Monday, November 2, 2009

Why Not Move to Youngstown?

In anticipation of Richard Herman's book launch party, I'm dedicating all blogging during November to issues of international migration and globalization. As you may be aware, Herman is a tireless advocate for immigrants and the value they bring to the Northeast Ohio community. Read more about the Talent Blueprint Project here. And there is a wealth of information available at the "Immigrant, Inc." website.

The book aims to teach people how to think like an immigrant in order to act as a driver for the regional economy. Resonating with major themes of both of my own blogs, migrant as risk taker:

Immigrant business success has a lot to do with high risk tolerance. Risk tolerance is the core common value shared by both immigrants and entrepreneurs. Reflecting this commonality, MIT Professor Edward Robert has said, “To immigrate is an entrepreneurial act.”

A very small percentage of people in the world ask themselves “why not?” move to another country, and then actually take the plunge, uprooting themselves from the only place and people they have ever known. If they had actually listened to the “why” voices in their head and those around them, they never would have made the move. Try to anticipate future trends in your industry, try to identify big opportunities before anyone else does (even if it labels you a contrarian or a little crazy), and place a big bet or two on an which you are passionate about.

If immigration were a place, it would be Youngstown. Rust Belt refugees already think like the immigrants whom Herman interviewed. Long distance moves during an economic crisis is the definition of risky. People just didn't leave America's centers of manufacturing. They built, from the ground up, boomtowns such as Charlotte. That's how I would rewrite Richard's book, telling the stories of successful Rust Belt refugees. The challenge now is put that talent to work back in the homeland.

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