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🇺🇸 The New American Dream
Byte by Byte, Not Brick by Brick
My grandfather is an entrepreneur. He started his career as a carpenter in Ohio, became a salesperson, then an executive, and finally started his own business (and a few more). Throughout all this, he raised a family of 4, where he had his youngest at 18 and his oldest at 24.
To me, he embodies the American Dream. Through hard work and perseverance, success is attainable by all. Especially when driven by the desire for their family to have a better life than themselves.
In my family's favorite podcast, "How I Built This," Guy Raz always asks guests, "How much of your success do you attribute to hard work or luck?" They often answer "a bit of both." I never found that to be satisfying.
To me, success is driven by an appetite for risk. This is different from luck because risk is calculated. You take risks to forgo guaranteed outcomes for a shot at something better. And Americans are taking more risks than ever before. Don't get me started on Crypto and GameStop.
With the modern internet, the scale of success has become amplified. Children don't want to be astronauts; they want to be YouTube celebrities. College students don't want to start a career; they want to start companies.
The New American Dream is driven by digital entrepreneurship. The paths to success have significantly expanded, and the opportunities for outlier success are more in reach thanks to the viral distribution of the internet.
These new "solopreneurs" are walking away from their traditional careers and diving into freelancing, e-commerce, content creation, or software creation. Sometimes they're doing several at once. And they're almost always capturing more upside to their labor than previously as an employee.
During the beginning of COVID, this wave was dubbed "the passion economy," and many VC-backed startups materialized to sell picks and shovels to these newly minted entrepreneurs, including my startup, Stream.club.
But creators are just one part of the more significant digital entrepreneurship movement. Movements often need a catalyst to take off, and AI has lit the powder keg.
The rapid advancement in large language models (AI) has brought about a whole new era of opportunities for digital entrepreneurs. AI has turned solopreneurs into one-person powerhouses. Imagine having an intelligent assistant that can handle customer service, analyze complex data, or generate engaging content. It's no longer about hiring a team; it's about having the right AI tools in your toolbox. Entrepreneurs are now pioneering AI-driven niches, pushing boundaries in voice technology, personalization, and predictive analytics. In essence, AI is turning the entrepreneurial playing field on its head. Success isn't dictated by team size but by how ingeniously you harness AI's capabilities. The New American Dream is being drafted in the language of AI, with bold risk-takers leading the way.
I'm reminded of how the invention of textile machinery during the Industrial Revolution dramatically decreased the cost of cotton cloth and had knock-on effects across England. Is the large-language model the modern power loom? And if so, what does that mean for the knowledge workers who compete with it?
The cost of information production is on the way to zero. Digital entrepreneurship armed with AI is poised to disrupt entire industries by offering new, more efficient ways to work. It's not just about automating tasks but also about creating entirely new products and services that were previously impossible. The New American Dream is about taking risks, using technology to amplify your impact, and creating something new and valuable from scratch. Will the next generation of entrepreneurs come from Silicon Valley or TikTok? Only time will tell, but one thing is sure: the future belongs to those willing to take a chance and pursue their dreams.