So these beliefs, are there other leaders, heads of companies, that you would say have them?
DAVISON: An example today would be someone like Steve Jobs. A person from the past would be Sloan, who pretty much built General Motors. If you read about them, you’ll get it square between the eyes about what it takes to make a mark on the world and do something good. Then, of course, there’s Floyd Ganassi, who is one of the businessmen from those breakfast meetings and a mentor of mine.
What business was he in?
DAVISON: He was in sand and gravel. Sand, gravel, and dredging operations. He had concrete and asphalt operations too. He started with nothing, and I think that’s probably the best lesson I’ve seen. I’ve watched people who started with nothing make wonderful things happen. And I think what’s important for people to understand is that it can still be done in America. You can still start with nothing, you can still build something fabulous, and you can still dream here. That may be the moral of the story… and why InventionLand is in America.
But in the scope of where we’re going as a global planet, the U.S. will continue to lead. Our model embraces freedom, which empowers certain people to explore and discover newness.
It’s been said that the 19th century belonged to the United Kingdom and the 20th century belonged to the U.S. We are now in the 21st century. Who does this belong to from what you feel now?
DAVISON: It belongs to the U.S. And it will for many centuries in my opinion. The way I see it is with the large creative class of people that we have educated, to the military power that we have, we’re going in the right direction because we can protect ourselves, which allows us the freedom to do what we want to do. I think this is probably one of the best times to be alive on the planet. We have little bits and pieces of battles going on around the world, but overall, you’re seeing the level of life that people live improve globally. It may not seem that way because communication is so vast today and people are attracted to negativity, but the simple fact is that people are continuing to increase their quality of life worldwide.
The bottom line is most people have shelter today. Most people have food and water. More people are getting educated today on the planet than ever before. There’s still oppression. There are still all sorts of problems. But in the scope of where we’re going as a global planet, the U.S. will continue to lead. Our model embraces freedom, which empowers certain people to explore and discover newness. Some foreign countries have serious issues yet with the basics like Internet freedom. A lot of people in those countries know there’s a whole other Internet in the world. So there is a trust disconnect between their creative class and their government. They are creating limitations on themselves because they haven’t embraced the freedom model. It will be ages before they get their basics ironed out, so we will continue to be the creative leader.
So countries like India, with a very large resource of high tech workers, knowledge workers — even Europe, which has been considered a sleeper for a while, and France seem to want to be more engaged in things. Russia is on its way back in many ways. So with these players again talking about globalization, if the U.S. is a continued creative leader, and let’s say that China is a manufacturing leader — its biggest benefit is manufacturing, how does the U.S. work with India, as the U.S. has outsourced manufacturing, very often the technology, help systems, support — software support is outsourced to India — so how does the U.S., in your view, continue to work — and it seems to be beneficial. The costs go down. Globalization is showing that we tend to get a better product at a lower cost structure. How does the U.S. continue to do this? How do we continue to stay ahead, contribute, and have good relationships with these countries?
DAVISON: We continue to stay ahead by continuing to create what the world needs before they really know they need it. When we continue to create the first of this and the first of that, we can charge a premium for that first place position. We are using our mental might to create value and that also pays the creative class of people better wages.
I’ll give you a simple analogy: Let’s say that you make $25.00 an hour at work. And you can come home and cut your grass and it’s going to take you, let’s say, four hours to cut your grass, which is $100 of your time to cut your grass. Or you can pay somebody to cut your grass for you for 20 dollars. Just look at how you are investing your time. So, do I want to invest that four hours of my time cutting my grass, or do I want to just pay 20 dollars so I can use my time more wisely? America is making the best use of its human time. Our best people are focused on what the future is all about, how we’re going to create that future. And then we outsource all the lower cost things to do. For example, having a call center is not science anymore. You outsource that the same way you outsource your grass cutting so you can focus on the next innovation.
And despite the rise of these countries and their respective abilities, it’s been said they’ll still look to the U.S. for leadership on any number of things.
DAVISON: I would agree with that because people or countries looking to learn will select a knowledgeable mentor to emulate. As long as we continue our quest to keep being the leader of innovation, ingenuity and creativity, we’ll be fine. I really think that you’ll still see that be a role of the U.S. Our country is mentoring lots of countries currently. We have an attractive economic model that has 200 years of experience in it. We also have a lot of talented people trying to inspire these countries to chase the dream. We will continue to build a better global team of countries as long as we mentor and lead by good example.