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We asked some of the boldest thinkers what the world will be like in 50 years. Here’s what their answers tell us about the future.

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Katrina Lake

Katrina Lake

Founder and CEO, Stitch Fix

The founder and CEO of Stitch Fix, Katrina Lake is the youngest woman ever to take a company public. In under eight years, Stitch Fix has turned into a company that’s worth $3 billion, serves over 3 million clients in the US and UK, and employs 6,000 people. Lake also serves on the board of fellow disruptors Glossier and Grubhub, is a mentor to many, and a mother to two children.

  • Who will run the world?

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  • What kinds of companies will be the most important?

    • Those that have established the deepest, most meaningful connections with the people they serve, as well as companies that are committed to having a positive impact on the global community. We (corporations) are empowered to drive positive change in the communities we work with and serve.

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    • What will cause the biggest conflicts?

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    • How will people earn a living?

      • My hope is that people will be empowered to work more flexibly and earn a fair and equitable wage in more meaningful, fulfilling jobs. The current generation wants something different in their workplace, companies need to adapt to that. For example, there’s this unbelievably large number of women who are underserved by the jobs market today. There are lots of people who are very talented, who have so much to give, but they don’t want to be in an office 40 hours a week. 

        In addition, while I believe all companies will have to be tech companies in order to be relevant 10 years from now, technology will be in service to humans (employees, customers, partners)— not a replacement for them. Technology is a powerful tool that, at its best, enables people to do what they are uniquely good at, and to find their most fulfilling role (being creative, applying judgement, building relationships). For example, our algorithms do the rote work of sifting through thousands of styles and fits, so stylists can focus on curation and creating a personal connection with clients.

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      • What will we wear?

        • I think it’s less about what we’ll wear and more about how we’ll approach fashion and identity in the future. Getting dressed has become something that feels overwhelming and emotionally fraught and it can be easy to fall back on failsafes. Most people dress to fit in, not to stand out, and we’ve stopped appreciating what makes us all different and unique. I think women in particular are tired of being shamed for their bodies, of being told what to look like, and of having to navigate inconsistent sizing options. My hope is that we can change the way so many women (and men) shop and think about fashion, and make it a positive and empowering experience. Instead of telling people what to wear, we’ll start with, “tell us how you want to feel” and get them the clothes that do that. When you feel great in what you’re wearing, it opens up a world of possibilities.

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        • What will our most valuable resource be?

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        • What’s your best prediction for the world in 50 years?

          • History books will talk about 100 years of silent oppression of women—a facade of equality but the reality of unequal pay, opportunity, and the shaping of the minds and expectations of young girls through marketing and media. This is something I take to heart, and dedicate a portion of my time as CEO, working to both drive change and raise awareness. 

            To create something that empowers and includes everyone, you need a team that’s diverse enough to represent them and empowered enough to imagine a radically different future.

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