American Anti-Intellectualism and the Software Industry

41% of Americans believe that definitely or probably humans and dinosaurs coexisted. Source.

A sitting congressman, Paul Broun, a medical doctor no less, told a crowd that evolution and the Big Bang were “lies straight from the pit of hell.” Source.

The chairman of the Senate environmental panel brought a snowball to the floor as evidence that climate change is a hoax. Source.

Congressman Todd Akin said it was his understanding from doctors that it’s rare for someone to become pregnant from rape.  He said, “The female body has ways to try and shut that whole thing down.” Source.

By our public promotion of anti-intellectualism, this country is losing out to economic and cultural forces overseas. Our manufacturing jobs are moving overseas.

However, the world’s top brains are still coming to the United States to “make it here.”

Last week I attended an introductory meeting by a company that specializes in being a sales broker for software companies – Corum.  In the room were about 40 or so founders or CEOs of local San Diego software companies. In the beginning, each of us stood up to introduce ourselves, our companies and our products in a 30-second elevator speech. I didn’t keep an exact tally, but about 75% of the executives were foreign-born. Of all the people introducing themselves, there were no more than ten who were obviously born and raised in the United States – the rest had some kind of accent – ironically – including myself.

This is admittedly a very small sample, and it’s anecdotal, but it was a striking realization to me: Foreigners come to the United States, start software companies, and then grow them and make them successful.

Where are the American born software business superstars?

They are apparently a minority.

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