Jeff Cornwall (Why and how we need to foster entrepreneurship)

  • 00:02:08 How Jeff’s journey to teaching entrepreneurship got started? How does he define entrepreneurship?
  • 00:12:02 Why it is crucial to emphasize risk taking in our society.
  • 00:18:48 Are the opportunities for entrepreneurs diminished? Is it the millennials’ generation ‘fault’ or is it the way we have run the economy? Is the ‘coddling of the American mind’ the problem?
  • 00:28:52 Is venture investment really such a positive force in risk taking in society? Has the nature of businesses changed? Are they more ‘sales driven’ than ever?
  • 00:39:52 Is there an entrepreneurial gene? Can we all be entrepreneurs?
  • 00:45:33 How is entrepreneurship related to religion? Can we extract meta rules out of religions? Why is entrepreneurship not equally distributed globally?
  • 01:11:59 How has entrepreneurship evolved over the millenia? Which countries do the best job at fostering entrepreneurship currently?

You may watch this episode on Youtube – #72 Jeff Cornwall (Why and how we need to foster entrepreneurship).

Jeff Cornwall is a Professor of Entrepreneurship at Belmont University. He also runs the Entrepreneurial Mind blog. He has authored nine books on entrepreneurship and was named the National Entrepreneurship Educator of the Year.


Welcome to the Judgment Call Podcast, a podcast where I bring together some of the most curious minds on the planet. Risk takers, adventurers, travelers, investors, entrepreneurs and simply mindbogglers. To find all episodes of this show, simply go to Spotify, iTunes or YouTube or go to our website If you like this show, please consider leaving a review on iTunes or subscribe to us on YouTube. This episode of the Judgment Call Podcast is sponsored by Mighty Travels Premium. Full disclosure, this is my business. We do at Mighty Travels Premium is to find the airfare deals that you really want. Thousands of subscribers have saved up to 95% in the airfare. Those include $150 round trip tickets to Hawaii for many cities in the US or $600 life let tickets in business class from the US to Asia or $100 business class life let tickets from Africa round trip all the way to Asia. In case you didn’t know, about half the world is open for business again and accepts travelers. Most of those countries are in South America, Africa and Eastern Europe. To try out Mighty Travels Premium, go to slash MTP or if that’s too many letters for you, simply go to MTP, the number four and the letter U dot com to sign up for your 30 day free trial. Jeff, welcome to the Judgment Call Podcast. Thanks for being here. Thank you very much. Appreciate that. Yeah, glad to be here. Thanks. Yeah, you know, we’ve been going back and forth quite some time. I really wanted to have you on the show. You are a professor who has currently the chair of entrepreneurship at the Belmont University in Nashville, but you weren’t just an entrepreneur in theory and academia. You also went to the dark side. You went and started and helped build another business and then you went back into academia. Maybe you can help us understand a little more what is your motivation, why is entrepreneurship so dear to your heart and how did that work that you went from academia to business and back? Yeah, sure. So for me, it started back when I was a kid. My dad was a corporate person, but had a real fascination with small business. We didn’t use word entrepreneurship. This is back in the 60s and 70s. It was small business. It was privately owned businesses. And he was very interested in that. He did a lot of what we would call today angel investing, but it was more on the scale of smaller kind of local little businesses. He wasn’t looking for the kind of returns that a lot of angels look for today. But it was the environment that I grew up in. So I kind of, I didn’t have a whole lot of choice but to be exposed to this. I have three brothers. I’m the only one who really was fascinated by this and really was drawn to it. And so he took a hold of that and gave me lots of opportunities at a young age to be pretty involved in lots of these business decisions and work in these companies in meaningful ways. And it just lit a fire in me that’s never gone away. I went to college and in the 70s, if you had an interest in small business or entrepreneurship, the professors would tell you that you’re wasting your time in college. And that’s exactly what they told me. They said, you know, we can’t teach you anything here. We’re preparing people for corporate America. And I really enjoyed college though. So I decided I would stay. So I finished up college and was looking to go back and do some work in some family holdings. But I really enjoyed school. And so took a break from family business and went back and got my MBA. I wanted to get it in finance because I thought that would be a good complementary skill for the kind of stuff I was doing with my own businesses and with some of the stuff I was helping my dad with. And to this day, I don’t think you can get enough financial literacy in terms of being an entrepreneur. So I did that, came out with an MBA in 1980. And the economy was in absolute shambles. There was no jobs to be had. A couple of the businesses that my dad had, he, one was shut down, one failed. And so I was kind of trying to figure out what to do. Couldn’t get a job on my own because there weren’t any. And MBA and finance was pretty meaningless in 1980 because interest rates were a mortgage was about 16, 17, 18 percent. And they were laying off people with MBAs and 20 years experience. And so finally, the only interview I got was with a little college in Missouri. And they wanted me to come and teach finance for a year. I was married, we were on our way to have a family, and so I needed a job. So I thought I would pursue that. And University of Kentucky, where I was doing my MBA, when I went to get my letter of recommendation from the associate dean, he said, well, I didn’t know you had an interest in academia. And I said, me neither, but I got to pay the bills. And so he said, well, why don’t you stick around here? We can work something out financially for you. And we can have you teach a little bit as well. And why don’t you start working on a doctorate and see how it goes. So we decided to stay there. My wife had a decent job. It wasn’t anything spectacular, but it was a good paying job. And so we decided to stay there. Got my doctorate, finished it up in three years, which is pretty quick. And decided to try teaching for a little bit to see if I liked it. Loved teaching, but hated what I was forced to teach during that time. There was starting to be a little bit of entrepreneurship and academia. But not much. I was teaching corporate strategy and principles of management. When I tell that to my students, they all chuckle pretty loud because they know me well, and they know that’s just not me. But that seems like that the whole category of entrepreneurship is a relatively new thing, right? So I might not be old enough to remember. But I felt that that would be my next question for you. Maybe you can probably answer both. How do you define entrepreneurship? And how did it come to be a separate category of business studies? Well, it was starting about the time when I was first teaching in the 80s, but it was an outlier. And part of the challenge that we had was defining what it was and where it belonged and what the boundaries were. Colleges that had it in the 80s would usually put it in a management department, which always struck me as kind of odd because most of that is large corporate structural kinds of things that you study and work on. A few put it in departments of marketing. We were kind of an orphan discipline. The definition of entrepreneurship is something that I have been debating with people probably for a good 30, 40 years now. And we still don’t have, I don’t think, a definite answer. It’s more around boundaries and what it describes. One of the issues is, does it describe a person or a process? I tend to follow the side of the process. I think there are people who are drawn to be an entrepreneur, but what I can teach them from the discipline is a process. And so that’s where I put most of my focus. There’s also a lot of discussion around boundaries. What falls within entrepreneurship? If I buy an existing business, is that entrepreneurship? If I buy a franchise, is that entrepreneurship? If I take over a family business, is that entrepreneurship? Or is it just the act of starting a business? And if it is the act of starting a business, when do you stop being an entrepreneur and start becoming a manager? And these sound like academic questions, but they’re important because they help us understanding how to not only teach people, but also how to serve as a good coach and a good mentor. And in many ways, I think that’s the more important part of my professional life, has been the work I do mentoring and coaching people individually, as opposed to the some of the things that I can do from the classroom. For me personally, what I think entrepreneurship, if I have to get down to one aspect that defines it for me, it’s risk. Are you financially and personally at risk in what you’re doing? So if you buy a business or you own the business, you sign the guarantees and the bank loans. To me, you’re an entrepreneur because you are taking risk and you privately own that business. People disagree with me on that. And even people I’ve done some work with have a different approach to that. So there is no one answer that we’ve come to even today. I have a dear friend who I’ve done a lot of work with over the years. He’s much more focused on the act of high growth, high potential ventures. And so that’s kind of his narrow definitional