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145 NINE A Business Plan IN MY PREVIOUS LIFE, when I worked as a senior executive for Warner Bros. in Los Angeles, I occasionally gave talks titled “The Business of the Entertainment Business.” I often began such a session with the following thought: Warner Bros. is the largest film and television studio in the world. It releases blockbusters and Emmy-award winning TV shows. It employs several thousand people. It finances, distributes, markets, and holds the copyright for many of your favorite movies and television shows. It has done so for decades. Dirty Harry, Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Batman, The Matrix, and the list goes on. It owns and exploits ancillary rights, as well, selling themed toys, t-shirts, and video games that spin off the biggest hits. In fact, Warner Bros. does everything in movies and television except make movies and television shows. Warner Bros. may be the biggest studio in Hollywood, but it does not actually make movies and shows. No studio does. Rather, it is small production companies that actually make all the content we enjoy on our screens. Sometimes a small production company is a single writer, or a director, or a producer, or a combination of those people (who pitch ideas by the hundreds each week). What Warner Bros. does do, like all major studios, is finance these small production companies—with the studio assigning support staff like accountants, line producers, legal and subcontractor personnel— and, just as important, sell (that is, distribute) the final content. But studios 146 PEACE THROUGH ENTREPRENEURSHIP like Warner Bros. do not come up with the guts of a creative product—the story, characters, setting, and so on. The point? Even in a creative industry, it is not the large corporation that delivers creativity and innovation. Rather, creativity and innovation come from small, often sole-proprietor creators, artists, and innovators who are then organized by the corporate players. Asking the government of the United States of America to develop and implement innovative entrepreneurship development programs is a lot like asking Warner Bros. Entertainment Inc. to have its own employees pen classics like A Clockwork Orange, All the President’s Men, or Harry Potter. That does not work. When the U.S. government does creativity and innovation it does so with all the grace of a hippo dancing with a mouse. It does not end well for the mouse. In fact, the hippo can be left without a partner. By contrast, in the private sector, especially in the über-creative world of Hollywood, hippos do dance with mice. The creativity and nuance of those aforementioned Warner Bros. films were enjoyed far and wide. The Warner Bros. bureaucracy found a way to efficiently scale and distribute the genius of individuals like Stanley Kubrick and Anthony Burgess, Carl Bernstein and Bob Woodward, and J.K. Rowling. This chapter is a dancing lesson for the clumsiest hippo of them all, the U.S. government. It explains how our government can learn to execute on entrepreneurship and promote this truly American value (one rivaled perhaps only by Hollywood itself in terms of worldwide admiration). It explains how the government can actually turn the ecosystem approach to entrepreneurship development discussed in chapters 7 and 8 into a functional program. It is important to review why we are signing up the hippo for dancing lessons . Though some might prefer that government stay far away from entrepreneurship , and though we have documented throughout this book the government’s missteps in doing this work, there remains an indisputable truth. The U.S. government must elevate entrepreneurship in its foreign policy and it is the only American entity truly able to harness this critical tool. We find ourselves in a day and age when our government needs to use entrepreneurship to confront twenty-first-century threats to American security and prosperity. The root cause of ISIS’s terrifying beheadings, of A BUSINESS PLAN 147 shoot-ups in Paris, of meat-cleaver attacks in Israeli synagogues, of schoolgirl kidnappings in Nigeria, of all the anti-American rhetoric that feels closer and closer to home is lack of economic hope. And entrepreneurship, by creating jobs, delivers that economic hope. Make no mistake. Extremists turn extreme not because of ancient tribal slights or a desire for religious domination or even because of political disappointment but, rather, because so many young people face lives of horrific economic darkness. Rebel movements, extremism, and terrorists stew and thrive in failed, fragile, and developing countries, the kind...


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