In commercial real estate, a “flight to quality” takes place when users and investors shift to the highest quality properties, due to an upheaval in the market (like the one caused by the recent move to remote work). From commercial real estate to venture capital to online content, flights to quality are everywhere.
In early stage venture capital, new market dynamics like higher interest rates are translating into less capital deployed, with only the highest-quality startups capable of attracting funding. In digital media, the upheaval of generative AI has created a glut of online content. In the past, content was generated at the speed of human creation. Today, that’s no longer true. Experts predict that in two years, 90% of online content could be “synthetically generated.”
As cultural and technological advances blow past the previous limits of what it took to start a new company or generate content, we are entering a new moment—a moment when the oversupply of everything is forcing us to get better at making choices about what’s truly worth our time, attention, and capital.
I’m personally excited about this phase of the cycle: a flight to quality nurtures a new type of curatorial intelligence that is different from traditional forms of intellectual or emotional intelligence.
When everything is possible and available, an edge is gained by those who can practice the work of attention curation. A flight to quality is a movement comprising equal parts pain and courage: it means resisting the gnawing fear of missing out on all the articles we didn’t read, all the opportunities we let pass us by, all the people we could have connected with.
Instead, the movement summons the courage to choose again and again that narrow, artisanal life that is the remnant left behind after a million “no’s”, marked by exceptional, original taste.