My favourite startups begin by looking like “mere” technical innovation, but ultimately have far reaching social and institutional consequences. The spreadsheet is a potent example, as this tweet
, which highlights a passage from William Cohan’s The Last Tycoons
, shows. The de-mystification (“democratisation” seems a little strong to me) of numbers and calculations permanently changed how the corporate world worked.
I was interested to stumble across the same theme in Pascal Bouvier’s essay
on Bitcoin and central banking - the idea that central banking is one of the last “sacred” or mysterious activities in the modern economy, but one that will be gradually be demystified (or “made profane” in Bouvier’s framework) by cryptocurrencies.