Entrepreneurs, Industry, and Society

While attending a networking event tonight, one of the panel members mentioned how we as a society have a problem with never turning off – that we are on Facebook or Twitter at 3am instead of sleeping. This being written at 1:30am while on Facebook..a good point, but one lifestyle criticism that may or may not hold water, as diversity manifests itself in a diverse number of ways, one of which being augmented schedules that fit individual bodily rhythms, goals, and activities..

Another entrepreneur was promoting a product that monitored your level of sunlight exposure – the idea being similar to the fitbit in that by tracking your time spent in the great outdoors, you would choose to live more healthily. The takehome point being that the average Westerner takes more cues from a digital device than from the visceral experience of your body/mind existing in the physical world. He commented on how sad it was to see how little time he actually spent outside. Him being the entrepreneur captaining the project, I found it ironic that he was trying to develop something to help people change their lifestyles so as to spend more time outside, but as a result of working on the project, he himself spent nearly no time outside.

This made me think that there exist many industries today in developed nations that serve to create a product that either only becomes necessary as a result of the creation of the industry that makes the product.

Take for instance, the bicycle helmet.  True, this does protect you from incurring severe head wound damage if in an accident.  However, the augmentation to comfort (having the strap mildly choke you) and versatility of visibility can provide support for the argument that wearing a helmet makes you more prone to get into an accident that would require the use of a helmet to protect you from your collision and/or fall.  However, it is a wise choice to wear a helmet when considering the risk of others colliding with you and inflicting damage or simply when one is inexperienced in riding.  But in essence, when one is capable, the use of the product necessitates and thus justifies the use of the product.  A closed loop of relations that need not exist at all.  [Disclaimer: Please do not take this as a recommendation to not wear helmets..especially when it is required by law.  But something to take into account in your mental repertoire, nonetheless…]

The counter argument that is quite valid though, is that people work to help others in the areas that they fall short in, and even though by virtue of working to help others with this certain thing, they are creating the need for that help in themselves, this is justified in that others will help them in other ways through the different work that they do in their industry. It is as if humanity is one big version of those circles where everyone sits on the lap of the person next to them. Everyone is sitting on another person, yet no one is at the bottom. Like some paradoxical Escher painting depicting a physical impossibility where the stairs are simultaneously going both up and down, inward and outward. Or maybe a Mobius strip. Go round once, and you go from upper surface to bottom. Go round twice, and you’re back on top.

Well, I think I just figured out society in some respects, and I’m coming back around for the second time…Been down on the bottom, now I’m coming back up on top!…

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