The Meaning of Life is To Find Your Gift.
The Purpose of Life is to Give It Away
One of the biggest struggles we are seeing in America is the gap between regulation and technology. There is, of course, always a delay between something new coming to the stage and the governments desire and ability to properly regulate its use in society. Right now, there’s something new going on. Entrepreneurs and industry-shapers are innovating at a pace never seen before. That pace will only accelerate as innovations build on each other and the ability of AI and Machine Learning sharpen and are applied in an ever growing Tsunami of problem solving ability. The gap between these two is receiving hardly any attention by the thinking class, but it’s popping up all around us.
First, look at cryptocurrency and the recent actions by the SEC. First formed to regulate the securities industry, the SEC is now trying to stretch its rule-making authority and expand the definition of a security to include a pseudo-currency. The Commission is currently planning on suing Coinbase should the newly private company allow customers to buy, or exchange stable coins that carry an interest coupon. The legal justification for doing so is found in the Securities Exchange Act of 1934, a 90 year old legal framework that never contemplated individuals being able to issue their own currency. The Federal Reserve also has opinions on whether or not Americans should be allowed to own crypto-currencies or not. The Treasury Department and the IRS want to ensure taxability and revenue generation on the realization of gains on these assets even if the tax code is entirely out-of-date with regard to the assets themselves. This type of action stifles innovation and costs the individual.
Second, my day job is in the insurance and employee benefits space. We have worked with a company who deftly and beautifully established an insurance financing framework (you do know that insurance is just finance, right?) that halved the cost of insuring an employee and profited from doing so. The Department of Labor sued the company without any serious effort at understanding the mechanism by which the results were achieved. In conversation with the primary DOL investigator on the case, he admitted to me that “We don’t have the regulatory power to make this change, but if we sue and win, we can claim that power in the future.” Had the regulatory schemes of Congress kept pace with the industry, this company would still be in business, providing an incredible and affordable product. This type of action stifles innovation and costs the individual.
Finally, a friend’s company manufactures a product that is anti-bacterial in nature, and acts as a prophylactic against hospital acquired infection. At a time in history when the FDA decides to green light vaccines that don’t innoculate and bypass normal testing requirements, my friend’s company was told to stop making claims that its UV-light based product killed germs, including the virus that causes COVID19 by the US Environmental Protect Agency … the EPA. Why? Because the innovation my friend and his employees have put out into the world surpassed the government’s ability to regulate it properly and so they tried "(unsuccessfully in this case) to shut him down. This type of action stifles innovation and costs the individual.
There are hundreds of other examples out there, and I’m interested in any that you come across, too. As we progress as a society, there has to be more flexibility built into a system that would shut down innovation at the expense of potential benefits to humanity. Failure to do so will continue in a doomed struggle to stifle innovation.
“The most expensive time in a manager’s life is the time between when you truly lose faith in someone and when you do something about it.” - Jack Daly
7 years after launching Apple Pay, only about 6% of users that have the service activated on their phone actually use it to pay in-store. I don't get this. It’s literally the easiest and best form of payment I’ve ever seen, swipe your phone over the credit card machine and walk away. No confusion over chip or swipe. No hyper-obnixious bells and beeps to remind me to take my card (has anyone ever left their card in a machine, honestly?). A rare miss for Apple.
“The makers of our Constitution undertook to secure conditions favorable to the pursuit of happiness. . . . They conferred, as against the Government, the right to be let alone—the most comprehensive of rights, and the right most valued by civilized men. To protect that right, every unjustifiable intrusion by the Government upon the privacy of the individual, whatever the means employed, must be deemed a violation of the Fourth Amendment.” - Brandeis
For the ladies, Beauty Pie just landed a venture round of over $100 million. They hack the value chain for very high end cosmetics and aesthetics, white label the result and pass on the savings. The average savings are over 70%. They have a rabidly loyal membership base, growing all the time.
“Being enthusiastic is worth 25 IQ Points.” - Kevin Kelly