What I Learned from the Presidential Election about Startups, Diversity & Growing The Economy

So what did we learn from the 2012 Presidential Election between Barack Obama and Mitt Romney on November 6th?  The past 24-hours was a social media frenzy with 327,452 tweets per minute being posted about the election.  The campaign was a year long national debate about job creation, social class, values and race.  In my opinion it was one of the most interesting presidential elections that I have witnessed in my lifetime.

It is now November 7th post-election.   Most Americans spent time the day after reflecting on what they saw unfold the night before.  I personally thought about the parallels between the election and the startup ecosystem. The election felt like a ‘Tipping Point’ for our nation and our economy.  It was clear that the election wasn’t about blue states or red states but the sobering reality that the world is starting to ‘Become More Brown’.  Let me define what I mean by, ‘The World is Becoming More Brown’. We saw how the Latino vote impacted 11 battleground states and was critical in Obama becoming a two-term president.  According to the U.S. Census by 2040 Hispanic and African American will represent the majority of the U.S. population. These two facts show how the demographic of the U.S. changing and is going to impact small business, politics, product design and every sector of life.

The Four Lessons I Learned from the Election

1. The World is Changing:  The homogenous world that we grew up in is changing; it is ‘Becoming More Brown’.  The new economy won’t look anything like it did a few decades or for that matter a few years ago.

2. What Use to Work In the Past Won’t Work In the Future:  What has worked for the last 30-years won’t work for the next 30-years.  Change or be disrupted!

3. We Have to Think Like Immigrants: Immigrant entrepreneurs represent nearly 50% of the venture backed startup founders in the U.S. they are job creators in this economy.  They come to the U.S. with the believe that this is the greatest country in the world (which it is).  They work hard, value education and focus on ‘Creating Jobs.’

4. Market Size Matters:  In the industry that you serve you have to appeal to a broad enough market to be able to get your ideas launched, get elected or get people to invest in the idea you are working on.

Here are a few startups founded by people of color and women that are doing amazing work: Aglocal, Code2040, and Women 2.0.

In the final analyst, creating an environment that attracts diverse minds can produces creative solutions and amazing startups, but I leave you with this question?  Will the election be a catalyst of change in diverse thinking?

Tribute to Dr. Martin Luther King Jr: ‘Dream Big, but Execute Bigger’! #mlk

On August 28, 1963, Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. delivered ‘I have a Dream’ one of the most influential speeches in American history.  This 17-minute speech is etched in the minds of millions and is still being talked about 48-years later.  Today we are here to celebrate the life of Dr. King and his idea of what a ‘Dream’ really means.

According to Webster’s dictionary, dream is defined as: (1) a strongly desired goal or purpose or (2) a visionary creation of the imagination.

An idea or dream in and of itself is useless; the value comes in the execution.  I love the fact that this speech and Dr. King’s life have served as an inspiration to me and countless others.  In closing I want to challenge you as I challenge myself with this closing thought . . .

‘Dream Big, but execute bigger’!