window. The interesting thing is though, if we can strip all that away, the product are about the same. There’s a set of processes that are common to getting a business off the ground. There are a set of processes that are common to an early stage business. And there are a set of processes that are common to a growing company. And so these are all things that we can identify. We can learn about and we can teach and we can coach people on how to do these things better. Yeah, I really feel that Nassim Taleb awarded it best when he came up with the skin in the game, right? This is a Wall Street saying. And it’s this personal risk. And you definitely have to put money at risk and your reputation and maybe both at the same time. And we feel when we say the word entrepreneur, we have that in the back of our minds, most people have the hustle or the Silicon Valley entrepreneur, the Silicon Valley entrepreneur who is usually not putting his own money at risk. A lot of people don’t know that. Definitely your reputation, but not necessarily your money. It’s a small amount of money. In most cases, every startup is slightly different. And I feel this theme that we have the ability to distribute risk through society by individual risk takers. So I think of it in that manner that the Greeks said, right? We have this hero who goes out. It doesn’t have to be male, female and male. Both is good. But it’s somewhat in society. It’s a good part of society who goes out, finds the dragon, wrestles with the dragon, comes back and tells us, okay, the dragon isn’t actually that scary. It’s a find something new, takes a calculated risk. And with this discovery and by staking their own reputation and their own monetary success to it, meaning that’s the goal that you bring back from the dragon, right? You help society understand. And now, especially nowadays with the internet, we all can adapt that certain solution that that person found or that team found doesn’t have to be the single entrepreneur. And I feel this distributed risk taking in society hasn’t really gotten the attribution it should have gotten. There was this wave in the 90s, but since then, I feel it in popular culture doesn’t really appear either. It’s a billionaire. Most of billionaires don’t really take a lot of risks anymore because they have a billion in the Swiss bank and they have no downside really in their personal life, right? They might feel like they have it and they have some anxiety, but really they won’t be poor ever again. That’s fine. And what you need is the family entrepreneur is kind of almost like a Chinese expat model where Chinese who emigrated from China, mainland set up these little risk taking business and stick their life to it. I feel this is my idea of the entrepreneur. And America used to be the country that had this as its heart, which was always a country where everyone was, their hobby was risk taking entrepreneurship business, right? That entrepreneur is a French word, so it was business, right? What business deal are we involved in? Is there a fun business for me to do? And somehow at least in popular culture, we’ve lost this theme completely. We have the billionaires and then we have our Karl Marxian struggle about socialism. But what we actually need, and I think Nassim Talib really put his finger on in his last book, is we need those risk takers because we all, it’s a little risk for the person, but it’s a huge payoff for society potentially. Yeah, I agree. And I think it’s a benefit to society in a cumulative manner. You know, as someone I’ve started a business with my daughter and son a few years ago, and it’s right now it’s a side hustle for all three of us because we all have day jobs. And, you know, it’s in the educational space. I don’t think we’re going to reinvent education, but I think we’re going to make a contribution in some of the things that we’re doing that are innovative. And when brought together with a thousand other people trying to attack this problem space we have now in education, I think that’s the cumulative effect and that’s how entrepreneurs work. I think one of the things that can be really, can hurt our perception of entrepreneurship as a society is this fixation on those huge mega successes. Much of that is luck, and much of that has gotten, as you said earlier, has gotten completely removed from risk taking. Jeff Bezos has no risk in his life financially, never will. And he’s gotten so far removed from risk taking that it’s really, it’s something different to me than that early stage entrepreneur that sees a problem in the market and says, I’m going to go fix that problem because people are going to pay me money to fix that problem. And it’s that cumulative effect of millions of people doing that that has a big impact. I’m a little pessimistic right now, which is unusual for me. I’m usually a very optimistic person, but I’m concerned that some of that entrepreneurial fire in our culture has been somewhat dampened. I think it’s dampened for a number of reasons that we could spend hours and hours talking about. But no matter what we think the cause is, it has been dampened. And I worry, as I’m seeing kids come into college today, that I don’t see that fire in the belly that I used to see. I don’t see that burning desire. They get up and they can’t wait to try and do this. And they try to get these things started before they graduate because they’re just so excited and so eager. It’s becoming less and less common for me to see people with that kind of burning desire. Now, there are some and I have some really good ones and some good businesses being started. But the intensity is not there like it used to be. And the attraction to risk taking is not there. We saw a remarkable thing. The millennials had us all convinced that they were going to be the entrepreneurial generation. In fact, people were calling them that. 67% of them described themselves as entrepreneurial. Over 50% of them said that the primary reason they went to college is that they wanted to own their own business someday. And yet, now that they’re out in the workforce and we look at their startup rate, their startup rate at this point in life compared to Gen X at the same point in life is about half. So Gen X, who we kind of made fun of as sort of this non entrepreneurial generation, were twice as likely to have their own business coming out of college than the millennials. So the millennials talked a really good game, but when they discovered the risk taking that’s involved with being an entrepreneur, they barked. They were afraid of failure. One of the things that we discovered is they’re scared to death of failure. And that’s part of the game. It’s just you are going to fail. If you do this long enough, you’re going to fail. I wonder where this change of mind came from. And you have written about almost a dozen books on entrepreneurship. So you’re the foremost experts. I really love that we have this discussion today. Is that a pressure that was exerted on this generation? And I make this claim that there is a much smaller window of opportunity available now, big opportunities. There’s tons of platform opportunities are called them. You can work for Uber, the whole gig economy. There is social media. There’s a lot of YouTube entrepreneurs. There’s tons and tons of Instagram entrepreneurs. So these people exist, but they are driven by platforms and you don’t really have much control. The platform changes the algorithm and then all the more from the last couple of years is gone or your account that gets deleted. That happens quite a bit. Are they not able to see the big picture or is the big picture because we keep alive these big zombie companies we have 0% interest rates and we have all these old companies who should have gone away 20 years ago. We keep meddling with this way the economy works so that United can still fly. America has 100 billion and another 100 billion in loans, which they probably don’t need. We could just create another company more entrepreneurial and they would do the same thing for a tenth of that money. So we act like, and we said interest rate artificially, we act like we’re the Soviet Union suddenly. Now we don’t have the Soviet Union anymore as an antithesis. So we feel like we need to be a bit like and we can’t cheat the market, but this is to the downside that the millennials discovered. If you cheat the market, you’re in trouble. I think there’s a lot of truth in what you’re saying, but I don’t think it’s as new as sometimes we think it is. There’s been government corporate alliances that have gone back to World War II in this country and there’s been absolute rent seeking kinds of relationships between large corporations and government going back to even earlier in the 1900s in World War II. So I don’t think that that has changed. I think you’re right. I think it’s become, it’s accelerated and it’s certainly more transparent now, but that’s always been there. And we entrepreneurs, one of my business partners, we were entrepreneurs in the healthcare industry. When I left academics, I taught for five years and I realized I needed to get out of there because I didn’t want to teach corporate strategy for the rest of my life. And I was itching to go out and start a business again and colluded with these guys who are trying to deal with the healthcare industry back when managed care first came into the 80s. And it was an exciting time because the whole industry was being disrupted. And I love the metaphor that one of my partners always used to say. He said, there’s all these giant healthcare companies that are, and not just companies, but bodies like the medical profession and hospital industry that have all of this favor given to them by the government. And yet as entrepreneurs, we’re