I wasn’t surprised to hear President Obama tell small business owners recently that they “didn’t build their business, someone else did”.
I must say he received a lot of unfair criticism but after reading his full speech several times, he is starting to make a lot of sense to me.
I guess I didn’t build the road that leads up to my business nor did I make the desk or chair that I use in my office… someone else did.
The Olympic athletes didn’t earn their gold medals since they had coaches who spent hours preparing them for the event… someone else did.
I guess Al Gore didn’t invent the internet after all… someone else did.
The media didn’t adequately report the rest of our President’s comments so I will accurately quote him.
I am particularly relieved to know that we don’t have to be smart anymore. It saves me from having to pay for my children’s education. I can just point to this quote by our president as I give my kids a job application to McDonalds.
“I’m always struck by people who think ‘well, it must be because I was just so smart” said President Obama.
I think that quote may be problematic for him because I believe a lot of people voted for him last time becausethey thought he was “just so smart”. Now we know… it wasn’t necessarily true.
I understand what our President was trying to say in spite of his efforts to the contrary. He meant to imply that our businesses didn’t become successful without government intervention or the many prior contributions by others.
It would seem however, to the casual observer that many great businesses occurred because someone wentagainst conventional wisdom and utilized individual initiative instead of group consensus or governmental interaction.
Henry Ford didn’t invent the automobile but he did find a way to make it accessible to the masses. His innovative use of the assembly line helped to make his cars more affordable for the average consumer.
Henry Ford, according to our President, shouldn’t get much credit since he borrowed ideas from others to make his product better. I would hazard a guess however that Mr. Ford took a great personal risk and utilized individual creativity to design something that others hadn’t thought of before.
Our history is replete with stories of very smart and hard working individuals who became successful not because they were simply the byproduct of communal work efforts or governmental interaction.
Apple computer and Microsoft were started by Steve Jobs and Bill Gates who were fabulously successfulbecause they happen to be “just so smart”.
Our President went on to add; “It must be because I worked harder than everybody else. Let me tell you something—there are a whole bunch of hardworking people out there!”
So you don’t have to be smart anymore and now you don’t even have to work harder than everyone else to be successful. That is such a relief. I know a lot of government workers who will be happy to hear that.
It is rumored that Thomas Edison tried over 1,000 times before coming up with his long lasting light bulb. I guess if he hadn’t worked so hard, you would be reading this blog with a candle.
I am trying to wrap my mind around this new business paradigm on how we all can now all “underachieve our way to financial success”.
President Obama went on to say that while individuals matter, we can accomplish much more if we work together. He went on to point out that we would be more successful working together to put out forest fires than trying individually to do the same tasks. I would also agree with a small caveat.
I seem to remember the story of the “Greedy Fat Hen” that I blogged about earlier. When she asked for help, no one stepped up, so she ended up doing everything herself.
While it is fanciful to think that we can all hold hands and skip around together putting out the forest fires in life, it seems to contradict a fundamental flaw in human nature which dictates that – If I can sit around and do nothing and get the same benefit as the one who ends up doing all the work – than what is the point?
I guess I am not “smart” enough to figure that anomaly so I will trust our leaders to resolve this dilemma as I head over for my mid-day siesta.
I, for one, now understand why President Obama is so firmly in Joe Biden’s corner as his Vice President. If Biden can get to the second highest office in the land there should be hope for all of us.
He represents the new successful model for us all of us to emulate… not too smart and not too hard working.
I don’t mean to disparage our Vice President, however it points to a larger defect in our President’s remarks which tends to marginalize the intellect and work ethics of our captains’ of industry and give excessive credit to others when none is required.