I’m delighted to announce that our second Future Generations Report is now live.
I hope it brings to life the Octopus mission – to invest in the people, the ideas and the industries that will change the world – and offers you a glimpse into the future we’d like to be part of.
One of the most exciting developments of the last few years is that the role of business is changing. While business has undoubtedly been incredibly good for the human race, our economic progress has come at a huge cost. Established companies have behaved in a way most people would not, placing their own interests ahead of the broader stakeholders they serve. Customers, employees, communities, and the environment have all paid the price.
In my view, these ‘dinosaur’ businesses are going to struggle. They’re too selfish and too self-interested to see the new reality that’s unfolding (a reality where the customer rightly holds all the cards).
I was explaining this to Harry MacAuslan, one of our shareholders. His response was genuinely brilliant.
“Dinosaurs?” he said. “They’re more like the bird on Island Paradise.” At this point I was lost, and my expression must have shown it. “For millions of years a bird lived on Island Paradise, free of fear and with more food than it could eat. It was so fat from gorging itself on all the food that its wings shrunk to useless flaps. One day a stranger appeared. “Hello stranger,” said the fearless bird. “Hello lunch,” replied the stranger. About a hundred years and many lunches later the bird was as dead as, well, a dodo.”
Harry is spot on. While there may not be a mass extinction, the companies that got us into this mess will really struggle. The world is now so connected and so transparent that their behaviour (both what they do and how they do it) will be laid bare for everyone to see.
In my view, the best returns over the next few decades will come from businesses which not only solve the world’s biggest problems, but which also behave in a way that is reassuringly human.
We’re at the beginning of a new dawn for business – one that’s driven by action and behaviour.
I hope you’re as excited to see what we can achieve in the next year as I am.