Stop creating free apps: the world needs different innovation


By Niccolò Viviani


“Revenue is boring.”

This quote, sadly, was not from some peace & love hippie or a trust fund baby living off his daddy’s not so boring revenue.  Either of those would be too predictable.

This was the answer given by a young startupper to the question: what’s your revenue model? Ok, you think, this girl is not aware of how life goes and soon or later a cold shower will wake her up. No, it seems that this is the kind of entrepreneur winner today: her startup was been accepted in the Startup Chile program and received 40k dollars from the Chilean government.

These days the world talks a lot about innovation, startups, young entrepreneurs. Governments compete in the financing of startup programs. The term startup itself has become mainstream. Talking about young innovators and startup has become popular and young entrepreneurs like Zuckerberg have become celebrities.

People look at these celebrities and try to imitate them, hoping to reach fame through a free app, not unlike the idle dreams of many young people with dreams to be models and sports stars.

This dynamic unfortunately leads to a complete disconnection from the reality of being an entrepreneur, of creating and selling solutions to real problems. Of building goods and crafting services in the world that people want to pay for, because of the value added to their life.


What are innovating the ideas we got used to instead? Do they solve real problems?

Do we only need technological innovation? Are we sure that Instagram and social apps are the forefront of innovation in the human experience?

I believe that there are other aspects of our modern society that urgently need to be innovated, in order to obtain a culture of meaningful technological innovation able to enrich the human experience. Our society has structural problems and if we do not solve them first, from unhealthy foundations we can only expect crumbling edifices.

For this reason, the object of innovation should be first of all our institutions. Soon. Our social institutions have failed and are the cause of massive pain and suffering in people’s lives: governments, schools, universities, church.

We see that people are not achieving their full potential, pursuing their callings, or exploring the depths of their innate curiosity. Traditional education has been reduced to credential-seeking, a mere bureaucratic game.

Entrepreneurship has been portrayed as a glamorous career path and an easy way to get rich by the start-up tabloids when in reality it is a difficult road that challenges its sojourners in every imaginable particular.


Technological innovation has been corrupted by bloated research budgets that are not responsive to market demand or have drawn talent into get rich quick tech start-ups, building vain and meaningless products that don’t solve real pain.

Our society needs to be innovated in their social institutions for his own sake. We need a renaissance of science and art, and the innovator is the modern Renaissance Man.

Our belief that most of the unnecessary suffering in people’s lives is derived from work that is out of alignment with their calling, and in broken relationships with other people, brought us to the creation of Exosphere, a new institution with the goal of solving through entrepreneurship the first problem, and healing through community the second. An institution where learning, personal growth and creation mingle in harmony.


If we want a better future, this is where we must start.


Santiago de Chile, December 14th,  2013

Niccolò Viviani

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