With the 5 biggest companies in the S&P 500 (Facebook, Apple, Amazon, Microsoft, and Google) the same size as the smallest 283 companies, we also have to look beyond our investments and at our jobs. What sense can we make of this concentration? Is software finally eating the world? Are the robots finally coming for all of us?
Daniel Pink, in his 2012 bestseller To Sell Is Human, says the real tech revolution is how automating the factories has turned everyone into a new-age salesperson. Not in the door-to-door Fuller Brush Man sense, but in the way that it’s never been easier to connect with people across multiple mediums and create some form of value.
Jobs used to be about solving problems. Companies and industries rose up to solve them at scale, consolidating the profits along the way.
In between the big and obvious problems are the tricky little one-off’s, custom requests, and specialty needs. Jobs today are about finding these problems and hand delivering a solution. These are the problems that often can’t be solved at scale. These are our new opportunities.
As more and more jobs slip into the “we can automate this” realm, our only hope is to keep finding what can’t be automated yet and making sure others know we can do it for them.
So while it’s true that there are a handful of companies seemingly taking over the world, we’ve never had a greater toolkit at our exposure to find and solve the special problems people need and want help with.