Why Is The US Entrepreneurial?
In an article that you can read here, an aspiring British politician George Osborne wonders why none of the leading internet companies is British. He has toured Silicon Valley to find out and identifies university failings, intellectual property issues and the UK venture capital regime as three problem areas that contrast with the US experience. He's embarrassingly wrong, of course, about a Brit having invented the internet but is he otherwise right?
Aside from the innate entrepreneurial spirit which I personally think emerges from the tendency of US high school students to have part-time jobs (something that still isn't replicated over here), one of the things that strikes me from reading about the early days of Microsoft and Apple was the existence of the Homebrew computer club which attracted high-school students.
That just didn't happen in the UK and I'm not sure that it does today and while governements focus on creating more graduates over here (on the basis that being a graduate is a good thing per se), I have always felt that the high school education and experience is critical in inculcating ideas, ambition and creativity. Now, I've spent many years in the States and know that education is highly varied but I think that is true of all countries. There is something that happens in American childhood that doesn't happen in the UK for sure and I don't mean prom night. I can't put my finger on it, but I think it provides the answer to Osborne's question and I open the floor to the Americans out there to back me up or shoot me down.
ADDENDUM: Don't know how I missed this, but I think it answers many of the implicit questions.