|Vincent van Gogh: In der Provence,Public domain (lost by fire)|
I experience a moment of frightening clarity in those moments when nature is so beautiful.-Vincent Van Gogh
Editor's note: I posted this in the wee AM through sleepy eyes and like all things done at those hours, I was worried later that maybe I had done or said the wrong thing. What delight to find a confirmation of sorts posted on ComputerWorld this morning: Silicon Valley's Top Threat Is China
First response: "Orly?" Of course SV is at China's mercy. Is this news? This is exactly why ZaReason is now open to investors. We snagged out first one last week and will be open to investors on an open scale through Kickstart soon.
Per the ComputerWorld article, I don't believe the center of innovation will shift quickly. It is next to impossible to recreate the vibe of Silicon Valley, such a complex, multi-faceted buzz, but SV is very much at China's mercy and it's too proud to recognise that blaringly loud weakness.
Analogy: If you don't grow any food yourselves, you depend on the grocery store. China is nearly the only grocery store in town.
Looks like ComputerWorld had a moment of clarity.
NZ could be, would be, should be a land of intense technological innovation due to two colliding factors:
Clarity + Creativity
1. The fresh open air, pure food chain, respect for a person's need for rest and a strong get-out-in-the-fresh-air culture all combine for clear thought. Take it from someone who has not lived in NZ -- when you pump your body full of steroid-laden meat, toxin-packed energy drinks, and food dyes that are bizarrely unnatural, it does hurt your brain's ability to think clearly.
2. Being separated from other countries often makes it harder to get supplies. In Come On Shore and We Will Kill and Eat You All, a Boston professor tells about her Maori husband's integration into US culture. When they needed a doorbell, he made one out of wire, sticks, and other random objects, things he found on the ground. Common sense. Ingenuity. Creativity: using the earth as your source code.
Clarity + creativity is the elixir of the Gods. So why am I not seeing god-level technology here?
Instead I'm seeing
New Zealand Brain Drain Worst in World
Brain Drain Claims Third of New Zealand's PhDs
If I was a Computer Science professor at a NZ university I would be rightfully ticked off, with an attitude of, "After all I've invested educating these students, they just high-tail it out of here as soon as we give them a degree?" The professors I have met so far have been far more gracious.
|Creative Commons, Jorge Royan, on Wikimedia|
Wondering: Is academia motivated to retain graduates in country, to benefit NZ? Likely. Is the Ministry of Economic Development interested in building a tech reputation for NZ? I hope so. Did I hear some of you laugh at the thought of NZ being a tech leader? Pfft.
Yes, NZ gets new technology -- iTunes, movies, TV shows -- last, but that's actually a +1 in the Clarity and Creativity departments. On the surface, being "behind" in technology may prove to be NZ's saving grace.
Could it be that the real brain drain is occurring outside NZ where these technologies are plentiful?
I don't have enough to support this theory, but it has been dancing around the edges of thought as I look at how various countries are handling IP and their overall infrastructure. The greatest minds tend to go where they are free to think and express and build the end product of their thoughts. The drain is channelled by how we handle the off-flow of our brains, the end product such as a really cool device that was the end result of intensely brilliant thinking on all levels: engineering, industrial design, people who get the product to market, etc.
The latest ad for Massey university expresses the success of their graduates including one who worked on the iPhone team. It is the same approach as Stanford University in California: "Look at the success of our graduates." Stanford touts that it educated the founders of Google, HP, Nike, Sun Microsystems, Paypal, Yahoo, and Time Warner. Note these are all big corporations: big but not necessarily good.
During the last two months as I established ZaReason in NZ, talking with the various organisations that regulate business along with fellow business owners, I am 100% convinced that NZ has managed to create, possibly by accident, a business environment that fosters "good" in its many forms. It is an effortless good. It just is. There is competition without greed; success without dominance; striving without strain. NZ may have problems, but it's hidden gem is that it has a intangible, unregulated, nearly indescribable "good business" culture at its core.
Setting up a computer company in Silicon Valley wasn't too terribly innovative, but it made sense as Step #1. Setting up a computer company in a small, isolated, often forgotten little country, building it to support Australasia is an honest coupe. Australian techies, help prove this point? Let's show that the Little Guy can succeed in a better, kinder, and even more practical way than what corporations are currently doing globally. We don't need to squash, compete, kill each other. We can just make cool products.
As Mike Forbes said this morning: @mikeforbes, "What a f***ing wonderful day out there. Go make stuff and be excellent to each other."
That's frighteningly beautiful clarity.