Roger McNamee, a self-made Silicon Valley pioneer, mapped out the four steps of success in the new economy to a crowd of UCSB students yesterday in Corwin Pavilion.
McNamee, co-founder of several successful Silicon Valley venture capital companies and author of The New Normal: Great Opportunities in a Time of Great Risk, gave a lecture Tuesday afternoon to a packed house, addressing entrepreneurship in the current global economy. McNamee’s lecture advised aspiring entrepreneurs on the pitfalls and benefits of the new market. The Herbert C. Kay undergraduate lecture program — which brings accomplished business professionals to speak at UCSB once a year — sponsored the presentation.
McNamee said the world is currently experiencing a “New Normal” — the new economic environment beginning in 2001 that followed the successes of the 1990s economy. He said the kind of unprecedented success companies experienced in the ’90s is not likely to be recreated, and business priorities need to be adjusted in order to profit from the current global economy.
“It’s not going to be exciting the way the ’90s were, but that doesn’t mean it won’t be rewarding for you,” McNamee said.
McNamee said technology, globalization, time management and the power of the individual are the four core issues that categorize the new global economy.
“The world has a new set of rules and we’re going to be stuck with them for a really long time,” he said. “So lets figure them out, figure out how to play them. Let’s beat the game.” McNamee said technology and globalization are inextricably linked and define the modern world so much so future entrepreneurs will be forced to encounter technology and globalization in their endeavors for success.
Technology, such as cell phones and computers, allow for faster and more efficient communication between people, which means more work can be done, he said.
Globalization is inevitable and can change a person’s economic opportunity as well as reduce the power of central governments, McNamee said. As multinational corporations and large businesses expand, they can move from one country to another to maximize their economic incentives, he said.
“[Technology and globalization] ensure that no one can stand still — not companies, not countries, not individuals,” McNamee said.
Countries in Asia are excelling through globalization, and students can propel themselves into the new economic environment by learning Chinese or another Asian languages, McNamee said.
The two other aspects of the “New Normal” — time management and the power of individual — are key to achieving personal success in the business world, McNamee said. He said it is crucial for individuals to prioritize, plan and participate in their lives, and technology can aid in personal scheduling.
Because big government and big religion are no longer a safety nets for a business’ success, McNamee said the individual is able, and required, to make more substantial decisions.
“We are on our own,” McNamee said. “We’re individuals and nobody is looking out for us. We have a lot more power then the people who came before us, but there’s no safety net.”
People also have more individual power with employers despite downsizing, McNamee said. Every time one employee at a company is fired, those still with the employer gain more leverage, become more valuable and powerful because they are required to perform on additional tasks to make up for the lost manpower, he said.
“Over the long haul there is a silver lining and it is a major silver lining, possibly a platinum lining,” McNamee said. “[The remaining employees] are now increasingly indispensable to the companies that employ them.”
Francisco Azeredo, a graduate student in economics, said he was pleased that McNamee spoke about issues of globalization.
“I thought he was very enthusiastic and showed his concern in establishing student awareness about the global economy,” Azeredo said. “The importance of prioritizing one’s life was also a good thing to mention to students.”
Clayton Sheffler, a first-year geography major, also said McNamee’s words were inspiring even though he doesn’t plan on venturing into business.
“The guidance was general enough to be very helpful in how to manage your time and how to prioritize,” Sheffler said.
McNamee, author and co-founder of several Silicon Valley companies, received his Bachelor of Arts degree from Yale University and his master’s from Dartmouth College. He frequently makes speeches at industry and investor conferences, guest stars on the CNBC program, “Louis Rukeyser’s Wall Street” and currently works with Elevation Partners — a private equity firm based on media and entertainment.