Chinese Olympic Gold Medals
August 31, 2008
Factoid: in 1984, China didn’t win a single Olympic medal.
In the last Olympics in Beijing, they won an incredible 51 gold medals, The next closest was the United States at 36, and Russia at 23.
When I heard that statistic while on vacation last week with my children in Ogunguit Maine, I recalled a statement made by my fellow Cutter Consortium colleague Rob Austin, a professor at Harvard Business School. During a Cutter Summit Conference, Rob mentioned that in a nation of over 1.3 billion people, that China has more honor students than the U.S. has… students.
In my volunteer time, I happen to be a trustee at the Berkshire Country Day School in Lenox MA, a remarkable place that’s provided a stellar independent school education here in the Berkshire mountains of western Massachusetts for more than 60 years. This year, we have an enrollment of about 180 students from pre-K through 9th grade. I imagine that in future years – our kids will have to compete against a nation where their A and A+ students outnumber our total students. Yikes.
In another interesting article from this weeks NY Times, another milestone has been reached: data that flows through the Internet now increasingly flows around the United States. In short, the era of Internet dominance by the U.S. is officially over.
Are we in the U.S. becoming less relevant in the global economy, or approaching the threshold of irrelevance? Ed Yourdon, are you listening? Has anyone read some of Richard Florida’s recent writings on the creative economy, most notably, “The Flight of the Creative Class”?
What happens when all those Chinese students decide that knocking off DVDs and CDs is boring, and that it’s time to get creative and design killer-app software applications and other products and services that come from innovative thinking?