able to navigate and make things happen and cause disruption and change. And he always talked about us, we’re like the mammals that are dancing under the, trying to scurry around under the feet of these dinosaurs. And he said, we’re the future, we’re what’s going to evolve into the next thing. The dinosaurs don’t realize that they could squash us if they even understood it, but they don’t even understand it and don’t care. And so I think there’s a certain amount of that that’s always been around. To me, what’s going on with the millennials, and I’m fearing also with Gen Z is much more a cultural thing. I think it’s much more of, there’s a complacency that’s arisen culturally. And we have an incredibly overprotective generation of parents. And when I say that to my students, I’m afraid I’m going to offend them. And they all laugh and nod their heads because they, the vast majority of them can identify situations in their life where their parents got them out of a situation. And for many, it’s been multiple, multiple situations. You know, they’ll call professors, they’ll call the university, they’ll call the provost or call the president if they don’t like something that’s going on. But that must have been the case a long time ago. So this, this pressure for the parents to do the best for the children, I mean, that’s in build, we had this for millions of years. But now it seems to reach this level that it actually makes a difference. No, it’s, you’re right that it’s been around forever, but it’s, it’s manifest itself in a completely different way today. I agree. I agree. My parents who grew up in the depression, they believe the best way to prepare me for the world and to do the best for me was to let me fall and, you know, skin my knee and fail and learn from these things. And, you know, and, and, and if I didn’t make a sports team, that’s good for me. I learned what I can do and what I can’t do. And maybe I need to work a little harder next time. And it, you know, they, they, they did everything they could to provide intrinsic motivation. That doing the best for kids now is doing everything for those kids. Parents routinely write essays for college entrance for their kids. Parents routinely help their students, their, their children with projects, even in college. We had one recently where the, the, one of our students, um, father’s executives at his company basically did his assignment for him. And, and, and we caught it because it was obviously not done by the student. We finally figured it out. And, and the student and the parent didn’t understand what was wrong because the goal was to get, to get, you know, get this student where they needed to get them at all, at all costs, not teach the student how to get their him or herself, not teach them and give them the skills so that they can go out and have confidence being a scrappy entrepreneur. I fully agree with you, but I feel like this, this is something that was intrinsic to just cuddling up the American mind is something that I felt always parents were carrying with them. Now they do. And I, I fully agree with you. It’s gone to extremes. But I, I feel like there was a, there was a pressure from the other side. There was something that, that this would be described now didn’t happen 2000 years ago. We can say, well, because we have more money now, we have more comfort. And yes, this all makes sense. But I feel like there was a force to this, this move the equilibrium before and now we, we see this cuddling of children and on the mass environment. And obviously it’s a competitive game, right? So one parent writes an essay and the other parent realizes this says, Oh, yeah, I should have helped because, you know, my friends helped. So I should do this too. I think it’s, it spreads through society as this competitive pressure. And maybe because, is it because we’ve a lot of boomer generation, they are being ascribed to, to see, to see their own children fail. And then on the other hand, we say, well, they fail because society view created that doesn’t create enough opportunities for you. And then they make up for that shortcoming and helping them from cuddling them. And, you know, you can still live in the basement for the next 30 years. We always give you $1,000 a month as a stipend. And it’s that their fault can be, can be blamed on them. It sounds kind of silly because they don’t know, right? Nobody individually knows. Yeah, I don’t know. I don’t know. Blaming them is the right word, but, but I think we can attribute causation. Yeah. And it’s a better word for blame. I agree. Yeah, I mean, I don’t, I don’t, I don’t think they’re doing it in a malicious way. I don’t, I think they really genuinely believe they’re doing the best for their child. Yeah. But you’re not. I mean, you’re not doing the best for your child when, when, so risk. Okay. We talked about this earlier. Risk is at the essence of entrepreneurship. Let’s get back to that for a minute. Yeah. Risk has two dimensions to it. Risk has the downside of risk, the risk of failure. And risk also has the upside risk. That’s the risk of missed opportunities. And so as the entrepreneur, we’re constantly that, that’s been my whole life has been this struggle between, okay, is this going to fail? Oh, but on the other hand, I don’t want to miss that opportunity. And so there’s this tension between the two types of risk upside and downside that the entrepreneur lives within. And those things have been removed from these kids. They don’t, they don’t, they’re not motivated by the upside because everything is taken care of, careful, careful, you know, taking care of them for them. They drive better cars than I drive. They drive better cars than their parents drive sometimes. And so there’s, there’s, there’s no hunger for the upside. And, and, and there is, there’s no experience with the downside. So they’re afraid of it. You know, you talk about the dragon. And the entrepreneur goes out and says, okay, this dragon, I slayed it. It’s not as bad as you thought. Here it is. They’re petrified of the dragons. They’re petrified of failure. They’re, they’re petrified. I am shocked at the number of young entrepreneurs. And again, I am optimistic. I love what I do. And I have some amazing success stories. So I don’t want, you know, I don’t want to get the impression that it’s all a bunch of failure. It’s just gotten a lot harder for me to do what I do. Because you’re not the only one who makes that observation, you know, that, that idea of, of, of retreating from risk taking, it’s, it’s, I think it’s the secret is out. A lot of people see it be all, maybe have slightly different words for it. But it’s something that has been going on definitely since the nineties. Now we can say, well, the nineties, they were an exaggeration, and they were crazy. And they were white. So the end of the nineties, definitely. But it gave rise to a set of companies who could change the world. And I always, always like what venture capitalists say, they look at this sector and say, I want to have exposure to the sector. And for the longest time, I didn’t really understand what they meant by this. And he said, well, I just want to put some money at risk, because I think this sector is going to bubble up. If this company will bubble up, I have no idea in the end. But I know that something good might happen in this sector. This is my prediction. And I’m ready to put my money at it. It’s obviously not their money. It’s other people’s money. There’s another problem of the agency problem there. Because we have an agent who is risking a lot of money that isn’t theirs. They never risk their own money. But their funds expenditures are usually paid by the investments they do. So there’s more investments to make. It is quite a strange game when people really look behind the curtain and see what goes on in the venture backed world. You’re absolutely right. The people investing the money, it’s not really their money. It’s institutional money. And then as you said earlier, the entrepreneur really doesn’t have a lot of financial risk because the money is coming from this institutional investor that’s putting the money through this venture capitalist. And the way the game is played, they only need 10% of their deals to work to get the returns that these investors want. And so they’re pumping a bunch of jet fuel into a lot of deals and couldn’t care less if they fail or succeed. But that whole world is less than 1% of the world of entrepreneurship. When students come into class for the first time and start quoting Shark Tank, I tell them, first of all, Shark Tank isn’t real. Second of all, if it was real, you need to understand it represents less than 1% of the world that you’re going to live in as an entrepreneur. And by the way, I’ve never watched Shark Tank because the last thing in the world I want to do is watch something that’s not real when I’m dealing with the reality of that all day. And it’s the last thing I want to see. But that to them is what entrepreneurship is. And it’s not. I used to complain that we didn’t look to our entrepreneurs as heroes. That bothered me in the 80s and 90s. I thought we were celebrating a lot of people in our culture and none of them were entrepreneurs. And now it’s as if we’ve almost gone to the other extreme. And now our biggest rock stars are these entrepreneurs that have gotten, many of them have gotten very lucky. And then that 1% that’s succeeded. And we say, oh, well, that person has a magic formula. No, there were 99 other really smart people that had really interesting solutions. This is just the one that worked. It’s the lucky one. You go back to the 1980s. And we were seeing the evolution for the mainframe computer to what we used to call distributed computing, which ended up