Bin Laden: Dead. Entrepreneurship: Alive.
A typical Sunday night at 10:30 PM here in New York and I’m in between conference calls when my Co-Founder Jared O’Toole rings me, probably to yell at me for something, when he halts mid sentence to tell me Obama is making a major announcement. Instantly, I command+tab from my Google Voice line to Tweetdeck and see rumors flying of Osama Bin Laden’s death.
My call would have to wait. This is serious. Within 10 seconds I’m streaming Al Jazeera TV, a westernized Middle Eastern news broadcast from Qatar. I’d never watched, but it’s pretty raw stuff, ie: a live interview with a Saudi friend of Bin Laden who said bluntly “he turned extreme”. There were also plenty of clips of people celebrating outside the White House for the whole world to see after the official announcement of Bin Laden’s assassination.
This is all way too close to home.
I can see 7 World Trade Center from my apartment, so being woken up by a fire truck in the early morning hours wasn’t exactly how I wanted to start my Monday morning. I open my my Mac to Al Jazeera again and see their reporter outside Ground Zero; she is standing directly outside the place where I get my haircut. It hits me that I’m watching a newscast from the Middle East about the most deadly terrorist attack in American history that happened right down the street. I decide to go for my morning run to burn some stress and as commuters pour off the ferry into FiDi, the paper boy is shouting, “Read All About It! Osama Is Killed!”
The World Is Flat but mainly SMALL
Hop back on Twitter and see someone being retweeted by the name of @ReallyVirtual who had apparently broken the news about the helicopters coming in to his small town of Abbottabad, unknowingly.
Click his bio and see this guy is just another Pakistani dude like the Under30CEO readers that send us emails everyday; running an IT business, hanging out in coffee shops in their respective countries.
I read three tweets before the helicopter sighting and he’s talking about running an IT business from a country where electricity is a luxury.
Instantly, I think of one of our newest Under30CEO Members from Nepal, Raja Ram Nepal who’s father migrated as a merchant from his small village 170km outside of Kathmandu to the capital city to start his business.
Raja tells me in “the country where there are no roads, and 12hrs each day we live without electricity. But I know its a great opportunity for myself. I have survived toughest 7 years in the history of my country. Its getting better, and I can thrive fast.”
Against all odds, Raja’s company Sabaiko Technologies now employs 14 people and hosts 1800 websites, after several failed attempts.
It’s Entrepreneurship That Makes The World Great
Feeling overwhelmed by the solidarity of the whole event, the speed at which we are ingesting this information (ie: @ReallyVirtual tweeting pics of Bin Laden’s compound from his friends back porch, while the whole time I thought he was in a cave somewhere) and a few too many sirens in the neighborhood I was ready to pack it in and escape to the suburbs for a few days.
But, only until the entrepreneurial hustle that is so ingrained in NYC took over again. I read my friend John Exley’s crazy story about he clawed his way into startup Hashable. I got several invitations to meet with Zaarly’s Team, who New York Times said could be the future of mobile money and markets. Then it hit me: just like our friends in Abbottabad, Pakistan, we all take some time to reflect and then go back to hustling; we live in a time like never before.
Because of entrepreneurship and shoddy internet/electricity all over the world, we are seeing the democratization of entire nations. Entrepreneurs featured on Under30CEO are making it possible to start revolutions in Egypt and Libya like the founder of HotSpot Shield who’s software helped millions of revolutionaries. Other business owners email us trying to figure out how to get their Nigerian Naira currency to convert to Paypal US Dollars so they can join our organization for young entrepreneurs and some are simply taking a break from the rat-race by hiding in the mountains down the street from Osama Bin Laden.
So the next time someone says the under 30 crowd’s companies aren’t making any impact and nobody cares what you had for lunch, remind them it’s these companies that are making information, ideas and wealth flow seamlessly around the world. It’s entrepreneurs that are creating these amazing opportunities that were previously non existent and at the core of this all are leaders trying to make the world a better place.