A few years ago, I came across a video of Bono from the band U2 giving a speech to a group in Washington, D.C. It inspired me to write a column that I feel is appropriate to revisit and re-share with you as we celebrate our independence this week.
The internet is amazing for business. But it is not the best idea ever.
The cellphone is a great tool. But it is not the best idea ever.
Computers and printers have taken businesses to another level. But they are not the best ideas ever.
Planes, trains and automobiles transporting people to perform services and deliver products are extremely beneficial to business. However, they are not the best ideas ever.
Ideas, inventions and advancements created and made reality are vast. Results and successes of these and millions of other ideas are varied.
While the internet is not the best idea ever, it is only fair to point out the internet along with a cellphone equipped with a video camera and a social media platform helped me realize what the best idea ever is.
In November 2012, Bono spoke at Georgetown University. His speech was recorded, and elements were extracted and posted on social media sites. A friend posted an excerpt from Bono’s speech. It reminded me exactly what the best idea ever is.
Bono was talking about “keeping faith with the idea of America.” He added, “Because America is an idea, isn’t it?”
As someone who grew up in Ireland, Bono’s perspective of our country is different than that of most of us who have been fortunate to have been raised here. He is correct. America is an idea.
In reflecting on his words, it became apparent to me that America is the best idea ever, especially with respect to the opportunity America provides us in business.
America is the best idea ever because it played a tremendous part in many of the ideas, inventions and advancements mentioned earlier. The design, development and delivery of America spawned innovation throughout our nation.
And while every part of this great land of ours, including many regional economies, do not innovate and grow as other portions do, the potential to do so exists because the idea of America creates opportunity and has the framework to foster new ideas.
The fabric of our country is not without stains of dark or less-than-stellar moments of pride.
There are more than a few wrinkles in our flag. Through determination and a desire to create a better America for all, as a country, we have worked and continue to work to iron those wrinkles out.
Through the trials and tribulations of our country’s birth and continued growth, America has remained and continues to be an idea. It has been an idea that has allowed individuals to birth and grow great ideas of their own.
Entrepreneurship is not only alive and well in America today; it is a huge part of our past and future. Entrepreneurs and their new ideas will continue to be a catalyst for growth, change and disruption of the business world as we know it.
In the past 20 years, I have had the rare opportunity to listen to and also share when appropriate the ideas and stories of Americans from all walks of life. My work has allowed me to interact with Americans of every color and culture that represent the diversity of our region.
Before, during and after our conversations, people create and share their ideas. Some ideas are new, while some are tried and true ideas that others have pioneered. Some people would like to take those ideas to another level or in another direction.
They are not all great ideas. Even though some are amazing, groundbreaking, innovative, industry disrupting, creative, bordering on brilliant ideas, they are not the best idea ever.
You know what holds that title. That title lies with us and in us and among us. The best idea ever is America. I am thankful and in awe of an idea that allows anyone in our country to get up and decide to start their own business. To be an idea where you can grow businesses filled with ideas.
I am not only thankful to be who I am and where I am in America, I am thankful to be an American. Sometimes, it is easy to forget we are part of the idea of America — the best idea ever.