This is an extract from the Do Lecture I gave in 2015. These words in particular are probably more relevant and needed today than when I originally gave this talk.
“We need a change in attitudes, we need to think about things in a different way, and I think what we need is a cultural revolution.
I really believe that we’re suffering from a compassion and integrity deficit. I really really feel this, and I think this matters a lot more to us than we dare to admit.
I think here were amongst friends, and it’s really cool to have these these conversations that you maybe wouldn’t otherwise have, and as I’m kind of thinking about talking to you today, I’m kind of thinking well what’s our moonshot what is what is it that we want to do? what is our moonshot?
You see Elon Musk is wanting to take people to Mars, and you know he’s coming with the this solar revolution, and the electric revolution. He’s a true, true visionary this guy, but there aren’t enough people like him.
I was in a building a few days ago where there’s like three thousand people in London in startups, and they’re all just building apps and most of them if they just didn’t go in the next day it wouldn’t make any difference. There’s no purpose. They’ve got tons of passion, like huge amounts of passion. I meet people with so much passion it’s unbelievable. But they don’t have the purpose of that’s what we’re doing and that’s why.
So I I wrote something a few years ago, in 2008, it was actually after my dad died and it’s it’s set in 2040, called ‘Discovering the Obvious’, and the first scene is actually quite similar to where we are now, and I wrote this, and it’s never been edited. I once had this up on a wiki, and then the wiki site closed down, but I kept a copy of this as a PDF. The opening scene is just like being here, it is literally on a farm called Broadview in 2040 and these four characters who have taken on this journey in this this kind of book that I’ve written are sat having a breakfast, and this huge airship flies overhead, completely silent, and it’s taking people from New York to Seattle and it takes a day and a half because we don’t have to rush anymore. This whole world of the internet of everything it changes the way we think about why we need to get somewhere fast, we don’t because we’re everywhere all the time, so travel is like being on an ocean liner but you’re flying. And I vividly remember writing this and I don’t know where it all came from, but I wrote pages and pages and pages and pages of this and you know I believe that images like this are possible. Images like this are going to happen, this is our future, we can make this a reality, and it’s not going to be politicians that make this reality it’s going to be people that just say we’ve had enough and we were going to do something.
So I think the greatest opportunity before us is to come together in what I call safe spaces, we need safe spaces to discuss these things and to create momentum, and I don’t think these safe spaces are social networks and laces online. I think the safe spaces are cow sheds, and safe spaces are hikes with people where you can talk and start to get the conversation going. I think we’ve become overly dependent on you know posting stuff on Twitter and setting up a group on Facebook, and it’s not going to work that way.
So you know, I believe it’s about finding you true believers, sharing everything with them, asking who’s going to step up and stand for a cause, bringing people into a fold, bringing people in to do, and empowering people to lead. It’s like this open source, it’s like deploying a virus and empowering people to go run with it around a big moonshot.
You know, Martin Luther King never said I need a strategy or I need a business plan, or I need to do a business model canvas, he never, he just said “I’ve got a dream” and that was it, that was enough. And Gandhi he never said I can’t do this because i don’t have an app, he didn’t, I need to send out five million text messages otherwise I can’t do it, he didn’t.”