America and High Tech Entrepreneurship

I wrote an essay for the U.S. State Department on high tech entrepreneurship and what policies and cultural attitudes in America enable the creation of new businesses. It’s written primarily to be translated into other languages for various U.S. embassies overseas. (Here’s the Russian and Arabic versions online already.) As a result the sentences are short and simple.


America’s cultural attitudes are even more important to its entrepreneurial success. In the United States, if you have the courage to start a business, you are celebrated and you are encouraged. You are seen as an innovator, a pioneer, a successful rebel. If you fail — and there’s a good chance you will if you start your own business — most Americans will shrug it off as a learning opportunity. There’s no shame in failing. Families, schools, and the media alike share this acceptance of failure.

In one sense, in the United States you have a permanent fresh start. Youth, in particular, are seen as beacons of innovation and creativity. As an aspiring young entrepreneur, I benefited from these attitudes. I became proud of my individuality and pursued my ideas without embarrassment.

In the United States, the most successful entrepreneurs look different. Google, one of America’s powerhouse technology companies, was co-founded by a brainy Russian immigrant who did not care much for media attention. He earned a PhD in computer science at a top university. He studied how mathematical formulas could improve search engine results. Oracle, another powerhouse technology company, was founded by a college dropout who grew his company with aggressive sales strategies. He has become a media celebrity. All successful American entrepreneurs don’t look or act like real estate mogul Donald Trump; in fact, few do. Instead, successful business owners find the right path for themselves.

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