US 2016

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Below is an email I shared with my teams post Nov 8th, 2016 US Election Results.

Hey team,

I know today is a strange day, where many of us feel that we’ve woken up in a topsy turvy world, that doesn’t make any sense.

Whomever you supported in the American election we can all agree that it was a very important round this 2016. To some this is the greatest victory they could hope for, a revolution and a big disruption to the establishment and status quo. To others it’s an attack on liberalism itself, a huge step back towards sexism, racism, and bigotry. It may feel like our western, educated, and industrial society has lost all the progress that we’ve made towards equality between the sexes, respect for women, and breaking glass ceilings.

But both of these views are a little extreme aren’t they? History shows us that even massive revolutions rarely cause true change and what may seem as a big “F U” to the establishment, will most likely result in some rocking of the boat, a changing of the guard in some places, and a carry on for the rest. Inertia is a really powerful force.

The huge step back? Let’s take stock of the world outside US. Long term change happens through many incremental decisions that add up to true change. Social science has taught us that culture changes and develops at the outliers and periphery, and rarely does true cultural change come from the biggest, most incumbent players. Sound familiar?

Progress towards recognizing women and breaking glass ceilings in the western world? Plenty of those! Theresa May, Angela Merkel, Dalia Grybauskaitethese (Lithuania), these women are examples in the western world, not to mention Latin American & Asia. They are not even that outlier and periphery anymore, Germany is one of the strongest western economies in the world. True change is happening and will happen, it’s just that it’s always a little slower then we’d like, and the largest incumbent hasn’t yet been disrupted 🙂

Rather than swinging back and forth between divisive extremes, we can chose to take stock of this election result and unpack the social implications it has.

– Obama’s rein was largely handicapped by the divisive gridlock in senate and congress. Republicans agreed on many of the things that Obama was trying to implement but they could not appear to support him. Yesterday all the levels of government were won by the GOP.

– Even if Hillary would have won, she would get the same gridlock as Obama did. The disenfranchisement of the population that voted for Trump, would have continued, and we could have a much worse uprising in the next 4 years.

It’s important to take stock for the current educated liberals. The current feelings of shock, disbelief, anger and frustration – these feelings reveal a prejudice towards those who chose Trump. And it’s precisely because of this prejudice that they chose Trump in the first place.

Alienating and ignoring a whole section of the population is divisive, and by not working to include this section of population in the new economy, it leads to folks voting based on fear and protectionism. It’s easy for us city folk who work in technology to pass judgement on those living in rural areas, and not taking charge of their own lives.

Here’s the good news:

– We do work in the new economy, and we’ve learned to ramp up people’s tech, entrepreneurship, and ecommerce skills.
– We literally work for empowering people to be self sufficient and give them the ability to take agency of their own financial security.
– Last financial crisis Shopify did very well in customer acquisition as folks looked to take charge of their lives.
– Shopify is ready to include people of all walks of life and help them sell and make money 🙂

Wherever you sit on the American Elections results, it is our collective responsibility to build a 21st century that is inclusive of not just those who are like minded, but also those with opposite views, because their voices have just as much weight as do ours.

Keep Calm and Shopify On 🙂

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