being desktops and laptops and so forth. And there were thousands and thousands of experiments going on. It wasn’t Steve Jobs and Bill Gates that they figured it out. And that was the end of the story. There were thousands of other people, and many of whom we thought were going to be the winners. Yeah, but I think Apple is an excellent example, because what it illustrates is, I think, what the millennials have actually figured out. And it is that the world of entrepreneurship is more resembling Hollywood than ever before. It’s becoming a show business. So there’s plenty of solutions. It’s the solutions actually a commodity. Everyone in China does the same thing for you, and you order the same box, right? But there will be only one or two companies who in the end stand around and are the winners of this game. Most of these new businesses are winner takes it all businesses, like software especially. And when you look at software startups, I was just talking to Steven and he told me it was like a side note. But for me, it’s still mesmerizing that 80 to 90 percent of all the investment that goes into software startups, where you think all technology startups is actually customer acquisition. So all the money goes to sales guys. There is two people who develop software or hardware or whatever, but all the back end is in China. So all the factories are offshore. And literally, you raise 100 million, but you throw 90 million into sales. And the sales, as you know, it won’t make any money for the next five years. You just do it to bring the numbers up to get the next round. And you can say, oh, this is just sort of weird VC businesses. But it’s true for anything that is related to technology, customer acquisition and everything. So sales is the most important thing. And in turn, showmanship and in developing sales channels, often through social media, is what makes or breaks a business these days. And I think the millennials have figured this out. They don’t care about the back end. They don’t want to do any software. They don’t want to take any risk. They just want to show up with a lot of likes on social media, which in turn can make or break a business. Yeah, I guess I would argue that sales has always been the driver, though. I mean, if I look back at my dad’s career in manufacturing, I mean, he was very old school business. He ran a company that manufactured washing machines and washers and dryers. And I think of all the lessons that he taught me and probably 80 to 90% of them related to sales and the importance of hustle and selling. And when I think about all the mentors that I have worked with and worked alongside of, one of our biggest collective complaints is that a lot of entrepreneurs don’t understand how important sales is. They think, I’m going to invent this really cool thing. And of course, the whole world’s going to see it. And of course, the whole world’s going to come and beat a path to my door, because that’s what I’ve seen on television. And this is not true. It’s hard work. It’s hustle, selling. It’s a lot of mistakes. And early on, the entrepreneur has to be doing the selling him or herself. And a lot of them don’t want to get their hands dirty that way. And so I would argue, not only do they not want to get their hands dirty with the tech, as you’re saying, I agree with that. But a lot of them don’t even want to get their hands dirty with selling, which is critical. And so it’s a rough place when you’re not willing to do the work to get the business built, and you’re also not willing to sell it. It’s interesting. Selling became sort of this backwater part of business education back in the 1970s. There was this period of time when the marketing profession emerged. And it was very glossy and it was very sophisticated. And it became a very dominant part of corporate America. It became a very dominant part of business education. And sales was considered sort of the sleazy, dirty kind of underbelly that they really didn’t want to talk about. I feel it still is. But when you look at the companies who made it, they figured this out. But sales was different. Sales was more one to one relationship, especially in business sales, if you had a business product, right? And it still isn’t business to business sales. Still is. You definitely can make that argument. I think it’s changing too. But I think what Millennials have figured out and all the industries they are involved in, and they know for better or worse, they’re being commoditized so quickly. And all that’s left is who’s get the most viral bus. If you don’t have the viral bus in your niche, you’re done. Because that next person has literally no sales costs and has 100% margins. You have zero margins. Yeah, that’s a great point. And I’ve heard a lot of people arguing recently that we have compressed the business life cycle down from years to months in some cases. And that’s that churn you’re talking about that goes on. And so I see people not have the kind of patience you need to build a really good company. One of the things that drew me to entrepreneurship, and one of the things that maybe really love what I’ve done in my life, got back to the social contribution it has to our economy. It creates jobs. And without good jobs, none of this is going to matter. We need people with good jobs to have money to spend, and that builds healthy communities and so forth and so on. And there’s been a real disconnect in my mind to sort of that long term game of building good companies that build good workforces that create good jobs. There was a spark of it about 10 or 15, 20 years ago, when everybody was obsessed about building companies with really good cultures and really great places to work. And I’m not hearing as much of that anymore now. I think this whole idea is gone. There’s still some leftovers in Silicon Valley. But I feel like the dream of most entrepreneurs now is this dropshipping business. You literally you have other people involved as freelancers and you make $10 million in revenue and you take home $5 million. I think this is the goal of most entrepreneurs and this is where the entrepreneurial energy is. And to an extent, I must say this isn’t a bad thing because we have this huge specialization going on in our economy, especially in the new fields. Obviously in healthcare, it hasn’t happened there yet, but it’s creeping in through AI and software. So if you take this specialization, will we all end up as an entrepreneur developing one thing and just letting it grow and being the one on the planet who understands that the only one, I attribute it for small teams. There’s usually a couple of hundred freelancers involved in the back end. But is that the role of the company in the future and these old school companies will die out? How do you see this developing? Is there an entrepreneurial gene? Can there only be, that’s what a lot of people put forward, there’s only say 1%, 2% of the population who can be an entrepreneur. This is how this is built. They are sociopaths to an extent. They overestimate their own abilities. There’s a lot of things wrong with entrepreneurs or can we all be entrepreneurs? There’s a lot to impact and there’s sort of like two threads that you just talk about. Let me address the issue of what this is going to look like in the future first. I worry about, and one of the books I wrote was a bootstrapping and so I believe heavily in the power of the beauty of bootstrapping. But every good thing can be taken to extremes and become bad. I think I’ve seen this fragmentation of the business model to the point where there is, bootstrapping has sort of created this Frankenstein monster where there’s little pieces of it all over the place and it doesn’t really have a soul to it. If that’s the future of business, I think we run a real significant risk because capitalism free enterprise is under attack and it is under attack culturally. One of the big things that it’s being attacked for to some degree can be traced to that whole game of high growth high potential venture backed firms and the glamourization of these things and uber rich people and all of this because my dad used to always say free enterprise is a delicate experiment. He said, we’ve really never had a culture that’s taken to the extreme that America did. But that was an interesting guy. He’s very philosophical about business and he never went to college. He just was a smart guy who observed a lot and he did a lot of international business and he worried that we didn’t understand the fragility of the free market. As a lot of really brilliant scholars have pointed out, at its best free enterprises is a whole series of voluntary exchanges and if we corrupt that system, that whole system can fall apart. One of the things that I worry about is an obsession with too narrow of a view of organizational success. Now, I am not anyone who believes in stakeholder capitalism is a good path. I will say honestly, I think it’s a very misguided model. But I also know that for us to be able to pursue profits and pursue wealth, we have to do this with a sense of responsibility. We have to do this with a sense of understanding that without Adam Smith. Let’s go back to Adam Smith. Adam Smith, yes, he wrote The Wealth of Nations. Yes, he taught us about the invisible hand. Yes, he taught us about the free market first time. But he also was very well known for his theological philosophy and he wrote a companion book to The Wealth of Nations in which he said, listen, all of a sudden I talk about wealth of nations won’t work if we don’t have good people who care about society, who care about the people who work for them, who care about the people who invest in them and all of those things are delicate free exchanges that if we abuse those will fall apart. So