Regardless of whether or not you agree with former President Obama on anything, one thing he said is absolutely true: “If you had to choose any time in the course of human history to be alive, you’d choose this one. Right here in America, right now.” If you want to become an entrepreneur, there is no better time than now.
Indeed, we are in a period of unprecedented opportunity. What a time to be alive. Of course there are enormous issues facing the global community, but relative to any other time in human history, there is reason to be more optimistic than ever before.
In particular, 2018 is the best time since the American Civil War for young people and potential entrepreneurs to become millionaires and billionaires by making their dreams a reality.
That’s right; best time in 150 years.
So why is that? Though there are many reasons, this is mainly true because we are in a stage of our economic development in many ways, and thankfully not in others, similar to the late nineteenth century. Following the civil war (and during the second industrial revolution), progress in transportation technology via railway was one of, if not the, most important developments in our nation’s history. Everyone was trying to get in on the action, in a variety of industries (and even new industries), from the Vanderbilt’s to JP Morgan. This wave was complemented by the role of crude oil in, among numerous uses, lighting our homes and streets. These industries overlapped extensively, and made smart businessmen and investors quite wealthy (you might have heard of a one John D. Rockefeller).
Now no one can expect to make $336 BILLION like Mr. Rockefeller, but 2017 shows similar potential for advancement in energy, transportation, and overall technological development. On the energy and transportation side, our economy is shifting from fossil fuels to renewable energy at never before seen levels. Though change is never instantaneous, we know this revolution is happening, and that the place to be is on the ground floor. With solar prices dropping to record lows, and efficiency reaching record highs, the solar industry is expected to grow six-fold by 2030. While creating the new app can make you millions of dollars, the opportunity to become involved in changing both the way we move and how we are powered occurs for very few generations. Changes in the modes and means of transportation and energy leads to great prosperity for those bold enough to jump on. It is no wonder why 20% of the richest people in history were born from 1831-1840.
In other words, a million dollars isn’t cool…
The exciting thing about 2018 is that there are so many options for entrepreneurs to make their mark on the world. Even if you’re not the one making investments in wind, hydro, solar, or the new type of vehicle/hyperloop, there are endless avenues and business opportunities that emerge because of the changes in energy and transportation. For example, the entire industry of professional sports would not be what it is today if it were not for train, car, and plane (all propelled by coal and oil of course). Today, the direct and indirect effects of changing energy will be across all industries, and lead to the creation of new industries we have not even thought of. These issues affect the entirety of our 7.5 billion and counting world population, especially those in developing countries who, to a certain degree, could potentially ‘leapfrog’ fossil fuels for clean energy in their stages of economic development. This market size, mixed with the inevitability of our changing energy, makes 2017 the best time in 150 years to become an entrepreneur.
So think about what clean energy means for our economy. How can we innovate and invest to speed up the process? What industries will be most affected because of the change? What new industries will be created? These are tough questions, and while there are dozens of other entrepreneurship options that I did not discuss here, there is no greater challenge or payoff than our energy development (well, maybe automation). Who knows, if you can answer these questions, you could be much cooler than a million dollars…