This is a brilliant short talk by Tina Selig asking students “If you had $5 and 2 hours, what would you do to make as much money as possible?”. Her point that capital can simply be a distraction is a view I’ve held for a long time – especially in the context of cheap-to-start-and-run consumer web startups.
Update: I wrote this blog entry and then predictably, I unposted it after my more diplomatic side took over. But it got out via my RSS feed anyway and a friend enjoyed it. So here it is in all it’s left wing liberal glory. I’m switching the published date to today. Enjoy.
“Oooh nasty! Are you here to send your dirty kids to our schools?”
“Are you going to leech of our social security?”
“Are you going to steal jobs from my family and my kids?”
“Are you going to rip off our great health care system and then scuttle back to the dirty little hole you came from?”
Um, no. Hey I didn’t accidentally cross the Canadian border did I?
“So what are you doing in this here land of the free and home of the brave boy?”
I’m here to create jobs for your kids. I moved here in 2003. Since then I’ve created four technology startups with the goal of building a profitable business, bringing foreign currency to the United States and creating jobs for Americans. I created one of the worlds largest job search engines to help Americans find jobs. I currently run a software business who’s products are used by over 300,000 websites world-wide and that brings foreign currency to the USA.
“Oh come now. You’re just taking money away from American investors.”
Actually most of my investors are self-made and are also immigrants. Some of them helped create Google, that great company co-founded by Sergei Brin, also an immigrant.
“So what’s your point?”
Well my point is that I’m surprised I have to have this conversation with you at all my little xenophobic marshmallow-faced friend. You may not realize it but you are costing this country billions in future earnings with your crappy attitude. Immigrant entrepreneurs are feeling pretty damn unappreciated thanks to you.
“OK so what are you going to do? Move to Russia or something?”
Actually Chile is sounding pretty good right now and is probably going to steal a truckload of talent that would have created millions of jobs and billions in future taxable dollars for the USA. If you invest $500,000 over 5 years, they’ll give you permanent residency, $30,000 to visit and explore Chile for due diligence, another $30,000 to launch your company in Chile, give you up to $1 Million for rent if you’re in one of their tech centers, up to $25,000 per year for training expenses for each of the locals you hire from one of their excellent engineering schools. You can even bring your own talented people to the country from anywhere in the world and Chile will pay for their training too. They’ll pay 40% of your costs if you want to build your own office up to $2 Million. And if your talented friends want to move to Chile they automatically get a working visa if they get a legitimate job.
“So go! American’s are a tough breed. We know how to take care of ourselves!”
Actually, you’ve been relying on us immigrant types for some time now. Albert Einstein immigrated to the United States and brought with him the physics you needed to create the first atomic bomb. Wernher Von Braun and 1,600 other scientists and engineers were brought to the United States post World War 2 as part of operation paperclip and Von Braun and his men were the creators of the Saturn V rocket that took the US to the moon. The space race gave birth to Silicon Valley, much of which continues to be powered by immigrant intellects today. Over half of all Valley Startups and one quarter of all American tech companies are started by immigrants.
“So what the hell do you want me to do?”
I want you to stop promoting a culture of xenophobia in this country. I want you to start thinking about what an opportunity this country has right now because, for all the America haters out there, there are still boatloads of PhD’s and business creators who want to come to this country. All we have to do is open our front doors to them and make them feel welcome. We don’t even have to throw tax dollars at them. They are self sufficient and through fulfilling their own dreams they’ll help fulfill the dreams you have for your children.