During my visit to The Hub Sao Paulo, I spoke with Gilberto Jr., co-founder of Amanaie, about the role of the Brazilian government in fostering innovation. He said that although the government has committed significant resources to hi tech investments, the money isn’t getting where it is supposed to go. Jr also challenged the notion that there are no startups in Brazil. Along with a small group of partners, Jr. launched a Web site called Startupi, which he said is like a Brazilian TechCrunch. Each week, Startupi profiles 5-10 homegrown startups.
Our first multimedia feature on TechTrotter is an unexpected interview with columnist, author and tastemaker Thomas L. Friedman of The New York Times. Late last week Friedman was spotted hanging around the Columbia Journalism School building and when I saw him Friday, I sprang into action. Although he was loath to discuss why he was on campus, speculation is rampant that is has something to do with the announcement of Pulitzer Prize awards.
Friedman is someone I admire for his prescience and depth of knowledge. The premise of Friedman’s book, ‘The World is Flat,‘ singlehandedly inspired the TechTrotter excursion, because as he told me in our interview, when someone in Philadelphia has a good idea, someone in the Philippines has that idea one second later. I would even venture to say that someone in Philly might have that idea a second after someone in Manila, though I’ve got nothin’ but love for Philly. In sum, competition in a flattened world means that innovation can and will come from unlikely quarters.
While I have been challenged by Friedman’s ideas, since I started reading his column over a decade ago, his image has been tarnished in no small part by his ardent support for the Iraq War, his denunciations of the Obama bailout strategy and his calls for the Federal Government to bailout venture capitalists, his influence will live on in the strength of his ideas, whether or not people are willing to swallow all of what he has to say.
As far as global entrepreneurship and competition from the developing world are concerned, his writing was sage, and I invite you to disagree as politely or forcefully as you wish.