⏩ Future Normal: Fast Forward #6

Facebook's mind control; pension funds fear the gig economy; the alt-protein gold rush; fashion's sustainability gap and more...

Another week, another half dozen quick glimpses of The Future Normal for you. Can you take one of these signals to spark a discussion, or inspire new thinking?

The future is ours to build, together.


Facebook is making a bracelet that lets you control computers with your brain

🔮 #FutureNormal //  Facebook’s new product would enable you to navigate through augmented reality (for example selecting menu items) by simply thinking about which one you want.

💡#TrendTruth // Interfaces get ever more intuitive and invisible. From keyboards to taps to mere thoughts. The second-order implications (privacy)? Don’t be a killjoy!

The Business of Fashion’s Sustainability Gap report highlights the chasm between brands’ claims and realities.

🔮 #FutureNormal // Green Data is the new Big Data. There will be huge opportunities in capturing, verifying, understanding, and interrogating an organization’s environmental impact.

💡#TrendTruth // The triumph of transparency isn’t going away. Or perhaps it is terrifying, depending on where you sit? ;)

Institutional investors shun Deliveroo IPO

🔮 #FutureNormal // I’d love to say this was driven by ethical concerns over rider pay and treatment. In reality, pension funds are more concerned about the prospect that regulation of the gig economy’s ‘independent contractors’ will dampen profits. But they have a point: the era of move ‘fast and break things’ is (hopefully) over.

💡#TrendTruth // The arc of progress might bend towards justice, but it’s usually helped along by grubbier (i.e. economic) concerns.

$3.1 billion was invested in alt-protein in 2020

🔮 #FutureNormal // Demand for plant-based proteins soared during the pandemic, as people sought out clean and sustainable alternatives to Big Agriculture. The $3.1 billion was more than in the whole of the previous decade. #exponential 📈

💡#TrendTruth // While the trend might be clear, the winners aren’t. In a previous era, investors poured money into auto and airline startups, only for most of them to be wiped out.

Electric vehicle maker Arrival becomes UK’s largest ever corporate listing

🔮 #FutureNormal // Join the dots between this week’s stories and it’s hard not to be optimistic: money is flowing towards clean food and clean vehicles; and away from dirty fashion and precarious employment. Might we actually look back at the pandemic as a positive tipping point?

💡#TrendTruth // Elon has done a great job of dominating the mind (& meme) share around EVs. But it’s the less sexy B2B space where shifts can happen quickly, driven by commercial pressures. Case in point: UPS have ordered 10,000 EVs from Arrival.

Personal update: I’m delighted to announce I’ve joined Founders Forum as Director of Content Strategy.

Founders Forum is Europe’s most prestigious community of tech entrepreneurs and investors, and I can’t wait to share their stories, learnings and insights on how we’ll build the fairer, healthier and greener future that this newsletter (and upcoming book!) is all about.

If you want to be alerted to when we go live with game-changing entrepreneurs (past guests have included the founders of Delivery Hero, Memphis Meats and 23andMe, Ocado and more!) then join the brand new Founders Family on Clubhouse here!

Thanks for reading,