Over the last 2 to 3 decades of my career, I have had the great fortune to witness technology disruption and the new opportunities it brings about.
I started my career as a software engineer back when the Internet was in its infancy. My career brought me across the globe with experience in Singapore, Germany, the United States and my own businesses in China.
Having been involved in the startup ecosystem throughout my career, it is like staying in “Hotel California”. The excesses from technological disruption create an uneasy balance on the market status quo and new opportunities.
There are many similarities that I observed in the emerging crypto/blockchain market and the past trends.
3 observations I have of crypto today.
1. Growing adoption of crypto among those age 35 and below
It is similar to how the Internet was adopted during the early days. Young professionals and university students are the early adopters, while those aged 35 to 45 is trying to keep an open mind to understand the growth potential of this growing trend.
For businesses, it will be dangerous to ignore how future users view and use technologies.
2. Incumbents find difficulty in shifting their mindset
Back in the mid-2000s, many in the print industry did not see the potential of digital advertising. They believe that print is still the medium to reach out to their audiences. However, many were caught flat-footed with the rise of platforms and the adoption of mobile phones.
This disruption can also be seen when companies like Uber, Didi and Grab disrupted the ride-hailing industry. Licensed cab companies are caught off guard.
Underlying trends do not lie. Avoid letting the current revenue share dictate the future direction of the businesses.
3. Emerging technology is slow, but it may not stay slow
I heard that comment when Java first came out. A senior bank executive once told me that Java will not be used in the financial industry.
Fast forward today, we know that Java won the application server market and has become the incumbent. Enterprises are finding it hard to move away from Java.
We also see it in the ride-hailing industry. Many incumbents rely on old technologies while startups capture new markets with new technology and adapt to emerging customer behaviour.
In the financial industry, crypto-blockchain industry, we are seeing the same argument again. “Blockchains transactions” is slow, but will it stay slow?
The next wave
Just like how Java changed the enterprise landscape, I believe crypto-blockchains like Ethereum and Solana will be among those that will help shape and drive adoption.
I have the opportunity to speak to many founders. Many of these discussions continue to support one conclusion: Technology disruption continues to create new opportunities.
I am excited about how technology startups are innovating and disrupting industries through new technologies and business models.
Some are helping small businesses, others are helping enterprise deals with climate change. More importantly, they are helping to bring positive change and impact to businesses.
I am a Partner at Awesome Ventures
We invest in wonderful technology businesses from Seed to Series A stage.