Here’s quite an interesting fact; only 8 companies founded after 1990 who’ve gone public net more than a billion dollars annually. Perhaps more interestingly, they’re all Internet based enterprises. And unsurprisingly they’re some of the world’s most valuable companies.
Check it out for yourself using FT screener – they are in order of net income:
- Alphabet (Google)
What do these companies say about the state of the Internet, Entrepreneurship and Our Future? It tells us that it’s all about Internet access and ability.
You could argue the world wasn’t flat until relatively recently; gone are the days of exploration (and indeed in most parts now also industrialization). Our world is a global one largely thanks to the spread of Information; via the mainframe through personal computer and now mobile phone (alas also meaning we can effectively store, compute and use it effectively).
We also know the information age is where companies (and people for that matter) win by being Internet orientated. Entrepreneurs thus have won by being at the nexus of the flow of information on the Internet. Though the information age will present exponentially more opportunity, it’s largely all about the Internet.
Now more than ever we use the Internet in almost every area of life both in a corporate and personal sense. Examples are everywhere. Stock markets are now largely algorithmic and fibre based as opposed to brokers on the trading floor whilst shopping is now driven by consumers on smartphones rather than manufacturers. The list is endless of how Internet has and is continually changing the world economy and life. The winners in this environment are all Internet based.
What does this mean for entrepreneurship? For those that read Bill Gates “The Road Ahead”, the book was a kind of roadmap but rather like the author’s own company, slightly missed the mark. The “Information Superhighway” is in fact not a personal computer networked to each other on every desk but rather things connected to satellites allowing people to use the Internet.
The winners at the beginning of the Information Age included Microsoft and others such as Oracle who continue to do well. But the reach of Internet has grown beyond the database and the enterprise itself, so also have the possibilities. These include the companies that help people Google search, Facebook friend, Amazon one-click shop and Uber a ride. Not to forget the guys that let us access it such as telco’s like Verizon or hardware makers like Apple.
As the commodities bubble inflates and bursts, taking down more barons of the Industrial Age, the one constant is the rise and rise of Internet entrepreneurs. These are the men and women who shape our world today.
The great thing about all of this is the world we live in is getting better in many ways. Health, standard of living, education and pretty much every facet of life everywhere is improving. Our jobs, as entrepreneurs and the next generation, is to make things exponentially better. The question is; what do we do now?
Making a billion dollars a year doesn’t solve our problems but it underwrites the people taking the world forward. The ‘Internet Eight’ above showed us how to create value post 1990. You give people access and the ability to use the Internet to enjoy life and create value in the virtual and physical world.
It’s up to us to build upon it to make the world a better place.