I built my first website in 1994 at TCU in a business and MIS class, it was a really poor effort but my study partner and I got an A on the project! Before that I had played with modems, checking out the early chat rooms, and generally geeked out on my family’s Apple IIGS (It was sweet). Sadly, I never learned to code but was lucky enough to get exposure early. Still mad at my mother for tossing that old computer.
Looking back, I suppose it was that first project in 1994 that started me down a path of understanding how internet/connectivity changed business models. Our task was to create a website but without consideration we naturally built one that enabled a new business model (a marketplace for hunters & landowners). The fact that we had grown up with the web as bulletin board and chat room certainly influenced us. It’s very much the case that my young exposure to the web and the increasing information connectivity/flow throughout my early career has informed my interests and investments to date.
I think that a meaningful generational change is occurring again and it is one of a few macro considerations that are driving a huge innovation cycle. A new and much larger generation, the Millenials, are coming into their prime consumer and working years. They have grown up with a different experience. They are digital natives that expect and depend on a different set of daily interactions enabled by the internet. In part, it will be their generation driving how we use and benefit from technology in this innovation cycle.
Over the last few years, I noted the business innovation we were seeing across the book at UTIMCO. This wasn’t just software or hardware. These were new business models enabled by technology. It was most obvious when our real estate lead or our healthcare lead would come talking to me about how technology was affecting their book. Or the credit group would ask about our start-ups in that area. Or when I went deep on education and saw what was happening, and what really needs to take place. It was these observations that excite me about our opportunity set at Foundry Group Next.