Back in April 2012, I urged some people to Step aside, old man. Let imagination lead the way.  Although I have been called me a curmudgeon, I noted “as I look to the long term, I’m optimistic.”

That thought process was revisited this evening.

Why? Tonight, I spoke at the NYU Stern Launch. Speaking to the incoming class of 400 MBA students is instructive. The students are full of energy, a refreshing perspective. Smart inquiries afterwards, interesting ideas.

Whenever I spend any significant time with students, young entrepreneurs, finance & business students, I come away full of confidence about the long-term future. Not the next quarter or even year, but the next decade.

There are lots of challenges to be met. We have deficits, deficiencies, recessions, depressions, inflation, deflation, spiraling health care costs, credit crises, student loan issues, global warming, honey bee colony collapse, regulation, deregulation, and the list of negatives goes on and on.

You can focus on these problems, which history suggests are always present, typically transient, and usually overblown. Or, you can look forward.

The future is all possibility.



Category: Psychology, Venture Capital

Please use the comments to demonstrate your own ignorance, unfamiliarity with empirical data and lack of respect for scientific knowledge. Be sure to create straw men and argue against things I have neither said nor implied. If you could repeat previously discredited memes or steer the conversation into irrelevant, off topic discussions, it would be appreciated. Lastly, kindly forgo all civility in your discourse . . . you are, after all, anonymous.

19 Responses to “The Future is All Possibility.”

  1. Bob is still unemployed   says:

    If you want to build a ship, don’t herd people together to collect wood and don’t assign them tasks and work, but rather teach them to long for the endless immensity of the sea. –Antoine de Saint-Exupery

    Build the future you want to live in.

  2. Chad says:

    Their energy and life were my favorite part of coaching college football. Makes you younger just being around them.

  3. Ny Stock Guy says:

    Totally agree with you. A fun thing to do is look at some old newspapers. The world has always been full of problems, but does civilization collapse, does the world come to an end?

    Not very often.

    Not saying things will be perfect, they never are, but there’s usually less to worry about than it seems.

    Of course if all the bees die, we are screwed.

  4. Petey Wheatstraw says:

    Hmmmm . . . never thought of you as a curmudgeon, BR. I could see you, eventually, becoming a codger or a coot (maybe even a geezer), but a curmudgeon? Nah.

    History, itself, is transient. Some times are worse than others — ebb and flow, and all that. Nobody expects the dark ages (or the Spanish Inquisition).

    I have a feeling our salvation won’t come on the heels of advances in business and finance (but I could be wrong).

  5. carleric says:

    But the glass remains half empty….lol

    • mysterious eggs says:

      So top it up or pour out what remains if you don’t like the contents then fill it with something you do like.

  6. makeyourownmoney says:

    I’m hoping these bright young minds find extremely profitable ways to be good to the earth and good to each other. Altruism is find and good, but in my wildest dreams it turns out to be extremely profitable to gobble carbon out of the atmosphere, or to breed endangered species. Or providing clean energy ends up more profitable than dirty energy. Or dismantling war machines or mining landfills is big money. Stuff like that. I’m waiting for that. I think real honest profit found in those places would be amazing.

  7. TDHawk says:

    “All pain is either severe or slight, if slight, it is easily endured; if severe, it will without doubt be brief.”
    -Marcus Tullius Cicero

  8. nofoulsontheplayground says:

    Speaking of global warming, I checked to see how high the glaciers that covered New York thousands of years ago were. I guess they reached 1,000 feet high in NYC and 5,000 feet in the Adirondacks. They got as thick as 10,000 feet in Labrador. Fascinating stuff about the geology of NYC:

    Remnants of an Ice Age

    The Wisconsin Ice Sheet, the last of many glacial advances that grew after the start of the Pleistocene Era about 1.5 million years ago and which stretched down from eastern Canada (Labrador), advanced as far south as New York City. The Wisconsin Ice Sheet left its marks on the city, depositing rock and debris and accounting for the hilly areas that run straight through the middle of the five boroughs. Geologists believe that the Wisconsin Ice Sheet began its southward journey from Labrador about 90,000 years ago and reached its maximum about 70,000 years ago, forming the Ronkonkoma Moraine on Long Island. During a period of warmth and retreat, it advanced again starting about 45,000 years ago, reaching New York City about 20,500 ago, forming the Harbor Hill Moraine and beginning its retreat about 18,000 years ago.