if we end up with a culture in which we take this fragmentation of the business model extremes, I’m worried there’s nothing solid there for us to build a society to culture upon. And you can’t separate economics from culture and society. To have a healthy culture and healthy society, you need a stronger economy. And in a my opinion, you need a free economy. Now, getting back to your question about the… But we can rephrase this as a challenge, right? I don’t want to interrupt you, but… No, that’s all right. It’s definitely a point where we feel something is changing. There is definitely this, we’ve lost the undergrowth of theology. We are not all Christians anymore. And even if we are, we think Christianity is something for Sunday mornings and that’s it. It doesn’t really guide our principles much anymore. Now, this is different from city to city region to region in the US, but that’s been a trend for the longest time in Europe and US now too or anywhere in the world. Some countries go a slightly different way. And I think it’s a challenge if you have to live with this slightly changed value system. And what I kind of argue for is that there is a lot of utility and you just pointed it out for this, you know, the certain constants of the culture that most become… We take them out of Christianity, but they come out of other… From Islam, they come from different books, but we can all trace them to certain ideas that are actually very, very similar. And there isn’t… I’d say that the list is not very long. Maybe it’s 50, maybe it’s a hundred certain ways you should behave. Confucius actually only had proverbs, right? So most of these things are exactly what you can abstract out of the Old Testament, the New Testament, and even the Quran. They’re very, very similar. If we could figure out this utility in these things and not do this game where we push each other, we push each other’s buttons, you’re an atheist, you’re a crazy theologist, you crazy religious. If we consider this utility, and I think to an extent we already have that in these institutions that we have, if we re… Reenable these institutions of the changed society, but knowing the utility of religion. I think this is a wonderful challenge because what happens is this whole model that we’ve been giving the world, democracy, freedom, free trade, what we’ve been advertising forever, we can adopt it to more and more places in the world. It becomes more exportable. The US way of life becomes more exportable because there is certain things that are intrinsically Christian that you just can’t export to an Islamic country right now. We see that in the United Arab Emirates, we see that’s the most American country in the Middle East, and it looks American, but it’s there’s breaking points. But if we make this model, and that’s I think the challenge right now, we put this to the next layer and make this a little more abstract, maybe it fits better and we can export it better, which you know, that’s what America was really successful as exporting ideas. Yeah, that’s an excellent point. It gets to the heart of what makes how I teach entrepreneurship different and why I’ve chosen to teach at private universities. Because at a public university, I can’t challenge my students to integrate their values and their faith into how they act as an entrepreneur. And I think that’s fundamentally important. I truly believe that. And I don’t care what those values and beliefs are, doesn’t matter to me. We all have them. And as you say, there’s a commonality that we have across lots of different belief systems, but there’s a core there. And so with every entrepreneur I work with, one of the biggest challenges I give to them is to really understand what your core values are, and then show me how you’re going to bring those to life in your business. Show me how you’re going to act as a business person. How are you going to act towards your business partners? How are you going to act towards your investors, towards your customers, towards your employees, based on those values? You can’t have this disconnect. As you said, we’ve kind of relegated that sphere of our life to Sunday mornings, if even that, and have failed to understand that it’s designed to be something that guides how we interact with integrity and everything that we do. It’s a philosophy. Absolutely. People don’t see it that way enough. They don’t see the value of philosophy. It has to be. And that’s why I have my students go back and read Adam Smith. And as silly as that sounds, and as quaint as it sounds, that, I mean, he’s the father of all of this. And at the very beginning, he said, it won’t work if we don’t tie this to values. This won’t work if we don’t tie this to a moral framework. Yeah. I mean, everybody should read Thomas Hopps, John Locke, Adam Smith, everyone who is American. I mean, they’re so fundamental to that country and be kind of associated with the founding fathers, but, you know, they were residing John Locke 24 seven because that was their idea of a revolutionary state. And it’s something that’s completely forgotten. I mean, I’m an immigrant too, but I did my citizenship test. These things never came up. Things like silly stuff came up. But why didn’t I get handed a copy of these books? You know, it’s literally free. You can download them online. Yeah, I totally agree. I totally agree. And we used to learn that. We used to learn that in school. It’s interesting. I see, especially the students that work with, a very legalistic framework. And I think that’s a reflection of how we kind of view this. We have delegated right and wrong to government. And we sort of removed it from our own souls and our own interactions in daily life. And so I’ll just wait for the government to tell me what’s right and wrong and be safe. Well, ethics doesn’t work that way. Ethics is murky and it ties to core values. So it’s been a big part of my own personal journey as an entrepreneur. And I challenge the entrepreneurs I work with to make it part of theirs. I keep asking, you know, why do white question has disappeared so much? I think that’s just another way of expressing what you just said. Yeah. And I’ve been asking a bunch of venture capitalists and they kind of stare at me kind of hollow when I ask them, is there something in common, you basically invest all your money in Israel, Silicon Valley in China? Is this something that, is it a complete coincidence? Is it just, that’s what we do right now? Or is there something that drives innovation, that drives entrepreneurship, that drives technology? This is the easiest way to be an entrepreneur right now. It’s harder to be as a philosopher to start a new venture. It’s possible, but it’s harder. I saw Stephen Cortig and he kind of took religion as it makes it a business. He has succeeded in that. Yeah. In a strange way, but it’s entertaining, right? It finds its audience for sure. Right. But is this something common? Do you feel, if we start asking this white question, we find patterns and maybe they create better places, that all these strangely very innovative, and now in their third generation, very innovative places seem to have, or is it all random? Why don’t they look like Papua New Guinea? That’s kind of the question, right? So why is it not hunt and gather? So the answer I give is not going to be complete, but there’s a growing body of research that tries to ask some of those questions. And let’s take it to even a little more, less extreme situation. And so let’s look at why Poland was so successful and why Hungary, right next door, struggled coming out of the Soviet empire. The last 30 years, over time? Yes, post Soviet era. Yes, the last 30 years, 40 years. And there’s a growing body of research that suggests that a lot of that has to do with the political and social infrastructure in those countries. And so I think capital and investment is drawn to places where they can make money. And they can make money where there are markets that let them do what they need to do for the marketplace and let markets speak. And Israel understands that, and the US has always understood that. And in a really strange way, China figured that out. Now with China, it’s a strange animal because you have complete control at this upper level, but they’ve let markets just run free at sort of the grassroots level. And so it’ll be interesting to see how sustainable that model is. We don’t know. It’s fairly new at this point. But even going back to Poland and Hungary, when we’ve looked at countries right next to each other, same kind of history. Hungary kept a lot of its central planning, a lot of its control systems in place. Whereas in Poland, they really celebrated freedom. And they really celebrated, let’s get these markets wide open. I used to love to take my entrepreneurship students to Eastern Europe and do extended study abroad over there so they could talk to entrepreneurs over there and learn about things. And the students would come back saying, in many ways, they viewed a lot of Eastern Europe going the opposite direction of the US. The US was starting to put controls back in place, was starting to regulate more, was starting to do targeted taxes. There’s always two debates when you deal with taxes. There’s the amount of tax, and there’s also the method of tax. And they’re both important, but they’re separate issues. And what we’ve shifted to in our country is a real focus on tax as a social tool, as a political tool. And it’s not just a means of raising money for certain kinds of programs. And when my students get overexposed and get exposed to these kinds of things, they go, wow, I see this difference now. Yeah, they have a higher tax rate. But it’s just a big tax. It’s not used to try and encourage certain industries and not others and pick