Inevitability is a daunting concept for an entrepreneur. Inevitable things are typically bad. Stress is inevitable when you start a company. You will inevitably lose sleep. Rejection is probably the most inevitable thing that you will encounter. Other inevitabilities are just as bad. I don't know anyone that looks forward to death or tax season.
But what if inevitability could work in your favor? Are there things that you can bank on happening that can benefit your business? Inevitability is at the core of the largest markets and the most successful businesses in the world. Inevitability is going to lead to some of the largest innovations in the 21st century. If a business is capturing any measurable part of one of these markets they have the potential to make a huge impact on the world.
Hunger is inevitable.
People have to eat. Everyone needs nutrition. It doesn't matter if you are rich or poor - you have to put some calories in your body every once in a while to survive. It's no wonder that agriculture, food production, and other nutrition based businesses are such a huge part of the economy.
Walmart is arguably one of the largest companies in the world thanks to this inevitability. Monsanto has become one of the most controversial companies in the world thanks to the way they interact with this inevitability. Weight Watchers became a billion dollar company based on people who over react to hunger.
Housing is inevitable.
We need structures to shelter ourselves from the elements. Right now the common solutions to housing in the United States are apartments and houses. There are a few hybrid options out there, but by and large we've settled on those two options. I wonder if there is a third option?
AirBnB is one of the current darlings of Silicon Valley. They were able to disrupt the temporary housing market by creating a market for rented spaces in homes and apartments. Where's the AirBnB for more permanent housing?
Transportation is inevitable.
Humans need to move around. Barring a far off future where the singularity occurs and everyone uploads their brains to the internet, people will always need to go from one place to another. Global transportation encompasses everything from airlines to car companies to public transit to cargo ships.
There have been relatively few radical advances in the transportation space in the past fifty years. Elon Musk's hyperloop was highly hyped among tech circles last summer, but so far nothing has come beyond the initial proposal.
Energy is inevitable.
Pick any inhabited place in the world and you'll find an energy economy. Everyone needs energy - from one dollar per day subsistence farmers to multi-billion dollar corporations. There's a reason that the most valuable company in the world is typically an energy company.
Despite this ubiquitous need we have only seen marginal advances in renewable energy sources since the 1970s. Nuclear fusion has remained fifty years off for decades. Fossil fuels are pretty obviously not a long term solution. What's the solution to the energy problem?
Communication is inevitable.
I'm writing this blog post for two reasons. First, I want to get my thoughts outside of my head and on to something more permanent. Second, I want to communicate with other people. Everyone wants to be heard. The most extremely introverted people I've ever met still want to have a connection with other people. Google rose to power by organizing the world's information so that it was easier to find the things you wanted on the web, which in turn made it easier to communicate with people who wanted to hear your message.
Lately it feels like the revolution in communication has been focused on impact over quality. Twitter, Facebook, Snapchat, and most of the other social networks out there force you to distill your thoughts down to their smallest most fleeting versions. I appreciate the brevity, but surely there is room for far deeper communication between people.
Governments are inevitable.
This one might be more controversial than the other items on this list, but I think it is worth considering. Large groups of people have been organizing for thousands of years. The government that matters most to you could be your city council, your state senate, or the federal government. That institution has some amount of power over your life. They will inevitably exercise it in a way that you don't agree with at some point. How can we use technology and business to impact governments for the benefit of everyone?
I don't have a go-to company to point to in this space, but it is worth noting that giant companies like Lockheed Martin and Booz Allen are often asked to complete projects for the government beyond defense and intelligence. Are those really the companies that we want creating our government infrastructure?
There are probably more things that could go on this list. Healthcare, education, and clothing come to mind almost instantly. But in the end, I'm trying to encourage myself (and perhaps you, imaginary reader) to think about a different level of probability. Isn't it time that we start to make inevitabilities work in our favor?