People, Politics & Business

Scoundrels, Educrats, Rogues and Champions

Charlie Rose & Kauffman Foundation On Education & Entrepreneurship

CJ Westerberg, September 28, 2012 6:34 PM

Charlie rose.jpg

Where have the best and brightest gone?

Highly recommended is this insightful interview on "Charlie Rose" with Carl Schramm,
CEO and President of the Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation, with a specific focus on
promoting entrepreneurship and improving education.
A few key take-aways along with time markers in the video. (Note: unofficial transcript).:

14:30 ------  Schramm talks about how in 1973, when he received his Ph.D., that the word
and huge mis-read in the academic world was that India and China would never be players
in education:
"The doctrine (the word) among the academics in the U.S. (in1973) is that you would never see development in India;  you would never see development in China; they were culturally incapable of ever entering the 'First World'."  

18:00 ------ Big government, big business and big labor blew apart in 1970 and actually created a time of great entrepreneurship and innovation.  It was a time when capitalism was "messy" and not linear - a time of dynamic creation.  If you took an SAT exam in the 1970's, the word entrepreneur had not even been "invented".  The closest question in the SAT may have asked one to name a "dead white male inventor" such as Thomas Edison.

20:00 ------  Big firms go to government and tell them to protect them from young upstarts since they are the "ones who are providing jobs" (the party line), even though they may have been the upstart a decade before against the big corporations. 

21:00  ------    "When we move to protect huge companies, we send very important signals to people and that is "they win" (big companies), and "I can't" (the entrepreneur).  

Schramm points out that American entrepreneurship is not best illustrated by "kids tinkering in garages", as we envision Bill Gates and Steve Wozniak.  More often than not, Schramm points out they are more often than not middle-age people (aged 39) with experience, unlike the aforementioned  stereotype.

26:00  ------  Where have the best and brightest gone?  A problem for America. Too many kids are encouraged to take roles in the government.  Smart kids in the government spend their time creating rules; yet the government does not create wealth.  A lot of these rules inhibit start-up businesses.  Too many of our best and brightest are going to business school or public policy schools  . . . 

28:00 ------  Will universities become incubators of innovation?  They are nowhere nearly as efficient as they have to be.  "This is where where we will grow our endowments."   They (the universities) have been extremely careful custodians of intellectual property (IP)
to the detriment of society. 
Government pays for research, seeds it, while intellectual property belongs to universities. 

Universities have been blessed with a huge amount of public money to do research, but Schramm would make the "train" from research in universities sent out to the public creating innovations much faster.

(Editor's Note: Since this interview, two of the hottest topics about higher education, the cost/value equation and MOOCs (massive open online courses).  

This conversation was video-taped on May, 2010. 
Video runs 34 minutes - check it out HERE.


Obama's Entrepreneur Problem
"How refreshing it would have been if Obama, or McConnell, instead cited Schramm's Law, a thesis developed by Kauffman Foundation President Carl Schramm that holds that "the single most important contributor to a nation's economic growth is the number of startups that grow to a billion dollars in revenue within 20 years. . . " Kauffman research shows that new firms - not necessarily small firms - have been responsible for almost all new job creation since 1980; young start-ups such as Microsoft, Genentech and CNN, now cornerstones of our society, were founded during recessions or bear markets.  In virtually every recession, it is the entrepreneurs that play the most important role in job creation - they pursue new business ideas, undertake risk, invest their own capital, and create new firms. Yet there is no strategy from either side of the aisle that details how to encourage such entrepreneurship, despite a proven toolbox."

Related posts The Daily Riff:

Let's Raise Our Kids to Be Entrepreneurs

Teaching Students Entrepreneurship: 10 Ways


  • Micheal Minster

    Awesome post! You have a good blog, absolutely the very best Ive read so far. I will be looking forward to your next entry. Thanks again.

  • Dona Seiz

    I really appreciate your writing style. This really a great post! Thanks!

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