We are entering an increasing – no pun intended- age where size is dominant. Big Business, Big Government, Big Unions, Big Data and most damning of all “Too Big To Fail”. We have sacrificed the principles of micro economics such as the optimum size of the firm and the law of diminishing returns to build dominant global enterprises- behemoths more closely related to their bureaucratic enemy, government, than they will ever admit. These entities lumber around the world chasing low costs and cheap labour in the name of maximizing profits. If they fail they plead their case in a public forum that they are too significant to let die. They are pyramids paying outrageous rewards to those that scale to the top.
What are the implications for individualism. Job stability no longer exists. Big data is generating information far beyond are ability to comprehend. The rate of change is staggering. 24/7 hyper-connectivity has us all chasing our tails, Are we headed for Big Brother? Globalization is both an opportunity and a threat. Small business is vulnerable to competitors around the world but at a time when things are moving at lightening speed entrepreneurs are flexible and adaptable giving them the opportunity to find a niche and move into it before others. The most important skill to learn in this new era is the ability to create your own job. Without it the threat is the loss of upward mobility for many and perhaps economic independence for most. The divergence of wealth between the rich and the poor and the eroding middle class are forewarnings. Entrepreneurship is critical for the individual.
But it is also critical for these huge entities. Without the impact of disruption based on challenges to the status quo , sometimes referred to as ‘intrapreneurship’, governments and huge businesses will never come close to producing optimum results and solutions. The current conundrum in Washington shows a government that is not only dysfunctional but is mired in a malaise of mediocrity. There are no disruptors coming forward to challenge the party lines and find compromise. Optimum decisions are a pipedream in this environment.
Entrepreneurs make things happen. They are problem solvers. The greater the problem the greater the reward. Regardless we need them at all levels. It is a skill that some are born with but many can learn. We are headed for a tsunami of Big Data that can swamp us. Machines will literally know more than any individual. It’s a scenario that science fiction writers have been portraying for generations. Individual success will be tied to entrepreneurial skills and attitude. Entrepreneurship has never been more important. We live in interesting times.