Tuesday, March 28, 2006

I have been doing an incredible amount of travel this year and have a long way to go in terms of miles and months in 2006. I have dubbed it the "thehoenixnyc 2006 love, learning and money" tour. Some of you have been following my progress thus far, others may be new to the site and the tour.

So far I have made stops in:

Dublin, Las Vegas, Minneapolis, Sioux Falls, Kansas City, Omaha, Chicago, Miami
Seattle, Portland, Madison and Philadelphia.

Upcoming dates will include:

Beijing, Shanghai, Hong Kong, Guangzhou, Indianapolis, Detroit, Sevilla, Madrid, Beiritz, Paris, London, Detroit, Indianapolis, Detroit, Chicago, Los Angeles and San Francisco

Each stop brings it own rewards, lots to learn, lots of loving and in some spots, some money to be made.

This past weekend I was in Philadelphia to give a speech at the University of Pennsylvania's Wharton School of Business' annual "China Business Conference." My topic was "Manufacturing and Sourcing in China." I will not go into detail about the speech or the conference here (suffice it to say the speech went very well and was warmly received), that is not my focus at the moment.

My audience was made up of undergrads, MBA students, professors and business people.

I was most impressed by the students. Before and after my speech I was able to talk with a couple of dozen of these amazing people.

We are all familiar by now with the concept of globalization and the zeitgeist it has created concerning the pro and anti globalization movements around the world.

No single work has captured the importance and has become a touchpoint for the subject than Thomas Friedman's "The World is Flat." In the book Friedman details how India and China have come to epitomize the new epoch in world culture, economics, education and power shifts, that the world is flat and there is opportunity for people from all over the world to learn, grow and prosper. That the world's economies are now interdependent rather than independent.

Of course having worked in China for a time now I have seen this firsthand on a daily basis.

What I saw Saturday only reinforced some key points about the rise of Asia and the dangerously close prospect of the US not responding and falling by the wayside.

-These kids are brilliant, hungry and ambitious. They are focused and want to go back to China and India and Korea when they are done with their educations here. Most used to stay. They are polite, well-raised, humble and going places.

-American kids are increasingly fat, lazy, ill-educated, bling wearing, nasty, intemperate, self centered louts with huge senses of entitlement for who education is a burden rather than a priveledge.

To compete with China and India we must:

-Not go into a protectionist cocoon hiding behind tariffs

-Accept that commoditized factory jobs are gone and not coming back

-Focus on innovation, science, technology and education

-Spend less on defense and more on education

-Understand the opportunities inherent in globalization, not focus on paranoid dreams of lost sovereignty.

Right now, I am placing my bet on the kids from China and India.