What is reality? That’s something Jon Fisher deals with every day. As the CEO of augmented reality firm CrowdOptic, Fisher is constantly looking for ways to modify our own reality and to provide better experiences.
But here’s a reality that Fisher isn’t trying to change or deny: the world is changing, in some ways for the worst. As a result, the next generation is going to have a lot of problems to solve.
Take climate change. At this point, the debate is pretty much settled: the climate is changing. And this going to have profound impacts on the earth’s geography and ecological systems.
The “Greatest Generation” that settled World War II and established the modern world order won’t be around to deal with it. Most baby boomers won’t be around to deal with climate change either.
Instead, it’ll be the young men and women graduating from school today. That young guy or gal who just started working in your department, learning the ropes, will have to be the one who faces down the changing world.
Still, the choices we make today will have a big impact on the future and problems future generations will face. That’s something Fisher thinks about every day.
Even small choices could make a big difference. Skip the plastic silverware, use less paper. Stuck in traffic? Why not turn off your gasoline engine? As Fisher notes:
“How can we sacrifice a lot to save the planet if we can’t even sacrifice a little?”
You can check out Fisher’s full comments at the University of San Francisco’s commencement here.
You’d think that a Silicon Valley entrepreneur who has successfully started — and sold to category leaders — multiple startups would obsess over business plans, financials, technologies, and the like. Fisher’s career started that way.
Fisher’s first big inspiration came during a yachting trip back in 1992 with Craig Ramsey, Oracle’s then VP of US sales. Fisher realized he wanted financial freedom and the ability to live the high life.
Yet Fisher finds himself thinking more and more about his young daughter and the future she will face. That’s why he’s increasingly leaving his car in the garage; instead using pedal power and electric bikes to get around.
How often do we think about the consequences of our choices? When you leave your car idling in rush hour traffic, do you worry about arctic ice melt? When you grab a drink of water with a disposable cup and toss it out, do you think about landfills? Maybe you do but most people don’t.
Once, Fisher thought the good life meant professional and business success. Fisher’s had plenty of that. He can afford his own yachts these days.
But Fisher also realized that professional success didn’t equate to the good life. You don’t have to be a millionaire or billionaire to lead a good life. Leading a good life means, among other things, paving a trail with good choices. Leading a good life also means building a better future that our sons and daughters will inherit.
Being a successful entrepreneur can certainly lead to a good life. However, business doesn’t always have to be about making a buck. Making the world a better place is another equally worthy goal.
Take real-time video analytics, something that Fisher’s current company, CrowdOptic, currently provides. CrowdOptic has been used to improve experiences at sports and concert events and according to Business Insider, look through walls. But real-time video analytics are also being used to increase public safety and improve healthcare delivery.
It might seem like a “little” choice. Don’t focus exclusively on the ritz of movie stars, music, and sports events. Try to enter markets where you can create positive change as well.
Maybe the profit margins won’t be as high. Maybe the work will be harder. But so what? If you want to build a better world, it’s going to take a lot of sweat, elbow grease, and sacrifices.