• Dimitri Gonatas


The short answer is that there is no time like the present. If you have a burning desire to make your mark; hold enough financial runway for the next 18 months to cover your expenses (or live with your parents) and have given the business sufficient thought and testing, then why not?

The longer answer lies in the deep macro-economic waters through which we are currently navigating.

Momento Mori

Covid is just the right amount of deadly. Not too much, and not too little. It is highly infectious, has low mortality rate and characterised by a long latency period, exacerbated by asymptomatic cases. These attributes have allowed for it to become one of the most widely infectious viruses in human history.

Covid has brought us face to face with our own mortality. It has been a gruesome and ever-present reminder that we have a finite amount of time here. This is not a matter often discussed amongst twenty-or-thirty-somethings, but subconsciously we cannot escape this awareness of the limited amount of time available to us. The reality is that most 25 year olds will not die young, from covid or otherwise. They will live long lives, longer than any preceding generation. Nevertheless, Covid has made us re-think this, it has exposed our fragile mortality.

It has also brought with it intense economic fallout, and the job market is not what it used to be. Finding work is becoming more and more challenging, so the idea of building one’s own business is something to consider.

This makes me contemplate the notion of personal legacy. We all want to leave the world better than what we found it. What that betterment looks like, is different from everyone’s perspective. I like software development, actuarial science and engineering. But you might enjoy kimchi or bicycles, and that might be your mark to leave. If you believe that starting a business will help you achieve that goal, you better get moving. Most real businesses take time to become impactful. A lot of time.

Ceteris paribus

… there has never been a time in human history where it is easier to start a business, all else being equal. You can do it without leaving your bedroom. Launching your first store, if you want to go onto retail for example, can be done for as little as $29 on Shopify, a stark contrast to having to sign a lease for a corner shop on a busy street 40 years ago. Social media tools offer effective channels for cheap-to-free access to a global market. Banking is done on your smartphone. Meetings are done via the web, meaning that virtually instantly, you can video call with anyone in the 7.6 billion members of Earth’s contact list. Access to information and meaningful educational platforms like Udemy, Coursera and Datacamp are as cheap as a night out.

These are all obvious features of modern life but when considered in conjunction, their cumulative effect on your business is dramatic, all else equal.

Status quo

Changing the status quo has never been as palatable and easily aligned to increasingly changing public values, as it is in 2021. The effects of Covid have resulted in an onslaught of shifts in the fabric of our society. People are accepting change faster, if a better solution is offered. We now know that it is lack of funding, not technological or academic restraints that hinder medical advancement. This shift in capital resources has accelerated the vaccine development and sure enough, 6/10 people will accept the vaccine. Imagine all the money in the world was suddenly diverted to curing cancer?

In 2020, corporates (sometimes begrudgingly) needed to let their employees work from home. The champion companies of this pandemic have found ways to do this rapidly and some have even seen gains in productivity. Make no mistake, WFH his here to stay for many of us.

Perhaps we are witnessing the demise of win-at-all-costs capitalism. This has been the cornerstone of many of our leviathan entities, that have sought profit above ethics; consideration for climate change and the long-term preservation of humanity. Maybe there is a new business day?

Today, customers and employees alike choose who they do business with, through their spending habits and choice of work environment. What I am sure of, is that equity of values is being considered as much as equity of profit.


Risk is how we change ourselves and affect those around us. 2020 was a watershed year of change. So why not let 2021 be the year you take a chance on yourself?


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