Civilizations, Uber, and World War III

Civilizations
I was in Mexico over the Thanksgiving break. Between Mexico City, Oaxaca, and Tulum, I saw the ruins of different, distinct civilizations that once upon a time populated Mexico – the Teotihuacans, Mexicas, Aztecs, Zapotecs, and the Mayans. They each had their birth, glory days, and decline. The decline was almost always slow if the civilization collapsed upon itself due to internal conflict and swift when attacked by a foreign power (e.g., the Spanish conquistadors). But one thing was common to them – they all saw a period of decline and eventual death. The longest a civilization or people lasted was a few hundred years. While it is certainly true that some present-day people in these regions descended from these past civilizations, but in the case of others, there are no direct descendants (e.g., the Teotihuacans).

This led me to think that the one constant in human history has been that societies see a birth, peak, and a gradual death (or complete transformation into another). This has been true for over a hundred thousand years. By logical extension, will how we live and our civilization see a gradual decline too? We are probably in year four-five hundred or so (counting down from around the 1500/1600s). While we’ve seen wars, major conflict or invaders have not routed peoples of the world. Yet. But it will happen. There is no knowing if in another two hundred years some of the societies we know of today will be past their prime and probably dying. But if history is any indicator, it will happen.

What does that mean for us? Will some future generation go sightseeing at the site of our ruins?

Uber
While in Mexico City, I also truly came to feel the enormous impact Uber as a company has had in these past few years. Uber was highly prevalent, popular, and the experience was completely seamless – just like in the US. It barely skipped a beat. I tried to read up and learn about how Uber spread so fast and executed so brilliantly in a matter of a few short years. The reason Uber’s execution is prime for a business case study is that no other company has built a technology business that has a huge, real-life logistical component this fast – and in dozens of cities around the world, spanning an equal number of ways of doing business and cultural barriers.

I have to say, Uber is likely the most important company of this decade.

World War III
Reading up on and trying to understand on how incredibly fucked up the situation has become with ISIS/Daesh marauding through towns and countries and display a flavor of brutality not seen since WWII, I am starting to wonder if this is the beginnings of the major war of this century. The Western world is largely to blame for what is happening currently — their attempts to instill democracy in and subjugate rulers and nations that they have no business being in, while simultaneously providing aid and maintaining friendly ties with countries which birth extremists, dictators, and military coups (Saudi Arabia, the Taliban in the fight against the Russians, Pakistan to name a few) are the primary reason the world is in the mess it is in today. The west and allies have quite literally given rise to Islamic extremism.

I hope for all our sake that in this next decade or so, the situation improves but the signs are dim.