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Redesigning The Social Fabric.
Batko OS #11 - The world has changed, have you?
One of the most profound quotes that stuck with me over the years has been from the movie "Into the Wild”. Chris, the protagonist, rebels against society. He rejects the world to spend time by himself in the wilderness to explore the meaning of life.
“Happiness is only real when shared.”
We chase dreams. We chase a larger purpose. We chase meaning.
Dreams, purpose and meaning are different for every person.
Belonging is universal.
We crave the belonging and acceptance to a community of kindred spirits.
“Happiness is only real when shared.”
Over the centuries the world has become increasingly interwoven. Cavemen remained in the safety of their tribes. In the middle ages, the sense of community expanded to religion and kingdoms. In the 60s, commercial flying made pockets of the world accessible. In the 90s, affordable flights and the reduction of borders opened the world up to everyone.
Accessibility has provided us with the privilege to reach kindred spirits anywhere anytime.
Gabby and I met in a student accommodation’s kitchen in Stockholm. We’ve now been together for 7 years and she was the reason I moved to Australia.
Sophia and I met at a dinner at Southstart in Adelaide when neither of us could get a seat and we had a standing dinner at the bar. We now work together every day at Startmate.
You can meet your life partner on a university exchange semester, your next career at a conference or best friend by bumping into them at your local corner shop. Increased accessibility created a myriad of possible connections. Meanwhile, exponentially increasing the moments of serendipity which tie those loose threads into relationships and communities.
Relationships are the threads that make up the fabric of society.
COVID has ripped the fabric of society.
Flight and border restrictions prohibit travel and meeting new people in real life.
Event bans hinder serendipitous moments of bumping into people.
Face masks cover up facial expressions which are a crucial part of communication.
Communities have been torn.
Whether you were part of a football team, choir or book club, gatherings have stopped and you can’t meet in person any longer.
Even worse, serendipitous moments have been eradicated. There are no more in-person networking events, conferences, festivals, bump-ins at a restaurant, in the office lobby or at the water cooler.
The New World Order.
Where does that leave us?
The rip has turned our world order upside down. It’s a fundamental shift in the way we find and make connections. You can’t work the room at a networking event to make the next golf session to land a deal. You can’t bump into the love of your life at a nightclub.
Interactions largely shifted to the online world, which amplifies two interesting dynamics.
1. Intention over serendipity.
Lockdowns grounded everybody to resort to the internet for human connections. You are 100% in control where you go and what you do on the internet. Nobody is going to bump into you. You create your own luck. If you want to create relationships or be part of a community you need to be intentional about it.
If you want serendipity, you need to intentionally expose yourself to it and increase your surface area.
2. Levelled playing field.
Where previously extroverts who worked a room of strangers succeeded in building relationships, now the internet has levelled the playing field. Charisma, public speaking and social skills have taken a step back. Helpfulness, clear writing, and technical skills are the new currency of relationship building.
Commanding the attention of the crowd with your charisma doesn’t translate into Zoom. Instead, behind the scenes actions and helpfulness finally get the recognition they deserve.
Public speaking has suddenly let go of its loyal companion called stage fright. When you’re sitting on a couch in your living room talking to your laptop, it doesn’t matter whether it’s a 1:1 or hundreds of people listening. Clear writing is now more important than ever as the medium by which we are communicating has shifted away from in-person interactions.
The social skills to navigate a dinner party are now replaced with technical skills of how to troubleshoot your microphone, screen share and share files seamlessly.
Suddenly, previously underrated skillsets have taken centre stage and provided a different group of people in society an opportunity to thrive. A new social currency.
The world has given us a moment to pause.
To redefine our search for belonging and community.
To live a more intentional life.
Humans are the most adaptable species in the world.
We won’t get stopped by a mere rip in our social fabric. That fabric will mend in time. It will be different. Stronger, more colourful and in a way we previously never imagined.
Are you building the new social fabric?
Startmate alumni such as Mass Dynamics (#massgeek), Ovira (period pain), Verve Super (financial education) and Bugcrowd (hackers) are building those communities giving their customers a sense of belonging and communal identity.
We love investing in businesses which are underpinned by a die-hard community.
If that’s you, shoot me a message!
What can you do?
There are lots of other ways to be part of the weaving of the new social fabric.
You can also join online communities, such as the Startmate Accelerator as a founder and the Startmate Fellowship as an operator. OnDeck is an excellent alternative for aspiring founders, angels, as well as David Perrell’s Write of Passage for writers.
What are your hobbies, beliefs and fascinations?
Find and surround yourself with kindred spirits.