Amjad Masad, startup founder Repl.it (W18) $1+ billion valuation
I landed in the United States 10 years ago (Born and lived in Jordan)with nothing but credit card debt.
After one startup exit, Facebook, and one unicorn, I sincerely believe that no country in the world provides so many opportunities for startups.
Here are 10 things I like about this country:
1. Work ethic
The first thing I noticed was that everyone, no matter what their occupation, took pride in doing excellent work, even when no one was watching.
I asked people, “Why do you put everything into work, even if it seems thankless?” And it was like asking a fish, “What is water?”
2. No corruption
For 10 years in the USA, I have never been asked for a bribe, and this is amazing.
When you know that you will quite predictably get a significant portion of the value you create, and that no one will arbitrarily stop you, it is easier and easier to be ambitious.
3. Win-win thinking
People don’t try to trick you into trades, they play the long game and distribute incentives in such a way that everyone wins.
4. Rewarding talent
From sports to engineering, America is obsessed with properly rewarding talent. If you are good, you will be recognized.
The talent market is dynamic: if you don’t feel valued today, you might find a better job tomorrow.
5. Open to weirdos
Because you never know where the next technical, athletic, or artistic innovation will come from, America should have been open to weirdos. Freaks thrive without being overwhelmed.
We employ people with the most interesting backgrounds – from dropouts to artists – they are amazing!
6. Culture of forgiveness
Weird and innovative people have to flaunt themselves, and because of this, they will make mistakes in public. The culture here values authenticity, and if you’re sincere and open about your failures, you’ll get second and third chances.
7. Basic infrastructure
Americans take care of their public spaces. The parks are clean, the metro and buses run on schedule, and the utilities just work.
Since it is possible to live without income for a while, we had the opportunity to quit our jobs and bootstrap our business.
When you get off the plane in the US, you feel a palpable sense of optimism. People believe that tomorrow will be better than today. They do not know where progress will come from, but that is why they are open to different opinions.
When we started, even skeptics encouraged us.
Sounds trite, but straight to the point. None of the above works if you can’t freely research and prototype, create companies, and move freely.
I still find it amazing that if I respect the law and others, I can do whatever I want without coercion/restriction.
10. Access to capital
It is much more difficult to innovate and try to change the world without capital. If you have a good idea and a track record, then someone will want to bet on you.
The respect for entrepreneurship in this country is inspiring. And that makes the gears turn.