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Camel-isation of our startup ecosystems

We can learn from camels to build startup ecosystems that are patient, resilient, and useful to us and to our planet

Nothing gives power to ideas and turns them into reality like inspiring brands. Ideas like free trade, sustainability and entrepreneurship are attractive to nations because our conversations about them make them an uplifting concept with significant support. Unicorns, the term used for a horse-like mythical rare creature, is such a cool brand we give to rare, privately held startups companies valued at $1 billion or above.

Over the past 10 years, hundreds in unicorns around the world mainly in the US, China, India, Europe, and the Occupied Palestinian Territories contributed billions of dollars in innovative goods, services and income opportunities around the worlds. However, an article in 2020 in Harvard Business Review by Alex Lazarow advocated that we need to start thinking like camels and not unicorns if we are to build forward better.

Why Camels?

Camels are fascinating creatures; they are resilient, adaptive no matter how harsh their environment, and do little or no harm to our planet. On the other hand, we have built a culture that encourage tech billionaires to build more unicorns by “moving fast and breaking things”. Facebook revolutionised how we socialise and broke our privacy, Instagram and Snapchat made us photographers and over-emphasised looks over content, and twitter brought free, on-demand news updates to our fingertips, yet it shields cyberbullies and fake accounts that spread hatred.

The founders of these unicorns meant us no harm, they only did what our markets encouraged them to do; innovate, scale up and grow and manage consequences on our sustainability and morality later. This is the reason we need to usher a new camel mindset or camelisation of our startup ecosystems.

Camels are resilient

Our post-covid world is now dealing with rising cost of living and energy crisis, and the mindset of growing a startup to a $1bn fast and furiously is not sustainable. Adopting a camel mindset in our startup ecosystem is more sustainable today because we can learn from it how we appreciate our environment and keeping moving forward in the same way camels roam through their natural habitat in the deserts.

Do no harm

Despite the fact we are more connected to each other more than any time in the past thanks to technology has not turned into a more tolerant world yet. Conflicts and prejudice are causing suffering in every part of the world to varying degrees. Camels however, despite their large size comparing to many creatures, do not prey on other creatures or harm the environment in an irreversible way, traits that super start -startup founders around the world can learn.

Camels have lived among us for thousands of years, and today is our chance to learn from them how to build startup ecosystems that are patient, resilient, and useful to us and to our planet.

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