winners and pick losers and so forth. At least not in Poland, they didn’t. Whereas in some of the other economies, there was a hangover from the from the Soviet planned economy. We saw that in place. You know, I want to get back to, because to me, it kind of, it doves tails off of this. You asked kind of two questions in one. And the one we haven’t gotten to yet is, is there an entrepreneurial gene? Your memory is better than mine. And that’s, that’s a scary, that’s a scary thing. I’m the absent minded professor who’s about to retire. So you’re going to have a rough years ahead of you if you’re already worse than me. So yes, those are my girlfriends. Yes, she helps me too. We always need, yes, yes, it’s always good to have a better person than you by your side. That’s what’s gotten me through the last 43 years. But anyway, is there, is there an entrepreneurial gene? I tend to, I tend to be on the side. I’m not a zealot about this, but I tend to be on the side that says not exactly. I think there’s, I think there’s an entrepreneurial personality type. And I think that we have discovered it comes from a variety of different sources. There was a group of three, actually adjunct professors at Harvard. And, and I’m blanking on their names right now, but, but it was really interesting because to me, they did one of the best studies that’s come out of Harvard the last 20 years. And they’re all adjuncts. They’re not career academics. And, and they wanted to, to, to try and understand what leads to entrepreneurial success. And, and they, their premise was they weren’t convinced that it was just this gene that, you know, it’s, it’s the person they’re born that way. And that’s it. And, and what they found was absolutely fascinating. They found that, that how people are raised and the experiences that they’re given, and what they learn about along the way has a huge impact on, on their ability to be a successful entrepreneur. So if they, if they’ve been like, I was exposed to it, I was exposed by my dad at, at a very young age, I’ve exposed my kids to it. And so they live in that world now. My, my daughter, her, her, her husband, I have two very successful businesses. My son works in a very successful healthcare tech company that they’re comfortable in that environment. And so that was one of the things. And so I think if you look at, at, you know, for example, if you look at Israel and the U.S., we’ve had a lot of that in those cultures. They also, one of the other biggest determinants was education. And, and, and the exposure to knowledge and understanding about, about what is the right thing to do at certain times and what’s the wrong thing. You know, I tell my students, if, if I had been able to study entrepreneurship when I was in college, I would have been so wealthy by now. You know, I would not be teaching them. I would have been retired 20 years ago. We’ve learned a lot. We’ve learned a lot about what it takes to be a successful entrepreneur. And, and, and so people who are exposed to that tend to do better. And then the other thing is just luck. It’s just luck, luck, luck. And we’ve, I’ve said that several times during our conversation today. People don’t understand how important luck is in this. I have seen some incredibly hard working entrepreneurs who I thought had amazing ideas. And, and for whatever reason, they just don’t have success. And I don’t think it’s for lack of trying. I don’t think it’s for lack of having a decent business model. It just didn’t work out. And I’ve seen people who are complete idiots who did no prep, but stumble into something become wildly successful. And, and, you know, and it’s luck in that situation. And so luck plays a big part in that. So all of that though, requires a certain amount of freedom to act. And, and so I’m, I’m absolutely convinced that the more freedom you have to act, the more entrepreneurship you’re going to have. And so the time that I have spent, you know, as the EU has gotten stronger, I think a lot of their policies have been anti entrepreneurial because they tend to want to pick industries, they want to pick winners, they want to have processes that make it very difficult to be an entrepreneur. And, and, and the more regulation, the more steps you require, the more barriers you put in place, you’re going to diminish the amount of entrepreneurship going on. And so if you look at Israel, Israel has been scrappy and they’ve been allowing people to come over there and do all this crazy research and they’ll help them and they don’t steer it and guide it, they just kind of give them a big playpen. The US has been a big playpen and, and China, just because of their, their population has this playpen that they’ve kind of let turn loose. We saw, we saw a really great experiment for a while, New Zealand, you know, I don’t want to just focus on bigger countries. New Zealand had this really huge entrepreneurial burst about 20 years ago, it is because they deregulated everything, particularly agriculture, and they got all this innovation and all these things going on and then they had a recession, which we have, and then they went back to their old ways and now they’re highly regulated and highly taxed again. I don’t think we can diminish the role of government policy on this. Now, that being said, I, I do think there are certain people who have a personality type that, that makes them comfortable within the realm of entrepreneurship. I don’t think there’s an, I don’t think there’s a personality type, I don’t think there’s a gene, but I think certain people are drawn to that, and I think certain people are comfortable with that. I think your ability to, to deal with uncertainty and risk are at the heart of that. Those are, those are things you can learn. You can learn on how to deal with uncertainty by being exposed to uncertainty, by having to deal with uncertainty. You can, you can learn to deal with risk by learning about risk and how to mitigate risk and how to manage risk. And so, I think, I think there is a certain amount of this that is, that, that certain people are drawn to entrepreneurship and have a personality type that’s drawn to that, but I, I don’t think they were born that way. I also don’t think it’s very easy for me to teach them that. That’s not something I can teach them in college because a lot of that was formed when they were little. And so, I could only deal with the ones who are drawn to entrepreneurship and give them the education to, to give them a better chance of success. That’s it. I don’t make entrepreneurs. My, it’s never been my job. My job as an educator is to give, it would be amazing, right? So if you find a way to make entrepreneurs, that’s kind of, I think, but the societal experiment is going to be about the next 20 years because if, if we only believe half of what all the AI cracks are saying is that we never have to do anything repetitive ever again. Everything will be done by machines, including problem solving. Most problem solving will be so cheap that you don’t, you can’t bother with it. It’s like, it’s cheaper than buying coffee. And we will reach that state relatively quickly. So we will have plenty of time on our hands. We will have kind of similar problem that we had. So, far because we had a lot of new tools, maybe not as much adoption as tools, but we had a lot of new tools for information gathering. And they’ve definitely helped. There’s no doubt about it. But productivity has gone the other way, which is really a paradox. It should have moved our productivity up, but that hasn’t happened. We haven’t really, we haven’t really figured out anything we can do with it, right? So maybe there is something out there. We can finally heal cancer. These things are coming online. But the last 20 years, it went the opposite way. More technology, more information, but productivity tanked. Well, it depends how you measure productivity too. Well, let’s stick to the old measurement. For now, you absolutely right. There’s maybe different definitions about that. But for now, let’s keep this. Do you think we’re going to reverse this the next 20 years? And for that, we can make more entrepreneurs through education and through a way that the culture values risk taking? Absolutely, I think we could. I know we could. We could form them, but it’s not going to be when they come to the university. It’s going to be in grade school. It’s going to be even before that. You talk about maybe. Yeah, you talk about technology. This is how I used to do math with a slide rule. Because I learned math before there were calculators. I remember the first, the calculators first came out when I was in high school and we weren’t allowed to use them because that’s my goodness, you’re not going to learn math if you use a calculator. So we use slide rules and did it by hand. We don’t even think about that anymore. And so I think one of the things we have to be careful about is when we start thinking about AI and all these other innovations is to not create this static frozen model in our mind about what that’s going to create. Because the fact that I don’t have to do this and I now have a cell phone that has more computing power than the mainframe computer I learned to program on when I was in high school, that’s freed me up to think about higher things and do more things. And that’s a different measure of productivity. We can have a static measure productivity that has declined, but there’s also a dynamic measure of productivity and that has grown. And I think it’d expand more if we just unfetter people and let them pursue these things instead of getting back to your point earlier. Protecting dead industries, zombie companies is just, it’s insane. It’s insane that we do that because we’re going to end up with a very sad state in