In 20 years we will look back at the first few elections of the global Internet age the way we remember the smoky backrooms of elections past.
As in I can’t believe we actually did things like that once.
Why? Because for the first time in human history, true competition – the kind of competition that brought us the $300 computer, the electric car that goes 95 miles-per-hour, the $800 HD big-screen TV, and free overnight shipping on purchases as small as a few dollars, THAT kind of competition is coming to a government near you.
Idealistic, you say? Impractical? Not as much as you may think.
You see, there is another form of voting going on all the time. It is far less covered and far-less TV-friendly than the personality-driven “horse-race-type” coverage that dominates the airwaves, but it is THE kind of voting that shapes our world just as much.
It is the choices that capital makes. As in where to build that electric car plant, where to put that server farm, where to assemble that team of software engineers.
Sequoia Capital recently made headlines with the NASDAQ IPO of Mecox Lane, a Chinese Internet retailer and the seventh IPO by a Chinese company backed by Sequoia in the last 18 months.
By comparison, only two of the 12 companies backed by Sequoia to gain public listings have been U.S. – based.
Now when any patriotic American reads this their heart sinks more than a little bit.
But you know what? Capital voting with its feet like this, in the long run, is the only way for real jobs and business-friendly reform to take place.
Why? Because even more so than money, it is PRIDE that talks.
Now, in the old days the battlefield of pride was literally the battlefield.
But, blessed are we all, the pride battlefield of our age is the marketplace.
And the rising powers of our age, the Brazils, the Indias, the Chinas, fight not with tanks and guns but with bits and bytes and rent-a-coder and hard work and hustle.
And how do the incumbent powers respond to all of this energy? This challenge? To dare I say it – to all of this entrepreneurship?
Well, as humans do when any disruption to a cozy order occurs, first they resist it. They whine about it. They play the blame game. They have a natural instinct to just shutter the windows and keep all of the change, the disruption, the competition OUT.
But then pride talks.
Well-educated, ambitious people say “Hey – they aren’t any smarter than us. Any harder-working. We CAN compete. And we can win.”
And unlike the bad old days, when governments would respond with muskets and bigotry to challenges from afar, today have NO CHOICE but to put ideology aside and just make things work.
To embrace the mantra of the Internet age and do more with less.
Kids learning more, faster, for less money.
Regulations simplified. Best practices codified. Productivity multiplied.
Why will this happen? Why will cushy government bureaucrats change like this?
Because in an always-on 21st century global Internet age, we’re all naked.
And when cities and states and countries fall behind, EVERYONE sees it.
And after the shame, pride kicks in. It may be hard to hear about the political noise and chatter. But if you listen carefully, it is there.
And when pride talks in our modern, always-on global Internet age, governments DO change for the better.
And much, much faster than expected.
Pride has that kind of power.
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