The world needs more non-profit tech companies

In the last 30 years when the internet opened up to the public, companies rushed in to grab as many internet users as possible. Some companies were highly successfully like Google or Facebook, whom masses billions of users and billions more in revenue. Others were successfully in the beginning like Yahoo but fail by the wayside as other companies gobbled up user screen time from them.

Large internet companies have established their moats; Google with their search, Facebook with their social network, Amazon with their commerce. Many people think their moats keep all outsiders from raiding their fortresses. This is not true. From far away, their walls look solid and impenetrable, but up close there are always cracks.

Take Google for example. Their search engine is slowly becoming usable with ads appearing on more than the first fold and SEO content farms dominating search. They have an army of highly educated and highly skilled engineers but they have failed to build any other meaningful business outside of search. They are stuck with the innovator's dilemma as they will never be willing to cannibalize their existing ad business. Its a matter of time before a new competitor arises and replaces them just as they replaced Alta Vista.

Facebook is in the same predicament. Their core business is losing existing young users or failing to even bring them into the fold to begin with. Zuckerberg knows his walls only has 3-5 years left before competitors break in and take whatever users are left in his fortress. This is probably why he's investing so heavily into his "metaverse." I have my opinion on the metaverse, which I'll save for another day.

What does all this have to be do with non-profit tech companies? Nowadays is the best time build a non-profit tech company. Modern technology can easily enable a small team to develop and deploy services and applications that can easily handle millions of users. Look at Cragslist or Whatsapp (pre-Facebook) as an example of small teams building big services). I understand they're for profit, but imagine if they were non-profit. Whatapp can easily run forever on $1 a year or even donations.

Wikipedia is one example of a non-profit tech company that I like to see more of. They may have their faults, but the world has been a better place with them than without. Imagine a non-profit running a Facebook or Instagram replacement or a non-profit building a Chrome replacement. A world with more non-profit tech companies would be a world with less ads, more private protections and possibly a happy place.

non-profit  tech