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2018: beyond business results

Are we aware of the impact our work has on our community, on our society? Do we assume any responsibility or just focused on our business goals?

2018 was the year when tech companies got seriously questioned 

Facebook. Google. Tesla. Microsoft. Most tech leaders have been caught this year in some kind of scandal.  They had to explain themselves. Apologise. Pay fines. But do they learn something from it? Have they changed? Have we?

Product development used to be simpler. Give people what they want, more, easier and cheaper and you'd be successful. That's why Nir Eyal's "Hooked" book became an absolute bestseller and pretty much the mantra in the tech world. Everyone wanted to create the new Facebook, YouTube or Instagram. However, in 2018 Nir was mainly writing about our responsibility for the impact our products have on individuals and societies. Are our products improving people's lives or not?

Revenue (shareholders' value) cannot be the only measure of success anymore.
- Do we think about vulnerable or people at the margins when designing our products? - Ryan Freitas asked the largest community of product people in the world. 
How do we respond to political and cultural challenges?

We went past hacking IT systems to hacking people. In 2018 we have an unseen before amounts of data on people's behaviour. We also massively advanced our computational power and capacity to make sense of that data. In absence of free will, Yuval Noah Harari reminds, we need to be especially aware of the data others have on us and how they use it.

Despite numerous challenges we also had glimpses of positivity. Our tech saves lives. Empower impaired. Gives us options to design ourselves. Even entertainment could contribute massively to those who need help. 

Looking forward

Would it all be relevant in the coming years? Would we be relevant? Some are starting to ask those questions. Whatever the answers will be we'll not find them in the past. Our reptilian brains are terrified by the ever-increasing pace of changes in the world. Our "Savannah-grown" psychology cannot keep up and demands us to revert back to simpler times. Smaller communities, local problems, fast calories. Would we let ourselves be dragged into the past? Or would we embrace the difficult, global challenges of tomorrow?

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