The Wall Street Journal carried an article on Thursday about the disproportionate number of immigrants who are participating in entrepreneurship:
Start-up engineering and technology companies that had at least one immigrant founder produced $52 billion sales in 2005 and employed about 450,000 workers, according to a study by researchers at the University of California at Berkeley and Duke University.
The study surveyed 28,776 engineering and technology firms that were started between 1995 and 2005, and found that one-quarter had either a chief executive or a chief technology officer who is an immigrant. Of those, one-quarter had Indian-born founders. The biggest share of the start-ups is in California, where almost 40% of new engineering and technology companies have immigrant founders.
This is of course interesting on many different fronts, not the least of which is its implication on the current immigration reform debate (as discussed in the WSJ article). I would however like to focus on what I believe to be a different similarity that is shared by these entrepreneurs and in fact almost all successful people. I believe the real drive behind their success is hunger, hunger to prove themselves, hunger to survive, and in the rawest sense, hunger to dominate others. The immigrant population is of course very much self selecting in this trait. For someone to completely uproot their lives in the hopes of finding a better life elsewhere, you know there has to be a least a bit of hunger.
For those that are close to me, you’ll probably know that I LOVE hungry people. My good friend Rodica once mentioned that I seem to have a strange attraction towards people from a few schools like Harvard, MIT et al, and at the time I was unable to give any reson for it. But I think I now understand why, those schools contains a disproportionate number of people who are extremely hungry, it almost seem as if they are intentionally screening for this trait. Of course, just being hungry is not a sufficient condition for success. But perhaps it is a necessary condition.
So here goes the strangest holidays wishes that you will probably receive. Happy New Year everyone, and I hope you all have a very hungry 2007!