All stereotypes aside, I’ve never heard an Australian utter the above words with the exception of the highly-paid voice over artist for Outback Steakhouse. And possibly Paul Hogan in his notable performance as "Crocodile Dundee" (only the first movie, of course – the sequels aren’t worth mentioning).
No matter where said stereotype originated, what I do hear emanating from Down Under is a keen series of statements reflecting how happy our Australian friends are to be doing business in America. After two weeks traveling and attending events, all – oddly – involving Australians, I had to wonder why entrepreneurs from south of the equator were more positive about the investment environment than we are: the ones who live, work, and dream in a Country where anything is possible. Whatever the reason, I’m inclined to eat a bloomin’ onion for dinner.
The companies with which I’ve been meeting span the industry spectrum, from consumer electronics to video games, multi-media, and entertainment. In each reside a spirited CEO and management team, all of whom endeavor to make their places in the States. For many, it will be their first foray into the American investor market; for others, who’ve been building a life here for several years, it is their third or fourth company after several successful prior exits. And yet, in what we all know is a recessionary economy, all are seeking or continuing to seek opportunities here.
Nowhere else. HERE. Why?
Because they want the same thing every domestic entrepreneur wants: the chance to fulfill a dream, to create a successful business, and to retire to a large, beautiful island. Wait… the Aussies already have one.
Nevertheless, my idea-generating friends, the point is that we need to again find our spirit, our confidence, and our joie de vivre. Entrepreneurs from all over the world know that the United States is the place to come to cultivate relationships and to secure growth capital. The current economic “ebb” has an effect on the entire planet, yet those who wish to prosper still look to us for guidance. Perhaps we should not lose sight of that very basic fact.
I think actress Rachel Griffiths said it best, with comedic proportion, when being honored at the G’Day LA gala dinner last week (I do not quote verbatim, since I was wielding flatware in lieu of a pen): “I never thought I would do American TV; now I’m doing a Network series. I never thought I’d live in America, now I’m married to an American. I never thought I’d have children in America, now I’m breeding Americans. And I have to say: I will always be Australian but I’m PROUD to be breeding Americans!”
What does it really mean? I wasn’t entirely sure at first, but it made us laugh. And as I sat there, surrounded by her Countrymen, it hit me: as much as I jest above about barbequing shellfish, Ms. Griffiths was jesting as well. Stereotype or not, Hollywood provided her the opportunity to expand her career. She seized upon it and is ultimately thankful for what it provided her.
Many follow the same path – rising star or layman – to this land where those who seek their good fortune have a chance to be thusly rewarded. It may not be easy, but it IS and will ALWAYS be possible for people with ideas, talent, tenacity, and enough hope to see the light at the end of this tunnel we call a recession.