    In New York City, the Wisconsin Ice Sheet was 1,000 feet thick (in the Adirondacks it was over 5,000 feet thick and perhaps as much as 10,000 feet thick in Labrador). The Wisconsin Ice Sheet had an impact not only on New York City but also farther north, deepening the bed of the Hudson River Valley (the Hudson River is the southernmost glacial fjord in the Northern Hemisphere), carving out the Great Lakes and the Finger Lakes basins, and leaving its mark on the Adirondack mountains. The glacier also deepened valleys beneath Webster Avenue in the Bronx, and the Harlem and East Rivers. It smoothed the bedrock and left glacial grooves and striations as the advancing glacier dragged rocks over the surface.

  9. jtuck004 says:

    “The students are full of energy, a refreshing perspective. Smart inquiries afterwards, interesting ideas.”


    I would like to get them in a room and hear them 10 years from now when their student loans are in payback and they are trying to figure out how to pay the hospital bills from having their kids, dealing with the landlord in the rental they are in since they haven’t been able to buy a house, and voting to cut social security because the rent is just too damn high. It’s so easy to sound energetic while one is in a school that most everyone else has paid to keep there.

    But perhaps it will be better than that. ;)

  10. Frwip says:

    In the long term, there’s a good case for optimism.

    The world is becoming a better place. Less war, less diseases, less hunger, less ignorance, more education, more connectivity, more technology, more contraception (this one is important), etc. Not all is nor will be smooth but, yeah, the world is becoming a better place.

    The only really scary thing in the long term is probably global warming. It’s just huge in its scale, and in its consequences.

  11. monkman says:

    No rule of law anymore is overblown? Really?

    Free speech, not really… the UK points the way, essentially at our behest, by bashing hard drives.

    Your selectively correct, but the bigger picture points to another form of the dark ages at the rate things are moving and mores the pity.

  12. BennyProfane says:

    Funny, I was sort of thinking the same thing last night after reading this:

    America will do well, I’m pretty sure, at least during the next decade or two, as long as we enable free thinking and entrepreneurs to do their thing. Europe is mired in bureaucratic and philosophical mess, India is far from the emerging powerhouse some thought it would be, and Russia is just a large criminal organization. My guess is that our embassies around the world are still besieged by citizens of the world trying to get in to our country, not out. This is why this immigration issue is so important. Give us your smart, ambitious people seeking freedom. Please.

  13. SumDumGuy says:

    I think current generations will be fine. But I dunno, I feel that in 100-200 years, there’s going to be a serious problem due to this:

  14. romerjt says:

    Think like Ben Franklin . . .

    So after the humiliating defeat in Battle for Long Island that reveals the ineptitude of the Continental Army Franklin is one of the 3 who meet with Gen Howe in NY harbor where he offers Howe his condolences to Howe about having been assigned such an hopeless task of recapturing the colonies. Franklin, unlike most others realized even if the entire army was captured, another would be raised and that the more territory the Redcoats conquered the weaker they became . . an American victory was inevitable.

    As long as Islam’s struggle with the 21st century realities doesn’t blow up the place things look pretty good to me.

  15. AtlasRocked says:

    Math is not optimistic or pessimistic. If you choose optimistic assumptions, you’ll get optimistic predictions.

    When you say you’re an optimist, it means you’re choosing optimistic assumptions, like “the liberals will soon realize they have not created any real growth, and they’ll choose to stop borrowing and start paying down the national debt.” That’s optimistic.

    Realistic is: The liberals do not realize the national debt is really bad yet. They will keep creating cover up schemes, and the Republicans, who don’t want to own the failure that manifests when the reality sets in, won’t take the lead either. They’ll just say it needs the debt accrual stop but wont take action.”

  16. [...] an awful lot of gloominess out there these days. That’s why I’m linking to this brief post by Barry Ritholtz. He gives a quick summary of the case for optimism, the key point being that most of the problems [...]