Great technological visionaries like Steve Jobs, Bill Gates, Sergey Brin, Larry Page, Max Levchin, and Elon Musk focused on building technology companies that would outlive their founders and progress humanity for many generations to come.
Politicians, on the other hand, seem to be more interested in short-term wins instead of long-term results. They are contending with a 24-hour news cycle that rewards tweets and sound-bites rather than creative thinking on questions with long-term implications for our national welfare
Where does that leave us?
Instead of multi-year spending plans focused on our nation’s biggest priorities, we often scurry to cobble together five-day budget extensions to keep our government from shutting-down.
Instead of talking about where the next big source of jobs and growth will come from, we’re debating measures that would prevent members of global religions from reaching our shores
And instead of focusing on tomorrow, we see politicians focusing on the topic that will get them the most air time today, whether that’s international terrorism or Donald Trump’s hair.
Wouldn’t it be amazing if elected officials thought more like entrepreneurs? In a way, where their positive actions would outlive them, where they would leave the world a better place and would create a foundation for future generations? What if politicians, like entrepreneurs, would look beyond their political term and envision a long-term future that benefits Americans for generations to come?
A few months ago, I was privileged to have dinner with Henry Kissinger. I asked Secretary Kissinger what wisdom he would like to pass on to young people wanting to change the world for the better. His advice was this: “Ignore what is happening now, don’t focus on the short-term, imagine the world in 10 or 20 years and focus on that.”
I found the advice to be incredibly powerful. If politicians, like great entrepreneurs, think about the next 20 years — not the next 4 years — we may find global politics to have as much progress, enthusiasm, positivity, and potential as the exponential technology revolution that is so exciting, disruptive, and promising.
In 2016 human beings will live longer, healthier, more educated lives. For this progress to proceed, however, we need a peaceful world where global powers work together—not against each other—toward common interests and not self-interests. We need a world that gives humanity a chance to prosper.
At the moment, however, we are far from that end goal.
Within the last few weeks, the world has endured a spate of horrific terrorist acts. Earlier this month, we saw a senseless and barbaric shooting in San Bernadino that killed 14 innocent civilians and injured 22 more. We’ve seen terrorists bring down a Russian civilian plane over Egypt, killing more than 200 people, a double suicide attack in Beirut that killed 43, and the vicious rampage in Paris that killed more than 130 people. We also saw Turkey shoot down a Russian plane, even though Turkey and Russia are supposed to be fighting the same enemy in Syria. And we continue to struggle with a refugee crisis that nobody seems to have a solution for.
It is time for the United States, Russia, China, France, the UK, Turkey and others to come together to address our common global challenges. Technology doesn’t discriminate in granting access to information, education, and healthcare to every person on the planet. Technology thinks long term for generations ahead. We need politicians to do the same. The global world of 2016 can’t be about self-interests and geo-political games; it has to be about common interests and working together toward a unified, sustainable, and peaceful world.
David Gorodyansky is the CEO & co-founder AnchorFree, whose VPN service Hotspot Shield provides users with online security, privacy, and access.