The biggest transformation of all is in who can be reached. With potentially 5.9 billion users coming online — largely due to the developing world — we have the ability to reach global markets at a scale never before witnessed. Already more people have more access to mobile telephones than they do toilets.

At the same time, the number of international markets that were once off limits due to geopolitical issues or high costs of entry is significantly smaller. The widespread penetration of mobile devices — and therefore applications — has also leveled the playing field. For example: 80% of Twitter users are international, and Facebook arguably has more international than domestic users if you include its reach through WhatsApp. The direction of innovation is starting to turn, too: Spotify successfully entered the U.S. market after having starting outside the U.S., and Alibaba, Baidu, and Tencent are likely to do so as well over the coming years.

Finally, we are seeing the rise of what my partner Chris Dixon has metaphorically described as the “full-stack” startup, where entrepreneurs want to own more of the full customer experience and are therefore building out expertise in areas beyond just tech. For instance, in a non-full stack world, AirBnB would have been a software company that developed a better customer matching and booking engine and then licensed that to multiple hospitality purveyors who would then own the customer relationship. Instead, the “full-stack” AirBnB owns the customer relationship end-to-end, and thus must build expertise in customer service, global operations, regulatory affairs, and so on. Perhaps more significantly, in a full-stack world, software companies can compete with their physical-world counterparts and build new and unexpected platforms that others can then build on.

It’s a cliché in the tech and business realms to say that the world is going mobile. Mobile first! Mobile only! Mobile native! We accept that this is happening, but we seldom explore what it means to us as people. Our phones, always connected and always with us, have become incredibly personal. They belong to us, to an extent that no previous device ever achieved. Because of that we belong to them too, and it’s a bond that shapes us at the deepest level—in how we express ourselves, in what we hold out as beautiful and compelling, in how we try to emotionally connect, in ways abstract and literal, with our friends and muses.

That impulse to fame by everyday people has generated some astonishing innovations. One is the advent of reality television, in which ordinary people become actors in their day-to-day lives for others to watch. Why? “To be noticed, to be wanted, to be loved, to walk into a place and have others care about what you’re doing, even what you had for lunch that day: that’s what people want, in my opinion,”

“In the 16th century, melancholia was the elective illness of the exceptional man, of he who had nothing above him. During the Romantic period, it stood at the crossroads of creative genius and madness. Today, it is the situation of every individual in Western society.

Depression is a pathology of time (the depressed person has no future) and a pathology of motivation (the depressed person has no energy, his movement is slowed, his words slurred). The depressed person has trouble forming projects; he or she lacks energy and the minimum motivation to carry them out. Inhibited, impulsive or compulsive, she has trouble communicating with herself and others. With no project, motivation or communication, the depressed person stands in exact opposition to our social norms.

Depression and addiction are names given to the uncontrollable, which we encounter when we stop talking about winning our freedom and start working on becoming ourselves and taking the initiative for action. They remind us that the unknown is part of every person – and that it always has been. It can change but never disappear: that is why we never leave the human realm. That is depression’s lesson.”

Alain Ehrenberg, The Weariness of the Self: Diagnosing the History of Depression in the Contemporary Age