Tech-enabled vs tech only businesses

Could the WeWork IPO wakeup call be a historical moment? Quite possibly. 

Who knows what phase we are in, call it n+1, but the days of start ups where ‘tech is’ the business are fewer and far between. Today they’re more about ‘tech enables’ the business.

‘Tech is’ examples include Google, Facebook, Slack, Pinterest and Instagram. Uber, Lyft, and (clearly) WeWork are ‘tech enables’ businesses. They can’t work without the humans they’re enabling. However much the charismatic talk on “We” esoterics, we’re still physical and the centre of the attention. You cannot convert living in bricks and mortar and life/work balance in to some kind of digital code. We physically live it.

I know I’m stating the blindingly obvious, but we’ve been deaf to blindness many times before. It’s a reality check, and welcome. Reality checks so often shift up the gears. They cut the guff and waste.

There are so many areas still up for disruption, and most of them ‘tech enables’. For me, these are going to be really exciting. We will be automating processes and ways of life that we hadn’t thought possible. And we’ll question how we ever overlooked them; they were plain to see. 

Bring it on.