A note from our editor, Elizabeth MacBride:
We’re back from our summer break, and kids all over the country are heading back to school in a more-or-less normal way, which feels very … weird. But good. I’ve been reading The Economist’s series on America’s standing in the world. Thinkers such as Niall Ferguson and Francis Fukayama have written about the end of American “hegemony.” People who use the word hegemony like to explain things, and America’s retreat from Afghanistan inspires many end-of-empire explanations. The experts who look at the global balance of power are chiefly concerned with the rise of China, with some of their writing reminiscent of the days when we feared the Evil Empire of Russia. Its power turned out to be like the vodka sitting in my parents’ bar after my friends came over: watered down. Having lost their last sales narrative, nation-building, the military-industrial complex will seek a new story, China. But does anyone have the information to judge China clearly? The United States and the world are suffering now from the decline of journalism and the rise of misinformation; in China, the problem is compounded by the gags that stifle speech in an authoritarian regime. When I was traveling in emerging markets, people viewed official pronouncements from China with a healthy skepticism. Are the GDP numbers accurate? What are the innovations coming out of Chinese universities? How many people died from Covid? What are the leaders and rank-and-file in the Chinese military thinking? Before we fear China, maybe a better focus is understanding it. Business and nonprofit partnerships are one key way to cross cultural boundaries; if you’re involved in China, I’d love to hear about it!
Times of Entrepreneurship Stories of the Week
Americans Want To Open The Door To Afghans, Especially Women
Private initiatives are springing up to help Afghans escape what’s expected to be a wave of retribution by the Taliban against people who cooperated with the international community.
As The Taliban Overran Afghanistan, A Former Interpreter Opened A Rug Shop Outside Chicago
As he tells me about his new store, his family and his aspirations of being a doctor, he holds his phone tight, periodically checking messages and answering calls from his family. He has seven brothers and sisters, all who were in Afghanistan when the Taliban regained control.
Now a Trillion Dollar Agency, The SBA Faces Pressure to Focus On Nexus Of Race, Data And Dollars
The flood of pandemic aid highlighted problems in the financing system for small business.
“I’m Not Here To Be A Token…”
A chocolate shop owner in Madison, Wisc., calls out racism wherever she sees it, even when it means taking some heat.
Video: White Men Are Now The Minority Business Owners in the U.S.
Mike Paul, The Rep Doc, speaks with Elizabeth MacBride about a key trend reshaping American business.
You may have missed: Are Hospitals Such A Great Idea After All? The pandemic pushed us back toward health care at home, and Baby Boomers are embracing the trend Read it here.
You may have missed: The Secret to Miss Mona’s Growing Ice Cream Brand: The Way She Boosts Other Entrepreneurs Mona Lipson, whose business delivers three pints of artisanal ice cream to Brooklyn and Manhattan residents each month. They’re made with locally sourced foods, from chai to cookie chunks. Read it here.
Living the Dream
Best Practices: Keep your late-summer drinks cool with True Cubes, whose founders have set out to make the best unfoggy-ice-cube trays in the world. Even better: The company runs a mentoring program to guide other entrepreneurs on how to start a side hustle.
Buzzworthy: The Real Anthony Fauci: Bill Gates, Big Pharma and the Global War on Democracy and Public Health, written by Robert F. Kennedy, Jr., comes out in November 2021, and, while likely to be controversial, could also be an interesting read. The premise is that “readers will finally see how Dr. Fauci and Bill Gates, asserting biosecurity rationales, worked together to finance the very gain-of-function experiments that may have released the COVID-19 pathogen.” Also: Sexy entrepreneurs? People who identify themselves as entrepreneurs in their dating profiles, Inc. reported, have a better chance of getting a match’s phone number on OKCupid. Maybe that’s because entrepreneurs are more likely to ask for it. The number of people identifying themselves as entrepreneurs jumped 10% between July 2020 and July 2021.
The 4.5 hour workweek : A productivity hack Know your most productive hours and schedule your most important work accordingly. The Muse recommends testing yourself: Plan three important tasks for morning, afternoon and evening and then, at day’s end, look back at how effective you were. Use this to inform your schedule going forward.
Made in the U.S.A. If you’re shopping for back-to-school gear, check out USA Strong, a marketplace that verifies, curates and sells products made in the U.S. The traditional oversized eco-friendly crayons from A Childhood Store ($12) are a tempting addition to any desk, even if it’s been a long time since anyone in your household went to kindergarten.
Wanderlust : a restaurant or activity from our Top Ecosystems list Whether you’re heading to Nashville for business or vacation, make sure you wake up early enough to sample the country ham and hot biscuits at The Loveless Café. Other faves include the country fried steak, pulled pork barbecue omelet and the pimento cheese ‘n fried green tomato biscuit.
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