The worth of college is greatly contested , particularly to those who might hire graduates. “No longer can we afford to have every kid go to college,” Gary Shapiro, president and CEO of the Consumer Electronics Association said at a recent bloggers’ briefing at the Heritage Foundation. “What we do is we encourage people to go to college promiscuously.”
Similarly, students consistently earn degrees in areas where they cannot acquire jobs. “They shouldn’t be getting a degree in human or race or sex studies where they can’t get a job,” Shapiro averred.
Part of the disconnect comes from the degree to which colleges and universities are insulated from the outside world. “I’m on the board at George Mason University,” Shapiro said. “It’s a great school but the incentive there is to spend, spend, spend.”
After 30 years of experience in the business world, Shapiro has seen hundreds of successes and failures firsthand. These successes were compiled and transformed into the “10 killer strategies of the most successful businessmen.” Shapiro’s new book, Ninja Innovation, connects these strategies and lessons of business with those used by the ninjas of past generations.
The emphasis on innovation is a unique American strategy, according to Shapiro. America stands as one of the only countries in the world where it is acceptable to start a business and fail and reward those who are “willing to take risks.”
One of the most important causes of business growth is the health of the economy. Currently, “our government is hurting us, spending money they don’t have,” according to Shapiro. He believes the most important thing his company has contributed to the economy has been their astonishing growth.
“Innovation comes from free market, free trade, the ability to get the best and the brightest people in the world, which is why the immigration debate is so important.” Shapiro said. A strong focus on growth and innovation is vital in any successful business.
Shapiro attributes many successes in business to the importance of working in a team. “Nobody does this by themselves,” Shapiro explained. “Put together people who complement your strengths and weaknesses.” In America today, this diversity is seen as a “good thing.” In fact, “it is our greatest strength.”
While in Vietnam, Shapiro noticed the yearning for education amongst the citizens. Parents hire after-school tutors to teach their children English. They dream of sending their children to American schools. “[Here in America,] we’re better at teaching kids how to think out of the box. Our kids ask why and why not. ” Shapiro said.
Looking toward the future, Shapiro sees the innovation of robotics, driver-less cars, and motion detectors as promising new fields of technology. “We are living in a world and an era where anyone with a computer and broadband internet access can create an international business overnight,” Shapiro said.
Ali Swee is an intern at the American Journalism Center, a training program run jointly by Accuracy in Academia and its sister organization— Accuracy in Media.
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