On a recent podcast, the host and I were discussing the challenges we're all facing at the tail end of 2020, and I said something about being hopeful for the future.

Paul Blanchard, the man interviewing me for Media Masters, wasn't having it. "Well, I'm British," he said, "so I've no interest in staying around. I'm actually miserable, and quietly looking forward to death's sweet kiss."

Now, compared with a polished presenter like Paul, I might be a bit of a colonial hayseed, but I'm pretty sure he was working some of that dry--in this case, six-feet-of-dirt dry-- British humor, and being a little sarcastic. After all, the Brits have stiff-upper-lipped it through two world wars in little more than a century; they endure.

And yet he was definitely reflecting a certain anomie that so many people feel these days. There's a whole lot going on out there--I mean, what with a protracted pandemic, bitter political conflict, and an economy that, while not bad for everyone, certainly hasn't been good for Main Street or consumer confidence. To be sure, optimism isn't necessarily my strength, either. In the glass half-empty/glass half-full debate, my cynical view is that it's only a matter of time before someone knocks the glass off the table and spills all that water on the floor.

But in that interview, I was bullish. Bullish because I have the benefit of something Paul doesn't. I have you. That's right, you and all the other entrepreneurs I get to interact with here at Inc. You have a whole lot going on, too, and, for me, it's great cause for optimism.

That's present in our annual Female Founders 100, where we see women reinventing medicine and agriculture and so many other businesses. It's also present in the success stories attached to our PE50--Inc.'s list of the most founder-friendly private equity firms. Yup, there's not a page of this issue of Inc. that doesn't somehow speak to the relentless drive you all have to build a business that fixes a problem or improves a process or just plain makes the world a better place--not that any of that is easy. That's clear in our story about software startup Front, in which we see a pair of founders grapple with personal and business crises--and still somehow manage to come out better than before.

We also take a look at the future of business, which our experts predict will present an altered landscape but at the same time an enormous opportunity for those who prepare properly. No offense, Paul, but I'm sticking with them.

P.S. You can hear Paul's podcast, in which he and I talk a whole lot about Inc. and business and founders, at mediamasters.fm. I might be a bit cockeyed here, but I predict you'll find it worth a download.