this country if we do that. We’re going to look a lot like the Soviet Union did toward the end of its days when all the factories were wore out and the people were unhappy because there was no innovation. I don’t have to do this anymore. I don’t have to do it by hand anymore. I don’t have to be bothered with that. My mind is free to innovate and that’s productivity as well. I think, Jeff, you’re putting the finger to the wound there. What happens to and it never happened in the Soviet Union, I was part of that. I lived in Eastern Germany when I was pretty young. Humans always come up with something that can use their time more productively. And yes, we measure it in dollars. That’s imperfect. And you know, philosophy is not measured in dollars. And that’s a lot of people are rediscovering philosophy because they have the time. They didn’t have that. But over time, and you can focus this through the millennia, when we increase our productivity, we can create something more valuable in a shorter amount of time. This always holds true. Yes, there’s lags and it’s not a very smooth process. But we usually always come up with something of higher value that we really want, right? So nobody wanted an iPhone 20 years ago because it didn’t exist. Now, my children, all they want is an iPhone. That’s what they’re fascinated with. So we change our perceptions of what we want. And that drives our productivity up. We say, oh, I can’t do this anymore. I can’t work in the fields. I can’t clean houses anymore. No, I now, I don’t know, I become a door dasher. Well, whatever releases this new productivity, but it’s driven by our desire for something new that I didn’t even know I wanted. I didn’t know I wanted Tesla 10 years ago. No, I want one. Right. So that drives us, that sucks the whole society to higher productivity. Now, of course, the measurement is not ideal, but we definitely see this graph. And we as entrepreneurs, we basically be a big part of this because we figure out what’s possible and what’s not just theoretically possible. And B, we also make it happen in the crappy version, first version, and it looks terrible. But we create this desire for something new, and then people buy into it. And then, oh, then they realize, oh, man, I don’t have enough money left. Now I need to make more money. So that distributes through the whole economy. Yeah, absolutely. And what scares me to death is when we break that process. And so, for example, my grandmother washed clothes by hand, because that was the technology. And then, you know, my dad after World War II went to work for this scrappy little appliance manufacturing company that had built these new technologies for automating clothes washing and drying. And had we kind of locked in and said, oh, no, no, we had to protect this industry because there’s so many jobs at stake here and, you know, they give a lot of money to us. And so we got to protect them. We never would have had the next innovation and the next innovation, the next innovation. We break that process that Schumpeter made famous of creative destruction by trying to pick the winners and pick the losers and protect what was passed. What was passed was passed. Nobody makes slide rules in any large amount anymore. That’s okay. There’s lots of other things that we can make. We just had to get comfortable the fact that nothing is permanent. That’s the beauty of entrepreneurship. That’s the beauty of free markets is nothing is static and everything is dynamic. The problem is that as people amass money and power, they try to protect the status quo and they try to break that cycle. I mean, we see it time and time and time again. We’re seeing it in the financial industry right now. The banks are desperately trying to stay relevant. They’re not fintech. If left free, fintech would have made banking obsolete 10 years ago. The trading desk probably will still make money. So like Goldman Sachs has an edge, but everyone else is basically dead in the water. I’m going to tell you what’s going to happen. They’re all going to go PC. They’re going to go book. That’s what happened to journalists. That’s what happened to it. It’s happening to universities. It’s going by industry because like the last straw of saying, okay, I need government money. It’s all I’m the victim. And then five years later, but they all go on these jobs anyway. So these things don’t really last very long. It’s worth a shot. I would do it as well. If I have a business that can get a billion dollars from the government in exchange for nothing, well, I would apply for it. Why not, right? I don’t fault use the entrepreneur for doing that. I fault the culture, the society for letting those things happen. Yeah. When you look back into and we just talked about things that are really fragile, what would and how was entrepreneurship over the millennia? Like if we go 2000 years back or 3000 years back, I don’t know if you ever looked into history. I thought you’re going to ask me if I remembered back then. Yes. Well, that’s what my children would say now that you never used a calculator. What was different? What was the same? And what was it very different? Well, I think what was the same is we’ve always had this tendency to people who want to amass power and money. And I don’t think that’s been an age old problem. It’s been an age old struggle. That’s what’s led to revolutions. That’s what’s led to disruptions. And so I think the cycles have really just repeated themselves. We have people who want to create change and use change to make more change. And we have people who have amassed power and money who have a vested interest in keeping that from happening. So I think that cycle is, you know, we have always been innovative. And it’s always been the existing power structure that has squelched that innovation and that entrepreneurship and that new way of thinking. That’s what scares me so much about the fact that we have purged critical thinking from universities. Because it’s that critical thought that gets me asking questions that no one’s asked that leads to those aha moments to go, oh my God, you know, no one’s ever thought about solving this problem this way. I can come up with this new product. That’s critical thinking. And we’ve purged that from the universities. And it scares me to death. Well, I mean, universities make themselves superfluous of this, right? So as further you walk away from the reality because of politics, you know, that’s what happened with socialism. They walked away intentionally from reality because they wanted utopia to be true. And to an extended work, right, they realized that they can motivate people with this utopia. And it’s great to motivate people. But if the return stone come in, it carries a tax. And if you carry a higher tax than your neighbor, your toast, the compound interest, you know, after 20 years in the early 70s, everyone knew it was over. It took a while to play out. And I think this is true for the universities that they don’t change if they carry a positive text to someone who can tell the truth for less price or the same price that they’re toast. And so that’s where private universities come in or online universities. I think it’s a death cycle that struggled there. I think there’s some truth in that. I think there’s always going to be a place. You know, my vision of higher education is that I think we’re going to end up looking a lot more like we did in the 60s than we did in the last 10 or 20 years. And that is that higher education is a one nitchy little path that people can have to go into adulthood and careers. But it’s only one. We’ve made it this universal thing, which is crazy in my mind. It’s interesting. Some of the roots of that goes back, at least in the U.S., some of the roots of that goes back to the Vietnam War. And everybody wanted to go to college in the 1960s because if you were in college, you got to defer it from the draft, you didn’t have to go to Vietnam. And so that’s when we had this rapid expansion of university education in the U.S. and this notion that everybody should go to college. And it kind of stuck. One of the things that to me is fascinating is we have these unintended consequences culturally when something happens because of this, but now it becomes permanent even though this doesn’t exist anymore. We’re not fighting in Vietnam anymore, but everybody is still convinced that higher education is the only path to the future. And it’s not. It’s the right path for some professions. I think it plays a vital role in culture and society if it’s done correctly, but it’s not the right path for everybody. And we’re starting to see that. We’re seeing a lot of technology companies that are saying, you know what, we’re just going to get really smart kids out of high school and we’re going to kind of, you know, we’ll kind of help grow up a little bit and channel that really smart mind they have from mathematics and programming. And we’ll do it ourselves. We don’t need you to do that. And there’s even been some rumblings in the accounting industry that they may want to start to do some modified version of that because they’re finding that, you know, even requiring basically five years of higher education to become a CPA, they’re still having to retrain it and teach them like they didn’t know much. And so they’re saying, well, why don’t we just do more of that and, you know, go further upstream with these kids and deal with them sooner. So I think you’re going to start to see that. You’re going to see fragmentation of education. And as long as we let that happen, I think it’s going to be great. And they’ll always be a place for a place like Belmont is, you know, these kinds of institutions where I teach today have been around for a long, long time and they play an