Hi, I’m Ben.

What drives the Digital Elite?

On Sep 5th, Yahoo “unveiled” their new logo to the public and rest is internet history. For almost a week now, my Twitter stream has been flooded with new tweets, blog posts, opinions, etc. about this new logo. Even famous and renowned individuals joined in on the discussion. How can one of the world’s largest internet companies design such a crappy logo, followed by the release of a (not so professional) blog post of their CEO who expresses herself as weekend “designer”?

What really puzzles me though is the fact that this industry, like no other, claims to “change the world.” Yet, it obviously seems to have no other topic to discuss, other than the rebranding of Yahoo!. In the end, it’s the company that has to deal with a bad branding and its consequences for the business. So, why are we wasting our time, energy and bandwidth? I understand a brief discussion, but the fact that it is still in the news a week later is absurd.

The underlying question in this whole scenario, though, is what really drives our industry, the so called “digital elite”? Do we really want to “change the world” or is it a buzz sentence that sounds good when we pitch our job description and talk about what we want out of our time in the industry? Changing the world is hard work. It’s easier to create pretty apps or designs and much more comfortable to collect likes, comments and fav’s all around the world. It’s flattering to get all the fame and attention for a short moment in time.

To put things into perspective—We are the generation that is making the world digital. Believe it or not, we are on the verge of one of the biggest paradigm shifts in history. That gives us a great chance and even greater responsibility. So, why aren’t we discussing big technology problems such as the surveillance scandals around the world (big internet companies are involved in this, too) or humanitarian problems such as the crisis in Syria? Why aren’t we finally rethinking education programs and finding a way to make them accessible for every child?

Why is it easier to get millions of funding for a photo sharing service than for a new education platform or groundbreaking laboratory equipment? When we really sit back and analyze the scene, the problem is built into the system of our industry. We’ve taken the success of creating ground breaking, innovative technology and crippled it by glorifying the non-essential. The industry is so caught up in this need of fame, hype and publicity so many people within it thrive off of and forgotten we have the capacity to create profound products for individuals who need it outside this bubble.

When we are able to realize what design really is and means as well as the direction the digital world is headed, we'll finally see the two combined have more potential than just Dribbble likes and Medium recommendations—maybe then this industry will make a difference and change this world for the better.

Entrepreneurship, technology and design are hard work. Getting the next big thing started and making it a reality requires dedication, perseverance, and the strive to create something meaningful. Let’s get down to earth and back to work. We are not superstars nor are we heroes. We are craftsmen, doers and makers. Let’s put the “venture” back in capital, take risks and create meaningful products that solve real problems. Let’s make the world a better place.