Make Marketing History

The views of a marketing deviant.

Thursday, June 15, 2006

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.


Blogger echolalias said...

actually, the single best move i ever made was to realize highschool was a joke & drop out three years before graduation. read a lot. write a lot. read some more.

i got my GED immediately, moved away from idiot friends and dove right into college. if anything, creativity is retarded by highschool. i'm currently the shining star in my advertising stream. won several creativity awards most students don't win 'til their graduating year (if at all). and students from 4 different surrounding colleges (and one exchange from st. andrews, scotland) pay me to edit their papers. a thesis or five.

vigorously against the notion highschool provides jack.

5:47 PM, June 15, 2006  
Blogger echolalias said...

okay, so i've been talking with my friend from the UK. and i brought up this debate.

our thoughts were:

space restriction. without leaving the country, you can leave behind family/friends/everything that is familiar and re-create yourself from the ground up. i think the ability to move away drives a person forward, forces them to be creative/savvy. whether or not that was their intention. in the UK... chances are, no matter where you move, there are more familiarities.

we don't have the same way of grouping children by their progess. we're all bundled in there. until HS, and then you're pocketed into 'honours courses' or 'we'll prep you for the armed forces'.

opportunity. generally, the US is gigantic and diverse to the point of insanity. if you've an idea, there's at least one company somewhere in the US that will buy it.

12:24 PM, June 17, 2006  

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