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The Economist Special Report on Tech Startups

We are not only entering a big data era, “an entrepreneurial explosion” is also on the tip of people’s tongues. The Economist‘s 2014 Special Report on Tech Startups opens its page by saying that “digital start-ups are bubbling up in an astonishing variety of services and products, penetrating every nook and cranny of the economy. They are reshaping entire industries and even changing the very notion of the firm.” People are worried about this entrepreneurial blossom will lead to another dotcom bubble to bust, however, even Josh Lerner, the guru of Harvard Business School claims “technologies of startup production have become so evolved, cheap and ubiquitous that they can be easily combined and recombined.” Because, today’s entrepreneurial boom is based on more solid foundations than the 1990s internet bubble, which makes it more likely to continue for the foreseeable future.

Yet, even the entrepreneurial boom allows some entrepreneurs to change the world, and to invent a job for himself or herself proudly, it may destroy more jobs than they create, at least in the shorter term, as Marc Andreessen says, “the software is eating the world”. Moreover, most of startups used the OKR method, which may create tremendous pressures for entrepreneurs.

Holding this double-bladed sword, entrepreneurs may wonder where to turn to, venture capitalists or Angels or AngelList. The Economist argues that even though the Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation’s 2012 report concluded that “venture capital has delivered poor returns for more than a decade”, still, VCs “are enjoying a much bigger deal flow” thanks to the entrepreneurial explosion.  As a matter of fact, the tough call remains in entrepreneurs’ hands, while looking at ShenZhen’s uprising as an entrepreneur-friendly hub in China. Should entrepreneurs just benefit themselves from B.G.I.‘s huge data cloud or rethink about the power they have, it will be a choice they make. And The Economist says this choice could be as big as the “makings of the economy and perhaps even the government of tomorrow”.


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