Tuesday, September 06, 2011

Two new jobs today! A great interview with Thomas Friedman

We made two new jobs at the Innovation Kitchen today. We're inventing stuff, making stuff, expanding our enterprise and helping create and grow small businesses across our region and beyond.

There was a good interview this evening with Thomas Friedman, NY Times correspondent and three time Pulitzer Prize winner titled, 'How America Fell Behind'. It was on NPR's All Things Considered (linked below).

The interview focused on a new book Mr. Friedman helped co-author: 'That Used To Be Us: How America Fell Behind in the World It Invented and How We Can Come Back' by Thomas L. Friedman and Michael Mandelbaum, published in September 2011.

I have not read the full book yet but excerpts and this interview will insure I do.

What has caught my attention profoundly is Mr. Friedman's strong focus on the strengths and ingenuity of our United States citizens and how we can compete wisely and successfully going forward in an economic world undergoing great upheaval.

In discussing the ineffective and transient role multinational companies play in the long term economic development life of our communities, Mr Friedman talks about ways we can utilize our own strengths to rebuild our country from the bottom up, with resources within all of us.

Emphasis added:

"What needs to be our vision going forward?"

"There is kind of a hankering today of 'When is Ford going to put in that 50,000 worker factory in my city, and when is Intel going to come? Folks, it's not going to happen. Because those factories are all incredibly roboticized, automated, and they are capital intensive, not labor intensive."

"We are not going to have a 50,000 person factory in your town. What we need are 50,000 people, 1,000 of whom are starting jobs for 10 people, 50 of whom (starting jobs for) for 100, 100 of whom for 30. That - everybody needs to be starting something."

(Mr. Friedman on why he is optimistic about our future in America)

"This country is full of people today who just didn't get the word.... they just didn't get the word that we are down and out, they just didn't get the word that Washington is paralyzed."

"And they go out and start stuff, and invent stuff, and fix stuff, and make stuff, no matter what's going on in Washington."

I love that - everyone needs to start something! People all over are starting stuff and making change in their own communities.

Today we welcomed two new employees to the Innovation Kitchen. Our workforce of folks with disabilities is now about 35. Welcome! And tomorrow I'm meeting with my favorite College President to discuss hiring some of their graduates to meet the needs of our growing regional food initiatives.

It's great being among people that didn't get the word we can't change the world.


Listen to the NPR interview with Thomas Friedman, Sept. 6, 2011.

Hodan Center's Wisconsin Innovation Kitchen in Iowa County, Wisconsin

Photo of Thomas Friedman is from his Wikipedia page

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