8 min read
This article has been translated from our English edition.
How will our world be in 10 years? It’s impossible to know for sure, but Mauro Guillén has at least some of the answers. He is an expert on global market trends, a professor at the Wharton School, and the best-selling author of the recently published book 2030: How today’s biggest trends collide and reshape the future of everything. In short, his prediction: The business world of 2030 will look very different than it is today, but that may be a good thing for entrepreneurs. It just takes some practice in observation, a reassessment of who the customer is, and a change in the way we find connections.
Mauro Guillén. Image USA
Corporations have long focused on serving the millennial audience. You have argued that this is a mistake. Why?
Businesses have been speaking more generally about generational dynamics over the past few decades, reaching out to younger generations. Thought, of course, has to do with the value of life. This was based on the assumption that the younger age groups were the largest consumer segment. By 2030, the largest consumer segment in terms of both staff and purchasing power will be the population over 60. And 60-year-olds in the US may have another 25 years to go. This will create new incentives for businesses and entrepreneurs.
That sounds like an opportunity that some people may find difficult to seize, especially if that turning point is in 2030.
Of course, people are very much aware of these possibilities when it comes to health care and anything that improves the quality of life as they age. However, when it comes to consumer goods, this requires a change of mind. Consider clothing: there is a lot of business activity in this category, but most brands don’t look at a consumer over a certain age. They don’t even want to touch this demographic because they believe it will hurt their brand image. But that mentality will change.
What does the increase in this segment of the population mean for our workforce?
s would do well to abandon this 19th century idea that we learn the first few years, then work, and then retire. People return to learning mode multiple times in their lives so that someone who is retiring can start a whole new career. There is a great opportunity to serve these people in terms of products, education, and flexible work. We need to help reinvent the last 25 years of life.
There is another demographic that is very noticeable in your book, namely women.
If I had to pick one thing that will sideways to everything else for the next 10 years, it’s women.
Currently, women earn more than men in 41% of US male and female households. By 2030 it will be more than half. And according to my own calculations, by then more than half of the world’s net worth will be in the hands of women. This will transform consumer, investment and financial markets as women spend their money differently, invest differently and are generally more risk averse.
When should we expect companies in general to spend more time addressing women’s wants and needs?
I do a lot of seminars with bankers and money managers and they have problems. Because women are already knocking on their doors and saying, “I have money; Can you help me reverse it? “And these banks and investment firms don’t have the products to help them. They haven’t trained their staff to deal with the nuances of women’s needs. They don’t have enough women advisors. And that’s just one example: it will.” Have an impact. ” Even in the real estate industry, many developers are currently thinking about how to design homes to better suit women and working women.
What does this mean for women entrepreneurs?
s tend to start a business in an area they are experienced in, right? Perhaps 20 years ago women started a business in education or healthcare. But now we’re seeing more women starting businesses in financial services, manufacturing, or biotechnology. And these women will shape those fields that were previously monopolized by men.
Is it too optimistic to expect these changes to fill the funding gap?
I hope some of these barriers will go away, but we are far from anything that comes close to parity. And the problem isn’t getting started, but lack of funding is preventing them from growing their business. It is incredible that these prejudices exist when it comes to funding women and minorities.
How can entrepreneurs see new opportunities in an economy and culture that is undergoing this change?
This is the idea of thinking outside the box. People will notice the change, but it’s important to connect the internal dots to find real opportunities. Let’s use Airbnb as an an example. Most people who own certain types of assets, including housing, are over 50 years old. But most of the people who want to share these assets and don’t want to stay in hotels when they travel because they’d rather experience the city they are in: They are under 35 years old. Airbnb has connected these dots and is successful because it serves two generations with very different priorities.
And it offers very different solutions for everyone.
For the 50 and over age group, Airbnb is now in a position to compete not with hotels but with banks. Empty nests that might be concerned about getting enough retirement assets can turn to a bank to monetize their home without selling it. Airbnb gives you another way to monetize it with more flexibility. That is lateral thinking: connecting the dots.
How can entrepreneurs learn to think this way?
Well that is the most important question. I always tell my students who want to become founders that they need to study the area they want to be entrepreneurs in, but they also need to make an effort to learn about areas that may be related to that area. As? Read. Read a lot. Read different sources. I spend 15 minutes every night reading an article or two on a subject I don’t know about. And expand your own network, connect with new people, leave your comfort zone. Even if you’re investigating a subject that seems alien to what you’re trying to do, it will only benefit you. You will start to see the connections.