important role, but they’re not the only role. Glad to say this is really, really honest as an educator. How this image is shifting. And as you say, I fully agree, this is a good thing, right? More choice makes everyone happier. I think that’s the lesson we definitely should have learned or maybe some of us are learning it right only right now. When you look at other countries and we kind of touched on this earlier, where do you see entrepreneurship is strong, is bubbling up? It’s maybe for government policy, maybe just by accident. And I learned this from Eric Beiner when he talked about the geography of geniuses. Some of them are entrepreneurs, some of them are not. But they seem to bubble up and run in places very unpredictable. It seems to be a complex system. So it’s not linear. You can’t easily forecast this. There’s a bunch of variables and you still don’t know what effect that’s one variable have on the others. But when you look around the world, we have 190 countries, where do you feel they, either by accident or by good government policy, they know what they’re doing? So we can go by continent, like Singapore, not people, very bullish on Singapore still, but there are certain cultural aspects that give me pause. I still see a lot of amazing things happening in Eastern Europe. And I think what they’ve done right there is they’ve just gotten out of the way. They’ve just gotten out of the way. And so my long pause on that question was, I don’t know what the world’s going to be like post COVID because we have had this amassing of a lot of power in governments because of COVID or ostensibly because of COVID, which is a real disease. I had it and I was sick and I’m not a nonbeliever in COVID, but I also… It’s funny how we have to add this disclaimer, right? Well, we do because there’s a lot of nuts out there who don’t think it’s real, but it is real. But I will tell you that it’s being exploited and it’s being exploited by a lot of governments, sometimes intentionally and sometimes just because the kind of people who get drawn into government love power anyway. And so my hesitancy when you ask that question is I haven’t had the opportunity to spend as much time traveling the world and even communicating around the world as I did pre COVID. And if you had asked me that question pre COVID, I would have said Ireland is really an exciting place for me right now. I would have said Eastern Europe is really an exciting place. I would say Singapore is an exciting place. I would say Vietnam is one of those weird kind of things where it’s, yes, it’s got a communist hat on, but it’s got these amazing free markets going on at the ground level. And so there were all kinds of really interesting spots. When you ask me that today and then tomorrow, I don’t know. There’s a big question mark in my head when you ask a question like that because I don’t know what things look like anymore because I’m not there and I don’t have the opportunity to interact as much as I used to. Yeah, yeah. Well, the location has less of an effect. Maybe we said that about the internet. I didn’t work on that. No. And the wild card is just this power grab that’s going on that they’re not going to let go. They’re not going to let go. Some will let go, I feel. Some won’t. They will be the winners, the ones who will restore some freedom. Yes, eventually they will. They’ll be the winners. You’re absolutely right. Totally agree. As he does in Germany a lot. I don’t know what you think of Germany. So Germany is this old Western Europe power full of it regulation and kind of took this crazy regulation via the European Union to all the other countries and they’re still smoldering and it’s this German imperialism that they drove. So they took companies, the Germans are very good at bureaucracy. They know they’re very efficient bureaucracy. They have a lot of bureaucracy but it’s very efficient. So they use that same model, put it all over the European Union, extracted all the profits and now we don’t really know what we need to do. We don’t want to support Greece forever. We don’t want to support Italy forever because that’s what’s going to happen more or less because it’s very difficult for Italian companies to compete for their own problems, certainly, but they just don’t run on the German model. What I felt is Germany is in this spot from what I hear where they kind of took a lot of mixed messages, especially from America or around the world that went all the way. What happens with COVID? How much of a relationship we need? How panicked should we be? America was on both sides. We had people who said shut everything down forever and we had other people who said let’s completely ignore this, this thing will blow over. Germany seems to have taken it too seriously. They didn’t have this debate. They didn’t have the extremes and then came together in the middle like we usually do in the US. They always go into one extreme and they’re very efficient with going into extremes as well. They’re efficient with a lot of things. They’ve been very successful despite all the problems that the sick man of Europe, as it was in the 90s, they’ve been very successful the last 20 years. I wonder if when you look at France and Germany, if they will continue to have a good run, they will be in trouble because if they have low debt numbers, macroeconomically, they look much better than they are, I feel. Right. I don’t know. I don’t think we know the ripple effects. The EU has been a double edge sword for Germany because it has certainly given them the ability to expand economic power, but they’ve also absorbed a lot of economic dependency as they’ve expanded. Again, I don’t know. Going back to when I was talking about the move from the mainframe computers to distributed computing, no one could predict that Apple and Microsoft are going to be the winners. Nobody did. Nobody predicted that. In fact, most of us thought Apple was the craziest business model we ever heard of. Their whole business model was putting these things for free in schools, and we’re saying, how do you make money doing that? Microsoft, their whole business model was basically suckling on the hind teeth of IBM and writing that as far as they could. Most people thought those are crazy business models that we’re not going to succeed. I think we’re entering a period of even greater disruption right now because of not just really not COVID as much as the world reaction to COVID. The power grab that people are using COVID for. I’m very hesitant to predict the future. My career as an entrepreneur has never been, I’ve never viewed myself in my entrepreneurial life as a visionary. I’m an opportunist. I think a lot of career entrepreneurs would describe themselves if they were honest that way. I’m fascinated by the changes that are going to happen that create opportunity. I look forward to seeing what those are and seeing which ones are interesting and see which ones I might play a part in somehow. My crystal ball, the older I’ve got the more I realize how lousy my crystal ball is. Back when we went to distributed computing, I was convinced that the Wang machine was going to be the winner. That was this machine that was all it did was word processing because we were convinced that distributed computing was going to be lots of specialized machines and we thought, well, Wang is going to be great because word processing is one of the biggest inefficiencies in the office space. That company came and went within a couple of years. I’ve stopped making that kind of grand prediction and I’m much more interested in understanding emerging trends. We don’t know yet what those emerging trends are going to be. We’ll have to wait and see. It is hard to make these predictions. It’s just too many variables. Today, even if you make a prediction, put it out on WallStreetBats and Reddit, you change reality. Just because you made that prediction, you change reality. You have to think about that too. Based on what you do and if it goes viral, maybe the opposite becomes true. I think we’ve already seen this. We started with COVID in the stock market. We thought it’s going to go down and it did. But then like two months later, since then, it was an enormous bull run, which everyone who watches the real economy couldn’t believe it. But if you watch the digital economy, you know why it went up so much because all this money went somewhere. That’s impossible to predict. It’s impossible to foresee how consumers will change their mind. And therein lies luck, which has been a recurring theme throughout all of this conversation. I try to prepare my students for that. I try to tell them, listen, you’re going to have some periods of good luck and bad luck. It’s just part of it. I’m an avid golfer and I love to use golf metaphors. I can hit the best shot in the world, but if it lands in a weird spot on the turf, I could get a horrible bounce, even though I hit the shot perfectly. And the same thing happens as an entrepreneur. You can execute perfectly, but there’s these variables you can’t control. And those are the ones that are going to affect your score. Those are the ones that are going to make the difference between getting a par or birdie or a double bogey. I have to give it to Nassim Talib one more time with the fool by randomness. I always love that expression. Taking things that are random is actually something that we have control over. Anyway, Jeff, this was awesome. Thank you very much for this conversation. I appreciate the invitation. I was honored to be asked and it was a lot of fun to chat, as always. Same here. Same here. I hope you get to do this again. Would love to. Sounds great. Jeff, thanks for doing this. Take it easy. All right. Talk soon. Bye.

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