When I was a kid, I was fortunate to have parents and teachers who told me I could grow up and “change the world.”
Anything’s possible – the only limits are your creativity and persistence (they never really tell you about the “luck” part).
Wanting to change the world is what drives so many of us – whether that’s re-framing life through art, creating innovative solutions to people’s or organization’s problems, or empowering children to learn and lead the next generation.
Changing the world, little by little – one heart, mind, person, neighborhood at a time – is what gets most of us out of bed in the morning, I’d imagine. It’s why many of us join startups, or go on to start our own businesses.
We’re out changing the world. Ok, but are we changing it for the better?
Here are four quick stats:
1. Amazon Web Services has a carbon footprint equal to half the city of Washington, DC.
2. In recent years, at least 250 different artificial intelligence (A.I.) startups raised a million dollars or more from VCs. Four of them have an ethics team, statement, or leader.
3. The energy consumed by a single bitcoin transaction could power the average American family’s house for three weeks.
4. Of the 1.9 million public high school students in the state of California, 0.08% of kids who take advanced computer science classes are Black or Latino. 0.1% are women. Yet only 1.4% of U.S. startups have a dedicated diversity leader or team actively working on making the company more inclusive.
You might say all of us world changers have some work to do.
New times call for a new way of keeping score, which is why Brightest and I just published the first large-scale study on startup social impact, ethical technology, and “Tech for Good,” analyzing over 40,000 startups across the country.
All of our findings, data, and charts are here.
Feel free to give it a browse – or even better share your own feedback, learnings, challenges, and experiences. Or use it as a conversation starter within your own company.
After all, if our goal as startups is to disrupt the status quo, we need to be asking “why,” “how,” and “for what end” along the way. If we’re going to build the power to reach people around the world in seconds, let’s use that power responsibly. And if we’re going to call ourselves stewards of the future, let’s make sure it’s the right one.
It’s not enough to just change the world – we owe it to ourselves and future generations to change it for the better.