Next week, my eldest child starts at uni. And it makes me wonder what kind of parent I’ve been. Not just whether I’ve had a positive influence on his character, or created enough laughter on the way. But also whether I’ve helped create a better or worse world for him to grow up in to.
I’ve just seen a few of his generation in action in an internship. It inspires and heartens me. But it’s not enough for my generation to patronisingly say we’re confident they can put it right. That’s a gross dereliction of responsibility.
We need to be constantly asking whether we’re clearing a path for their journey, or filling it with potholes and detritus which they’ll need to clear before they can even get going.
And it’s a real business question. Are we building companies that value consumers over citizens? Chasing the quarter rather than the generation? Building investment platforms for trading rather than investing? Writing software that conditions us for dopamine rather than thought? Building a company to sell or to create?
So why a picture of my kids on a business website? Because they’ll inherit the world our businesses are building. And if we don’t keep them in mind and switch out of our short-term profits-only thinking, we can’t with clear conscience say we’ve been good parents.
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