Can America Stay on Top?
I couldn't agree more with Amar Bhidé's contention that the U.S. economy will ultimately survive the challenges from growing nations like China and India ["Is the U.S. Losing Its Economic Edge?" November]. In the U.S., millions of small companies thrive through superior sales and marketing and by creatively using existing technology. Here's an example: My property management business has doubled in size, in part because we've been smart about using technology, like Google's free office software. Tenant checks, which were once sent through the mail, are now sent directly to my bank, without me or my office manager ever touching a piece of paper. This didn't require an enormous R&D budget or a new invention, just the ability to build upon an existing idea and profit from it.
Kansas City, Missouri
I think it's highly irresponsible on Amar Bhidé's part to imply that the American economy can be propped up by a certain type of innovation. In China, India, and Russia, we're seeing governments that are supporting an all-out attack against American industries. Sadly, Washington doesn't get this. Just look at our tariffs. China and India have duties on goods entering their markets that are significantly higher than ours.
Today, the prevailing theory is that we don't mind sending low-paying jobs overseas and that our nation is better off with a service economy. Please tell me what Americans are going to service when our manufacturing base has completely disappeared.
Craig S. Wilson
Rules of the Start-up Game
Joel Spolsky's column on his launch of Stack Overflow [How Hard Could It Be? November] really hit home. Type A perfectionists like myself need to learn that, in business, rules are meant to be broken. I'm currently struggling with building a new online venture while continuing to nourish my more established business. I loved how Spolsky went against some of his long-held beliefs and trusted his gut (and his business partner). Entrepreneurs are passionate, forward thinking, and single-minded, but we get so caught up in where we're headed that we forget that it's often crucial to take detours along the way.
Get It in Writing
Boca Raton, Florida
A Blogger's Lament
Kudos to Inc. for standing up for Leslie Richard and telling the world her story ["A Cold Call, a Blog, and a $20 Million Lawsuit," November]. Entrepreneurs like Richard are faced with enough challenges in this difficult market. Frivolous attacks by companies like Vision Media deserve to be brought to light. Keep up the good work.
Though I liked Darren Dahl's tips for cutting expenses ["Five Ways to Save Money," October], I think companies also need to look at ways to leverage the slow economy to their advantage. Entrepreneurs should consider technology investments that may now be cheaper or try snatching up top talent from competitors that are laying people off. In tough times, we need to break out of the mindset that saving money is a good reaction to an economic slowdown and instead embrace the opportunity for growth.
In a photo caption in "Just Play" [October], we identified Chris Slade as the drummer for AC/DC. Slade is the band's former drummer; the current drummer is Phil Rudd.