Pick up the pace or fade away...

19 Dec 2005|Davis Masten

I was staggered the other day when I heard Intel’s Chairman Craig Barret say that 90% of the products his company delivers on December 31st did not even exist on January 1st of the same year. Wow! A company that huge moving that fast. I would hate to compete with Intel.

P&G has also accelerated. Take a look at Tide, for instance. Tide has quickened the pace of new product introductions from Tide with Febreeze to Tide Cold Water to Tide with a touch of Downy to products that add devices or implements like Tide Buzz, Tide To Go, Tide Stainbrush and Tide Kick. They have changed the rules they wrote in the detergent business and are forcing their competitors to accelerate their pace or fade away.

On a US competitive basis I am much less impressed. From Thomas Friedman’s The World is Flat to work Cheskin has done around the world on math and science education, I see the US taking two steps back for every step our companies move forward. I am worried. My hope is that you are too. Other countries are becoming the Intel and Tide’s of tomorrow while we seem to take it for granted that we will be there too.

Some in the government are worried. Senators Lamar Alexander and Jeff Bingaman asked The National Academies to report on what America should do to insure a competitive future. The report is titled Rising Above The Gathering Storm: Energizing and Employing America for a Brighter Economic Future. It is sobering and thought provoking. The most accessible read I have found about the report is in the testimony of Norman Augustine before the Committee on Energy and Natural Resources.

This is a 15 minute read. It may disturb you and more importantly it may call you to action. I hope so. We need to quicken our pace to solutions or be prepared to fade away.

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