Finding New Founders for a Better World

Mickey Paxton is a freelance ECD and longtime advertising agency executive

We are now at a point where technology is outpacing humanity.

Efficiency, convenience, and speed come at the expense of the truth, empathy, and interactions critical to human beings. We’ve become more impressed with economics than human progress. The corporate C-Suite power-hungry autocrats are as soulless as the algorithms that rule our lives. The dystopia we’ve created is destroying the very nature of being a compassionate human being. But there’s still good news.

I recently sat down with James Vincent to discuss this topic, and how his partnership FNDR (that’s ‘founder’ without the vowels) can help us reverse the path of self-destruction we’ve created for ourselves.

For those of you who don’t know James Vincent, he founded TBWA Arts Lab with Ad Industry icon Lee Clow for Chiat Day. He worked directly with Steve Jobs for over a decade, helping him stage the launch of iTunes and the iPod, as well as the iPhone and iPad, and so literally changing the world with technology that improves the human condition. Vincent believes there are some companies, like Apple, who understand that social contracts with a value system are what people value. They will be able to take us into a future that doesn’t abuse our privacy and ruin our world completely.  Because when you’re meaningful in culture, you’re sustainable in business.

After working with the Godfather of tech founders, Vincent was now ready to help new visionaries create a more sustainable, conscientious business model post-Covid 19. His partners from a past life hail from some of the most inspiring companies in the world. Steve Butler is the idealist; he’s an expert at connecting a brand’s essence with its core storytelling.

Rebekah Jefferies plays the role of a realist, always involved in entrepreneurial pursuits. Nick Barham is a structuralist, understanding how the shifting patterns of human behavior can create real business evolution. Together, these principles are committed to embracing the narrative of technology with one that improves the human condition.

After Apple, the partners worked together with Brian Chesky on the launch of Airbnb, and decided to build FNDR together in 2017 and have since worked with Snap, Glossier, Farfetch, Airtable, and many more.

This won’t work with companies like Uber or Facebook. Vincent prefers not to work with Facebook because Zuckerberg as founder, doesn’t seem to give a f%#K.

Vincent believes Facebook allows behavior that takes away from the human condition. It allows hate, lies, and deceit; it encourages the worst in humanity, without accepting the responsibility of its creation.

The theory is that Covid-19 has accelerated the digital process ahead at least 10 years. Is it 2030 already? If you look at New York with no cars and no people, you realize we don’t have well planned micro-mobility solutions, and not many schools are successfully doing online learning.

We thought there was a scientific revolution 500 years ago when we overtook nature, but nature is smarter than we are. We didn’t invent stem cells. We didn’t invent DNA sequences. It was always there. There’s an openness now because of the ravaging of nature, and because of the massive systemic failures in the leadership of the companies, we trusted. The future is about commerce leading us out of these things because the government, healthcare, and education are all failing us.

FNDR has now moved from being a little VC start-up helper to working with a select group of high growth, founder-led companies find their intentional narrative to solve the mega problems of the day, many that Covid-19 has further revealed.

Vincent believes they are transitioning into an “Age of Consideration.”

FNDR is looking to move founders away from moving fast and breaking things, to moving carefully and making things. They worked with Good RX on correcting the flaws of a failing healthcare system. They worked with Bumble on women building stronger relationships, by women make the first move. They work with Spin, on creating the software platform for cities to flow better, having just got bought by Ford. They worked with Allonia using biology to get rid of “forever chemicals.” They’re helping Oatly become one of the world’s most sustainable brands.

The world needs better founders right now. Let’s hope Vincent and his team are able to find them before we descend further into the robotic oblivion where our world becomes void of humanity, feeling, and emotional wellbeing.

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