Anyone who’s attempted to run a business of any size during the past decade knows just how difficult the role of entrepreneur can be.
In addition to the peculiar difficulties of operating in California, there has been a persistent backdrop of bad news — the dot-bomb fiasco, the housing bubble, the housing collapse, the ongoing budget crisis. But nothing — perhaps it is better to say no single thing — has been as distracting as the knowledge that the perpetrators of the Sep. 11, 2001 attacks were still at large. For those who watched the collapse of the World Trade Center on television, we have a common memory. A sinking feeling of such great negativity that it seemed the world would never recover. We did recover, and in the aftermath of Sept. 11 we sent hundreds of thousands of troops abroad, including one member of the Business Times extended family who died in Afghanistan defending our country.
Then came the sudden announcement on Sunday, May 1. Osama bin Laden had been killed in Pakistan.
Sunday’s announcement was a strong reminder that, to paraphrase Warren Buffet, ever since 1776, it’s been a bad idea to bet against the United States of America. Some further thoughts:
• In killing bin Laden without suffering a single casualty during the raid, the U.S. military has achieved a singular success that really has no parallels in our history.
• It is not clear whether we will face retaliatory attacks, nor is it clear what the political implications of this victory will be. But events of this magnitude have aftershocks. And in this case, the geopolitical aftershocks will beprofound.
• President Barack Obama was elected largely on a domestic platform. But his greatest achievement to date may be assembling an effective team to run the defense-intelligence establishment. CIA Chief Leon Panetta and Defense Secretary Robert Gates proved an effective pair in finding and rooting out America’s most wanted enemy.
• Thus far there is scant evidence that the Obama administration’s team in economic policy is as effective as its foreign policy team. Perhaps success overseas will encourage the President to look to his economic team and find people who really understand how to encourage business formation and create jobs.
Finally, this thought. Momentum counts for a lot in business, in politics and in life itself. The stunning success in killing Osama bin Laden has put momentum on America’s side. It’s a refreshing change of direction.
Great (Recession) Generation
Watching college students rally in front of the White House on Sunday evening after the announcement that bin Laden had been killed reminds us that a new generation of Americans is coming of age. Unlike their parents, who grew up amid a baby boom and prosperous times, this generation has had it tough. They’ve lived through Katrina, wars in Iraq and Afghanistan and the Great Recession.
Strip away Facebook and texting addictions and this generation seems to reflect the values of its grandparents — not its parents. Hard work and shared sacrifice are key values.
That’s why we were delighted to be on hand on April 28 when five talented young women — Jamie Gonzales, Lace Granatelli, Brittany Lampman, Tatsiana Parker and Susanna Sukiasyan — received scholarship awards from theCSU Channel Islands Business & Technology Partnership.
This is the generation that has fought our wars and witnessed the awakening of the Arab world. A new Greatest Generation may be maturing right before our very eyes.