I moved to Arizona four decades ago because it seems to be a place where what you brought to the table and how hard you worked mattered more than in older, eastern cities. My career has proven that that judgement was a correct one.
I have spent four decades supporting businessmen and women who have been seeking to make a difference, either in innovative start-up situations or within larger corporate organizations. I recognized early on that entrepreneurs see the world differently and that the brick wall between them and their goal was something they will climb over, move around or simply knock down on their way to success. Telling an entrepreneur that a goal cannot be accomplished is career limiting if you want to be of service to those who are out trying to change the business world in which we live. Phoenix has changed dramatically during the forty years that I have lived in Arizona. It was tightly controlled by a small group of bankers, businessmen and real estate developers in the 1980’s. Leadership is now much less concentrated and Phoenix has become a place where technology innovation is just as important as a real estate development activity. While we do not yet have a highly developed private equity or venture capital infrastructure, our entrepreneurs have found ways to attract the capital needed to grow and it has been my privilege to assist them in accessing capital from a variety of sources, on both coasts. The next stage in our infrastructure, however, will be to finally attract to Arizona the capital and finance infrastructure that small and innovative businesses need to grow and thrive.
Arizona has always celebrated hard work and self-reliance. This attitude will continue to hold Arizona in good stead over the years.
The Future of Innovation
The pace of change will continue to accelerate. Yesterday’s Kindle will give way to tomorrow’s iPad at a pace even greater than in the past. Artificial intelligence will replace many of the jobs now being done in the knowledge economy and our challenge will be to continue to keep bright and talented people in our state. We cannot afford it to be said about Arizona, as was once said about Ireland, that our best export is our youth. We need to have an educational system here that will sustain our growth.
Advice & Best Practices
Establish a network that includes thoughtful and successful entrepreneurs and innovators. Learn from their successes and from their mistakes.
Square Patton Boggs