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There is a strange phenomenon occurring in the United States. On the one hand, Americans have a long tradition of championing the entrepreneur, the underdog who strikes out alone and captures the American Dream. On the other hand, successful entrepreneurs today are facing hostile arguments that say their success makes them the bad guy.
The need for job creation and economic growth dominates nearly every aspect of the current public debate, from STEM education to immigration reform to government programs. For many, whatever does not contribute to improving the job market and the national economy is a low priority, relegated to the sidelines until the country is back on its feet.
Amazing! Today’s iPhones have the same capabilities (and more!) than 13 distinct electronics gadgets, worth more than $3,000, found in a 1991 Radio Shack ad.
As a tough winter marches on, I am reminded of the adage parents sometimes hand down to their children: "Every person is a unique snowflake." It’s the kind of sentiment that makes children feel special, but within that saying is a sage piece of wisdom for businesses competing in the globalized marketplace. Every consumer is unique; realizing new opportunities demands a new approach to responding to very different product demands by different parts of the world.
Information technology is elevating and disrupting most of the economy, and its potential to transform public sector services and lagging portions of the private sector is obvious and important. When governments do deploy IT, however, they often spend too much and increase complexity without improving service. Witness the botched launch of Healthcare.gov – perhaps the largest IT failure in history. In other cases, public policy discourages private firms and industries from investing in IT and using it to innovate.
Data fuels America’s economic engine, but few of us ever look under the hood. We’re usually content to leave its detailed workings alone while we go on consuming and producing endless streams of information. All the while, data grows in significance and value to our everyday lives.