This episode of This American Life is fascinating. It’s a story about the fundraising requirements for senators and congresspeople. What surprised me is that members are congress are hustling lobbyists for funding– not the other way around.
It was reported that congresspeople in the US spend up to 2-3 hours a day raising funds. As an example, Democratic House Leader Nancy Pelosi attended 400 fundraising events last year.
A few things seem, on the surface, to be obvious:
- This is a bad way for legislators to be spending any of their time, let alone 2-3 hours a day.
- If a company operated like this it would likely serve it’s customers poorly, create bad products, and go out of business.
At the end of the episode, there’s a moment when John McCain laments the fact that he had to attend a fundraiser rather than watch a basketball game. It was a moment of levity, but I was thinking here’s a guy that was almost the president of the US wasting his time.
Smarter, more focused, and better utilized people at companies like Facebook and Google aren’t having the same conflicts of interest.
Is it likely that many of the problems governments have failed to address effectively will probably never be solved by governments? Small business entrepreneurs stay away from these (potentially profitable) problems because they believe governments have providence over them. Hopefully, in the coming decades, we’ll see increasing numbers of small groups of focused, passionate entrepreneurial teams working on”schlepy” stuff like education and utilities.
What types of organizations are going to be effective in the future? What kind of roles are we going to play in them?
The rise of the micro-multinational.
One set of growing pains I’m seeing first hand is the rise of the micro-multinationals. Small, hyper-agile businesses doing business globally. Micro-multinationals seek out advantages in a range of jurisdictions with minimal investment.
Traditionally, there’s been wealthy trust-level individuals and larger corporations who have internationally diversified. You’ll hear the media go on about Mitt Romney’s overseas trusts, or large corporations who are getting tax breaks and special treatment by going offshores and seeking greener pastures. Doesn’t it make sense, though, that smaller, more agile organizations could achieve these types of benefits as well?
I can assure you they are seeking them out.
The legal implications of the rush of small business entrepreneurs diversifying globally is staggering. Questions are everywhere. Business services focused on this market is a great space to focus a business if you are looking for opportunities (and if you’ve got the cojones).
If your first response is “but I don’t know anything about that stuff” don’t sweat it. Neither does anybody else. Get in while the getting is good. :)
See any opportunities here?
PS, here are some better articles that are related in some way: