to see me for a video conference. No one was standing outside the grocery store to see if they were six feet away from each other. At times like this, decisions that usually take years are being made within hours. In short, the physical world (brick and mortar reality) is closed.The world still works, but it is now operating inside everyone’s home. This extraordinary time reminds me of 2008, the depth of the financial crisis. The co-founded BEA Systems company was sold to Oracle for $8.2 billion in cash. This liquidity event was the worst and hardest of my career, thanks to the many inspirational entrepreneurs I could meet.
These were some of the brightest, hardest working and founders who couldn’t find the answer, and in this era, many CEOs showed true color. Slack, Lyft, Uber, Credit Karma, Twilio, Square, Cloudera and more started. All of these companies now have multi-billion dollar market caps. And I invested and partnered with some of them.
Once again, I can’t wonder what the world will look like in 10 years. How we live. The way we learn. The way we consume. The way we interact with each other.
What happens after 10 years?
Welcome to 2030. Ten years have passed since the invention of the iPhone, the beginning of cloud computing, and the launch of an extensive 5G network. All the skills we need to change the way we live, work, eat and enjoy are finally here and can be deployed at an unprecedented rate.
The world’s population is 8.5 billion and everyone has a smartphone that everyone uses every day. It increased from about 500 million years ago.
Powerful Internet access and communication platforms have created a new world.
The world’s largest school is a software company, which uses artificial intelligence to deliver personalized learning materials without physical space anytime, anywhere. Similar to the way Apple improved the music industry with iTunes, all students can now download all the information at a very low price. Tuition has been greatly reduced. There are no more student debts. Children can focus on learning, not being educated. Equal access to good education was equal.
The world’s largest bank is a software company and all financial transactions are digital. Start a text or video conference to talk in real time with a banker. In addition, embedded fin-tech software now powers all industries.
No more dirty physical money. All money flows are stored, tracked and protected on the blockchain ledger. The financial infrastructure platform can handle all regions and jurisdictions, all value exchanges, all types of use cases (producers, distributors, consumers) and all customers from scratch.
The world’s largest grocery store is a software and robotics company. Groceries are shipped wherever and whenever possible. Food is served through robots or drones without human intervention. Customers can track when, where and who is involved in growing and processing food. Artificial intelligence tells you what you need based on past purchases and schedules.
The world’s largest hospital is a software and robotics company. All initial diagnosis is carried out through videoconferencing. Doctors and artificial intelligence assistants in San Francisco can combine with all digitally stored patient medical records to provide personalized prescriptions to patients in Hong Kong. All surgical procedures are performed by robots and, of course, are not completely crazy under the supervision of a doctor. Even doctors work at home.
Our entire workforce works at home. The main purpose of the office is to help company employees do their jobs efficiently. Since 2020, all companies, especially CEOs, have realized that it is more efficient for workers to work from home. Not only can you save commuting time, but every company can save money in office space and turn resources into employee benefits. I look back 10 years and say to myself, “I still remember the days of office space.”
The world’s largest entertainment company is a software company, and all of our favorite content is digital. All blockbuster movies are released in direct video. We can ask Alexa to deliver popcorn to the house and watch a movie with friends in the distance. Once you see what you like in the movie, you can instantly purchase anything, clothes, things, etc., and deliver it right home. No more lines. There is no transit time. Reduced pollution. Better planet!
These are just a few industries that have been completely transformed by 2030, but these changes will apply universally to almost any field. We have heard that software eats the world.
That is what you eat. In 2030, software is the world.
Security and protection no longer apply to what we can touch and see. What’s important to each of us is digitally stored, including email accounts, chat history, browsing history, and social media accounts. It continues. We don’t need a home alarm, we need a digital alarm.
Even if this crisis seems to darken the near future, I am optimistic about a new world and a new company tomorrow. I am more excited about the ability to change as a humanity and how this crisis and technology is accelerating our way of life.
This storm will pass. But the choices we make now will change life forever.
My team and I are proud to build and invest in a company that will help create a new world. New and influential technologies that are important to the generations to come, companies that are important to humanity, and what we can all tell our grandchildren.
It is hopeful.