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Understanding The Game We’re Playing

This is another non real estate tech post. For that, I apologize.

Simon Sinek gave a presentation at Creative Mornings worth watching, titled “Understanding the Game We’re Playing”…

He talks a bit about the entire next generation that as grown up with social media and instant gratification.Many parents give their kids tablets during road trips because it’s easier than forcing them to interact, as just one example. A big part of the cause is what I call the time suck economy, and the broader “on demand economy”. It’s easier to retreat to your screen than it is to have hard conversations about issues with real people, and there’s a rather large incentive for platforms to increase the time people spend staring at their phone/tablet.

This got me thinking (again) about the long term societal danger to screen addiction.

In a business context, think about it this way. If you took the absolute easiest path with every business decision, how “great” would your company? My gut is, it would be pretty sh*tty and certainly not defensible. Your employees, nor your customers, would likely care what you’re doing after operating that way for very long. I’m willing to bet the company would not pass the test of time, it would crumble. Probably incredibly quickly.

In the payments space, tons of companies are working to make it more seamless to transact. Swipe your phone, press a button, scan your fingerprint. What do you know, the less friction involved, the more you’ll do it — playing right into broad consumerism (which I’m against, because I’ve seen the other side). The real problem is that many will be doing that with money they don’t have. Look at what happened to consumer debt when credit cards were introduced. Debt skyrocketed. I fully expect we’re going to see another massive increase in consumer debt once Apple Pay (and others) become the norm. Which, of course, the financial institutions will love because it’ll mean more interest payments.

Easier is not better for the long term, in most cases.

Put me in the skeptic camp for the long term “societal value” of the on demand economy. I believe it to be a bandaid substantially decreasing empathy, compassion, and community in the world. I’m not naive, I understand the value of freeing more time to spend on more productive tasks — but I worry a lot about what happens when real world interactions are removed from day to day life.

So, back to Simon’s question — do you truly understand the game we’re playing?

About Drew Meyers

Founder of Geek Estate Blog / Geek Estate Labs. Zillow Alum. Travel addict & co-founder of Horizon. Social entrepreneurship & microfinance advocate. Fan of Red Hot Chili Peppers and Kiva.

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