Because American education stimulates creativity and self reliance.
Because Americans have a huge homogenous home market in which to test their product.
Because American culture is the only global culture.
Because being American is not only a nationality but also a can do attitude and American companies hire people with an American attitude wherever they are in the world.
Because success is a rare end in a random distribution of failure and success and America also has the most unsuccessful companies on the internet, the most failures.
Because the American capital markets are the most developed in the world and America is the richest country in the world (in spite of also being the biggest debtor in the world).
Because in America universities and technology companies live side by side and most people have a positive view of business.
Because Americans have the easiest legal environment in which to try people out, an easy hire and fire process essential for the internet. In other countries unusual candidates are not hired cause they cannot easily be fired and “genius” goes undiscovered.
Because the hardware of the internet, companies like Cisco say, is also designed and sometimes made in America.
Now what are the trends that go against America´s lead?
A complicated, random and unpredictable legal system that is making harder to operate with the classical tools of venture capital like stock options.
An oligopolistic telco industry that somehow fights the hand that feeds it combined with the worst mobile telco quality in the whole developed world.
A population that on the average is less educated than that of the Far East and Europe with income inequalities which lead to a lower percentage of the population online.
The still enormous popularity of TV in America that makes people less likely to be in the internet.
Nevertheless American companies as a whole have a huge lead over European and Asian companies. And frankly, a well deserved lead.
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Patrick on January 16, 2007 ·
ACtually, having a lesser educated population compared to Asia is not a handicap at all, especially for such a huge country which also has some of the brightest minds and leaders/entrepreneurs.
This enables mass consumer product sales to take place with greater ease and too much education, including cultural education (US average citizens are also pretty low on the scale of reading books and individual thought forming) can hinder this as less consumer accept to be fashion victims.
Patrick on January 16, 2007 ·
A futuristic view of where it will all go would be interesting here.
Stockbrokers usually advertising their fund performance when it is highest and about to go down for the next cycle. Is this the case for the US.
As everything in life only death and taxes is certain and the US cannot escape it’s decline unless it is absorbed by something else or its development is influenced by adifferent forces. Right now it is based on values of money, money and energy consumption. Probably bigger than the dinosaur saga is that the latter ignorance of global warming could be its undoing as every year climatic shocks land on the US region and polution levels grow irresponsibly.
A prediction: over confidence will be the biggest undoing of the US. This is how great nations always end as great leaders or group of leaders have huge egos and no one dares tell the king when he is naked.
Antoin O Lachtnain on January 16, 2007 ·
Another obvious factor: the American market has an enormous appetite for new stuff and dealing with new vendors. We in Europe can be quite standoffish about new things and new people.
Manuel on January 16, 2007 ·
Yes, Martin, what a great post, ¡100% de acuerdo!
Antoin (#4) raises a very important point as well: confidence in new vendors. How many large companies (public or private) in Europe don’t deal at all with any startup? In Spain, I can give you a thousand examples (RENFE, AENA, Iberia, Telefónica, etc.) of great innovative technology not being adopted because the (startup) company offering it is not 50 years old nor an insider in their old-boys network…
Oh well, their loss (our loss really)!
Ale F on January 17, 2007 ·
Juan Gonzalez on January 19, 2007 ·
Soon the phrase “American companies” will be an oxymoron as corporations reaching global scale tend to forget where they came from. Shareholders (and their pockets) are not loyal to a nation but to a particular fiscal regime. So yes, many of your arguments are correct, but to assume that all the various mechanisms that have promoted innovation are exclusive of the U.S.A. is an important flaw in your argument, specially when globalization is pushing the winning formulas elsewhere at “internet” speed.
The U.S.A. have a huge *heterogeneous* home market. Check the stats about the variety of its composition. I would argue that American is not the only global culture, but the other way around: Americans have been steadily incorporating elements from global cultures, making them wildly diverse.
Craig on January 23, 2007 ·
Of course it helps that while the US administration protects many of its own markets from foreign companies (newspapers, banks and financial institutions, television, radio and airlines etc.), the US administration will seemingly stop at nothing to ensure every other market in the world is open to exploitation by American companies.
I’m remembering how many people went out of business in Scotland because the US embargoed: cheeses, craft-goods, woolen-goods etc. etc. because Europe insisted on continuing to buy bananas from the windward isles and the US banana co’s wanted the business and lobbied the US administration to get a trade embargo that put hundreds of european businesses down the drain.
And then there’s the extra help the CIA provide with intel from project echelon (shame that one got out the bag, after a French defence company lost a multi-million dollar contract).
And of course it’s always handy to have an administration that is willing to go into a country and level it so US companies get to divvy up the business of rebuilding between them.
Hernán on January 23, 2007 ·
My feeling on the American development is that anybody with a great idea has infinitely more chances of making it happen in the US than in any other country.
80% of all companies close down within 2 years of opening, but there is little unemployment, meaning that those out of business have the possibility to reinsert in the production cycle… Isn´t that great? I associate that to the story of the lab mice that are put to swim for some time and then given a piece of wood or something so they can hold on to it. That way, on next times they will hold on longer, because they know there´s a life vest coming. Something similir, I think, happens to entrepreneurs in the US. Take a look at most success stories in the silicon valley.
Martin Varsavsky on January 24, 2007 ·
That´s true Hernan. In America new ideas blossom.
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Nicolás on January 16, 2007 ·
Otro motivo importante por el cual creo que EEUU es muy exitoso en Internet, es porque un joven creativo tiene posibilidades para crear sus proyectos, donde no sólo está bien visto por el gobierno y sus leyes sino que también socialmente. Además integran muchísimo internet a sus vidas, fenómeno que estoy notando mucho en Argentina también.
Poniendo el ejemplo de eBay que conozco bastante porque estuve por ir a trabajar allí hace unos años, fue que mucha gente estaba preocupada pensando que sus locales bajarían las ventas debido al crecimiento y demanda del público sobre los sitios de subastas; pero finalmente los mismos locales terminaron teniendo tiendas virtuales en eBay y aumentando aun más su posibilidad de trabajo.
También noto mucha gente posee bastante tiempo libre, son muy sedentarios y fáciles de convencer en masa por los medios. Por eso cada vez que un medio de comunicación comenta algo de internet (un video de YouTube por ejemplo) automáticamente la persona de ese video se hace famosa.
Finalmente y motivo obvio, Estados Unidos es un ejemplo cultural en todo sentido. Hablando con coreanos y japoneses que conocí últimamente aquí en España, me comentan que hoy Estados Unidos es una moda y como tal siguen todo.
Esos son algunos de los motivos, además de lo que comentaste, por lo cual pienso que son tan exitosos.
A modo de opinión personal, creo que las empresas norteamericanas de internet son las más exitosas porque son las únicas que están apuntadas para “comercio interno” pero son muy “friendly” para el público internacional.
Me pareció un post muy interesante.