In my years as a corporate finance executive in the technology industry, just a couple of years before the advent of Google, I used to religiously read Ben Stein’s Yahoo Finance columns.  I became a big fan of his wit and a style that would draw big laughs from me while making me think in very common sense ways how to make the most out of my life, personally, professionally, but mostly financially. One thing I always remember reading once was the concept that your business should be your life, and sort of vice versa, for you to be able to maximize your success and happiness. I have always generally strived to follow this advice.

It is for this reason that even though I’m on vacation, I took time this morning to visit in downtown Fort Lauderdale with a young immigrant entrepreneur with less than a year in our country to learn about her idea, and discuss ways in which we could help her at the Innovation Hub. She is determined to make a significant dent in what is today upwards of a $7 billion market. Around noon, I attended the monthly lunch and pitch scrub meeting of the fantastic group of seasoned entrepreneurs and mentors that I am proud to be part of and who donate their time helping some of the hottest startups in South Florida today. I saw another young immigrant entrepreneur, with only three years in our country, from a very distant land, determined to play in a market dominated by a leader valued today in the tens of billions of dollars.

Both of these entrepreneurs are in their twenties. I was impressed by the general clarity of purpose and drive they possess. Neither has a lot of experience in their respective industries, but they command a great level of respect for the amount of research they have done and deep analysis insight they have gained. Despite their inexperience, they are not naïve, and they are doing the right thing. They are getting plugged into the ecosystem. That, along with the determination they already brought with them, is what I believe will make them successful. And I truly think that by getting plugged-in this early on, they will both likely have a much better than average chance of making a big dent in their spaces.

If you are an immigrant entrepreneur who came here following the “mighty woman with a torch”, from who’s “beacon-hand Glows world-wide welcome” – seek us out. If you have lived here all of your life, and believe in “That dream of a land in which life should be better and richer and fuller for every man, with opportunity for each according to his ability or achievement” – seek us out.

As I strolled on the beautiful Fort Lauderdale Riverwalk this morning, in between my two meetings, on a beautiful day, with the clearest of skies, and with the green garlands and big red bows wrapped around the lampposts signaling this Holiday Season, I thought to myself how fortunate we all are to live where we do. Of how fortunate to have available to us – in all aspects of our lives – all the opportunities that we do – of which I am a true witness. I wish you all a great Holiday Season, peace, and great renewal in the coming year.

Our View from the Top – December 19, 2017