The second day of the New York Forum — an annual event dedicated to forging collaborations and finding solutions to today’s most pressing issues — began with a panel discussion on the topic“America, The Ordinary?” The video of the complete session (in two parts) can be accessed below or by clicking these links: Part 1 / Part 2.
Participating on the panel were Endeavor Co-Founder and CEO Linda Rottenberg, in addition to Esther Dyson (Chairman, EDventure Holdings), Thomas Friedman (Columnist, The New York Times), Jeffrey Kindler (former Chairman and CEO, Pfizer), Jonathan Miller (CEO, NewsCorp Digital), and Edmund Phelps (Director, Center on Capitalism and Society, Columbia University; Nobel Prize in Economics, 2006). CNBC anchor Maria Bartiromo moderated the panel.
Bartiromo kicked off the panel bluntly: “Has the U.S. lost its edge?”
Answers to the question varied from frustrated to optimistic. Rottenberg emphasized that the United States is still extraordinary, but can learn much from emerging markets such as the ones Endeavor supports. The confidence and rapid growth in these markets have the potential to benefit the U.S., which panelists agreed is in need of an entrepreneurial jolt.
With the explosion of tech businesses and buzz, innovation and entrepreneurship have become nearly synonymous with new technology. “Optimism about innovation in America is inspired by headline innovations in Silicon Valley,” asserted Edmund Phelps, “but if you look across the breadth of the economy, you come away feeling that the typical company is less innovative than it was before.”
Rottenberg underscored the point that innovation is not limited to tech companies, drawing on the example of successful Endeavor Entrepreneurs operating in traditional bricks-and-mortar industries. She asserted that family and consumer-driven businesses in these industries could become engines of growth and job creation in the U.S. as they have in emerging markets.
Meanwhile, panelists recognized that high technology continues to play a major role in domestic innovation. “Cloud computing, social web, YouTube…they all came out of the US literally in this last decade,” acknowledged Jonathan Miller. “We have a system in which people can get money from angels, VC and that system is really good.”
The point was also raised that while America is still a world leader with transformative influence, entrepreneurs have much to gain by learning from emerging markets — embracing them and the spirit they embody. Said Rottenberg: “You can be both global and make your country great.”