Reading opinion editorials — especially on controversial issues — often elicits two responses: they either feed your confirmation bias or they cause umbrage (and in some instances, even inspire counter op-eds). In publications like the Washington Post or the New York Times, politicians often pen op-eds to defend certain policies or attack the opposing party’s ideology.
For entrepreneurs and tech luminaries, too, it is common for them to take to such platforms — leveraging their diverse audience, wide readership, and reputation — to address key issues impacting their industry, or even attack their critics.
For example, early this year, Facebook’s Co-founder, Chris Hughes, wrote an impassioned article in the New York Times calling for the breakup of the company he helped to build. Undeterred, Nick Clegg, the former Deputy Prime Minister of the UK who became Facebook’s Head of Global Affairs, countered with an op-ed in the same publication, rebutting Hughes’s arguments.
But while many op-eds have become a tool to fight for the hearts and minds of the public, there are also many others that seek to open your mind to new ideas or impart words of wisdom or inspiration.
In this article, I have decided to trawl through our archives to dig out 10 interesting op-eds about the tech industry and the nature of entrepreneurship that will hopefully serve as some hearty food for thought as you navigate the ecosystem. Who knows, you may want to pen an op-ed of your own after reading through.
Should Singapore celebrate the success of Trax?
Christopher Quek, the Managing Partner at early-stage Singapore-based VC TRIVE Ventures, describes himself as a “pro-Singapore evangelist”. Yet, when Singapore tech firm Trax made news when it became the country’s newly-minted unicorn, he wasn’t exactly jumping for joy.
His chief concern is that the founders, who are Israelis, did not seem to be interested in investing their spoils in Singapore’s talent. Read his article to find more about his grievances.
Singapore’s seed stage is not dead
There are some reports that suggest seed-stage funding is on the decline — and obviously, this is worrying because if early-stage founders can’t get capital they can’t grow their companies.
Eric Dadoun, a Co-founder of Singapore-based investment firm Impiro, argues in this op-ed that while trends may seem to indicate a downturn, stakeholders need to be level-headed and study the historical context of the situation. If they did, they would understand it’s a symptom of the ecosystem maturing and that it’s not all doom and gloom.
How to make yourself work when you don’t have any motivation
No matter how much you love your work, there are going to be times when you are simply not motivated to even log onto to your work email to check your messages.
Also, ‘feeling motivated’ is overrated. “You don’t have to feel like getting something done in order to actually get it done.“
The role of AI in impacting the future of work
Ben Goertzel is the eccentric founder and CEO of blockchain-based AI company SingularityNET. He is also known for creating the most humanoid robot to date — Sophia.
In his op-ed, Goertzel talks about how AI will help “plug skill gaps created by the digital transformation of traditional industries.” So the big question is: Will AI take away our jobs?
Well, not “all at once” — ” it will not instantaneously eliminate jobs or job functions.” Instead, it will just be about automating routine work, at the beginning.
What do you think? Is this good news?
The myths about corporate venture capital
There is a rise in corporate venture capital (CVCs) activity globally as corporations invest in startups to bolster their own capabilities or find new lucrative opportunities in the market.
But their investments have also come under scrutiny. According to Gani Lie, investment manager at MDI Ventures, startups and investors have the misconception that CVC firms are slow, bureaucratic and apply a top-down approach to their investees.
In his op-ed, Lie seeks to dispel this and three other common myths that concern CVCs.
Singapore’s fake news law isn’t a good thing
Singapore’s anti-fake news law — the Protection from Online Falsehoods and Manipulation Bill — has sparked heated discussions on the seemingly draconian nature of the law.
In this op-ed, our former editor, Kevin McSpadden, argues that the law will lead to news publications self-censoring themselves so that they will go afoul of the authorities.
But the “the scary part is that law is not government policy. It will be around a lot longer than the Ministers who pass it and while this crop of lawmakers may have benevolent intentions, it is written in such a manner that it can be easily abused by a rogue Minister or a new regime with less altruistic intentions.”
Why you shouldn’t share your goals
This advice may seem contradictory to what we read in books or how we operate in our working environment. For example, in many companies, employees are often taught to set out OKRs (Objectives and Key Results) every quarter and share them openly with their colleagues and managers.
In his op-ed, Aytekin Tank posits that maybe that isn’t so swell of an idea (or if you are going to share your goals, just share it internally within your company).
He cities Peter Gollwitzer’s research article, When Intentions Go Public, which found that “that when individuals set a goal that is closely tied to their identity and then share their intentions with others, they are less likely to achieve the goal.”
Do you agree?
The weekend hustle of a GrabCar driver
The gig/sharing economy has opened up new streams of income for individuals across all strata of society. In this light-hearted op-ed, our former editor, Iris Leung, talks about her encounter with a young Grab driver got her thinking deeper about the merits of these new vocations, all powered by tech (and mobile).
“The sharing economy, as we all become more comfortable with the concept, has greatly increased our degree of autonomy.”
Bonus: For another perspective, Kevin McSpadden wrote a scathing op-ed of how Grab’s system was forcing the drivers to push themselves to work punishing hours in order to bring in a decent income.
“It’s a financially untenable position. They are working over 60 hours a week to barely scrape by.”
What do you think?
Why the world needs deep generalists, not specialists
Get used to hearing the term ‘polymath’, which refers to people who possess a wide breadth of knowledge, more often, because they are innovators of the future.
In this op-ed, Aytekin Tank argues that multi-faceted individuals who are fairly competent in a wide range of disciplines will be more useful in the future economy. This is because “most jobs will, eventually, be made obsolete by artificial intelligence.”
“What roles will be left? Those that require creative problem solving, innovation and humanity,” he says.
Now would be a good time to start browsing Udemy.
A call to end gatekeeping in Asia’s crypto community
It is easy to draw parallels between the cryptocurrency community and a fan club or any special interest group.. For one, they all crave acceptance by ‘mainstream’ folks, yet at the same time, they are also cautious of outsiders.
According to financial consultant Ardie Espiritu, the crypto community thumb their nose at newbies or laypeople who just want to know more about the crypto space. In his op-ed, Espiritu calls for Asia’s crypto community to be more understanding of greenhorns looking to enter the bewildering world of blockchain and crypto.
If crypto enthusiasts want Bitcoin or some other crypto equivalent to be this universal currency that will upend the financial markets, well, then it does pay to be a little kinder to those looking to dip their toes in this space.
We want YOUR voice
I hope you have enjoyed these op-eds by our content writers and external contributors. We hope that you, too, will be encouraged to use our platform to express your thoughts on trends and insights that impact our industry.
At e27, we strive for a diversity of thought leadership and opinions. They are no ‘wrong’ thoughts — we welcome them all, even if it is incendiary or controversial (of course, within reasonable boundaries).
Look forward to hearing from you!
Image Credit: Sergey Nivens