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Note: This article is an authorized excerpt from Ryan’s upcoming book, Zero to One Million [more information].

The Eleven Things You Must Know to Succeed in a Globalized World

There is a new breed of entrepreneurs that is already beginning to make their mark on our world. I am one of them. We are the eighties generation. We are as the music group POD says, “The Youth of the Nation.” While yes, there are many of us who are disillusioned, uncaring, depressed, and unethical; I am seeing today something truly amazing. There is a subculture of youth in both the United States and in every country in the world that gets it.

I am very fortunate to have friends in close to fifty countries. As I wrote a few pages ago, in 2000, I was lucky enough to receive a scholarship to go on a 53-day expedition to Spain, Florida, New Mexico, and Mexico called La Ruta Quetzal. On this trip I met three hundred fifty students for forty-three different countries. It has truly been priceless to be able to have these contacts. For example, during the Argentinean economic collapse in early 2002 I was able to jump on my computer and email Ana from Buenos Aires to see what the real situation was like. When a U.S. spy-plane was shot down in China in April 2001, I was able to email my friend Sonsoles in Beijing to get her take on the incident and her thoughts on what Jiang Zemin would do.

During the World Cup in June of 2002 I was able to chat live with my friend Kevin in Dublin as he grieved over each missed penalty kick in their overtime elimination defeat to Spain. For the pre-1980 people reading, would it not have amazed you when you were 17 to have the ability to chat live from Florida with your friend in Dublin while both watching the same penalty shot being taken at the exact same time in Seoul, South Korea?

This new breed of entrepreneurs, even if we all do not yet fully grasp the impact of globalization and how important the Internet truly is, are either going through college right now or will in the next five years. Our case studies we will have in Financial Management 202 will not be the rudimentary mathematical bores they perhaps were for many in their college days of old. They will be riveting tales of unlimited wealth, power, and innovation; in some cases collapse and fraud and in others extraordinary success.

I said a few paragraphs ago “there is a subculture of youth in both the United States and in every country in the world that gets it.” But what it is that we get? We understand the following:

  1. The world is global and interconnected. A negative economic report from one country can ravage the economy of a continent; overnight. A trillion dollars can leave a country with the click of a few mice. An explosion in Shanghai can cause bond prices in London to jump 10% within an hour.

  2. Anyone with $1000 and some intelligence can either make a billion dollars or destroy the world.

  3. In our economic prosperity, we must strive towards creating a sustainable existence or else the end of our lives and our children’s lives will be years of horror and pain.

  4. Education is important, both in school and out, but formal liberal arts academic education will not give us the financial knowledge we need to be financially prosperous. As Thomas J. Stanley states in The Millionaire Mind, having a 1000 or 1500 on your SATs has no correlation to your likely net worth in twenty years.

  5. If one is going to become extraordinarily wealthy they better have integrity, ethics, and keep their accounting truthful and accurate.

  6. The world is going to change in tremendous ways over our lifetime.

  7. Competitive market economies work. An incentive system is necessary to get workers to work and a price system is necessary to properly allocate a limited supply of resources and goods. Competition is necessary to keep everyone honest and working efficiently to produce the optimum output with the minimum input. Although some believe capitalism creates inequities and is immoral, it is a few of the participants within this system that cause these unfair inequities. This lack of integrity among some participants will always be present. However, due to intelligent laws, regulations, oversight and the inherent positive properties of the market such as transparency and a better educated proletariat this ethical problem is much better now than in the days of centralized ownership of resources and dictatorships. State-owned enterprises breed inefficiency, corruption, and nepotism.

  8. However, without honest, ethical, and compassionate people at the helm of capitalism, or the proper laws and legal institutions to ensure this integrity, capitalism is no better than Communism, Socialism, or Anarchy. Further, we must always take principle #4 into account.

  9. For prosperity to spread to developing countries we must not look to short run elixirs. It took 175 years to turn the U.S. into an economic superpower. The same change cannot take place in Somalia, Botswana, or Afghanistan without the proper development of human capital, industrial capital, and fundamental legal groundwork.

  10. It is not he who works the hardest that succeeds; it is he who has the best ideas and works with the most intelligence.

  11. That ability to adapt to change and ability to learn quickly is as important as what you know right now.

Unless one understands these principles, he or she will have a hard time becoming successful in their lifetime. While the large majority of American youth do not (at least yet) have the faintest ideas of what these principles are or what they mean, there is a growing minority that does. The public secondary educational system of The United States, in many places though not in all, is so antiquated that at times it seems that instead of teaching the above principles they are teaching students to be provincial, closed-minded, economically-challenged, and financially inept. It almost seems if we are taught from 1st through 12th grade to believe that the U.S. is the only country in the world, the only one that matters, and that our goal after we leave school should be to search for a secure well-paying job. These ideas will not produce the dynamic innovators and leaders needed to tackle the problems of this new century.

However, there is a growing minority of youth in the U.S. that does understand the world, globalization, a bit of history, and the basic concepts of business and economics. More importantly, the eighties generation throughout most of the rest of the world is not so provincial. On my 2000 Ruta Quetzal Expedition I was embarrassed to only know two languages. Most of the participants, all just fifteen and sixteen like I, knew at least four languages, and some knew as many as six. They not only knew the languages, but they understood the culture of whomever they were speaking with, whether they were Japanese, Swedish, Columbian, American, or Malaysian. The world is growing smaller by the day, and anyone who does not understand world culture, speak another language, or grasp globalization will have a glass ceiling in their profession and in their life.

There has been some great progress on this front recently. Books such as The Lexus and the Olive Tree by Thomas L. Friedman, The Commanding Heights by Daniel Yergin and Joseph Stainslaw, Rich Dad’s Guide to Investing by Robert T. Kiyosaki, Globalization and Its Discontents by Joseph E. Stiglitz, and Wealth and Democracy by Kevin Phillips enlighten us all.

This Economics & Policy article was written by Ryan P Allis on 2/9/2005

Ryan P. Allis, 20, is the author of Zero to One Million, a guide to building a company to $1 million in sales, and the founder of Ryan is also the CEO of Broadwick Corp., a provider of the permission-based email marketing software and CEO of Virante, Inc., a web marketing and search engine optimization firm. Ryan is an economics major at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, where he is a Blanchard Scholar. [learn more.