Have We Reached The End of Tech?
Many of you have been laid off recently and have heard that the days of opportunity building technology are over...don't despair, the reports of your demise are greatly exaggerated!!
I decided to leave my role as CTO of Go1 last November, after two years of hypergrowth. It was an exciting global job at a fantastic company. Founded and headquartered in Brisbane, Australia, I had the privilege of traveling “downundah” several times and leading teams around the world in exciting places that include Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam. Ultimately, I decided it was time to take time off and brought my family to Costa Rica for a sabbatical. Also, so my daughter could attend an international school and continue to learn Spanish.
My personal goals for this experience are to spend more time with my family, relax on the beach, get in better physical shape, catch up on reading, start a podcast, and figure out what I want to be when I grow up. A month into our life here in Costa Rica, I’d say I have mixed results in achieving the above. Turns out, slowing down is harder than it sounds. Here’s a good book on the subject (thanks for the recommendation Lauren Adler):
I’ve spent a good amount of time here reading business and tech press and seen a lot of friends/former colleagues impacted by layoffs, including from Google, Microsoft, Facebook Meta, Twitter and many others. I’ve also seen a lot of articles proclaiming the end of growth for tech:
- Why Tech Isn’t Synonymous With Growth Anymore
- Tech Boom Ends as Companies From Amazon to Meta Adjust to Turbulent Times
- Big Tech Binged on Workers During Covid. Now, the Purge.
While it’s true that tech grew and hired, in many cases with abandon, much of the commentary implies that tech is now a mature category, with little in the way of growth prospects. That is ridiculously wrong…it is incredibly early and there is so much left to do. As examples, I would point to recent massive failures at Southwest Airlines and the FAA due to tech debt and poorly administered technology. Consider how utterly unusable the websites are for the average small business, almost all governments and financial institutions. I have recently spent untold hours dealing with bugs, outages, errors and poor processes from Allstate, Aetna, a CVS Health Company, Bank of America, WaFd Bank, and TriNet, to name a few. All of this represents opportunity!
But what about innovation? I’m not implying that the only work left is fixing traditional paper-based applications. While the Blockchain doesn’t seem it will ever live up to the hype, I’m super excited about “Generative Artificial Intelligence.” Yes, AI is scary and the potential for unintended consequences are material, but the advances in the last year have been stunning. Have you played with ChatGPT yet?
The illustration above was created based on me asking DALL-E, from Open AI to generate an illustration of “The Future of Web Technology steampunk style with boundless opportunity for women and people of color.” Here are some others it created:
I chose to focus on diversity, in part, because dislocations like the one we’re currently experiencing often disproportionately impact traditionally disadvantaged populations. However, with effort and focus, there is also the possibility to create opportunity within the change. Managers, please consider this once you restart hiring!
Finally, there’s real potential for designers, product managers and engineers to use this disruption to apply their skills in new ways that make the world a better place. After years of hype and unmet promises for green energy, there’s mounting evidence that battery technology, renewables, IOT devices and AI can fundamentally change the sources and uses of energy worldwide to avoid more catastrophic climate change. Here’s an article in today’s New York Times that highlights how companies, individuals and investors are embracing the opportunity: ‘Recession Resilient’ Climate Start-Ups Shine in Tech Downturn
Family Sabbatical. Former Roles: CTO at Go1 & PayScale, VP at Amazon
My first LinkedIn Article….let me know what you think and please share if it resonates.