In the magical abundancy-based, post-industrial world, it's tempting to look at the massive web companies that connect us as benevolent overlords, institutions that want what we want.
But then they go public.
Here's a Wall Street analyst with Needham & Company speaking her truth, about Facebook:
“Wall Street cares about the business model. We care less about changing the world.”
The reality of being a senior executive at a fast-growing public internet company is that you're surrounded by thousands (or tens of thousands) of people who make millions of dollars every single time the stock price goes up a dollar.
And that's where the seeds of demise are sown.
Say whatever you want to say, the people around you are all paying attention to the stock price, and Wall Street is driving you to mediocrity, to breaking your promises, to interrupting, shaving corners, and most of all, getting stuck.
Wall Street thinks it wants industrial-style reliable incremental growth, the stuff they got accustomed to getting from General Electric, General Mills and General Dynamic. But in fact, what they invested in this time is changing the world.
The world is going to change with or without this public company. It's bumpy for us along the way, though, because we trusted the companies that are now owned by people who want something else.