Bring on Type-Ts

Type-T is a phrase coined by Frank Farley, University of Wisconsin, in the early 1990s to describe people who seek out and participate in higher risk activities, and succeed because of these efforts. These are the kinds of people who – if they avoid self-destructive Icarus behaviors (think Keith Moon, Janis Joplin, Howard Hughes, although each in their own right redefined music and entrepreneurialism before flaming out) – go on to invent cars, build businesses, construct new surgical techniques, and much more. Big-T people like Erik Weihenmeyer or Richard Branson redefine our understanding of the limits of possibility, while creating businesses, inspiring people, and building jobs and value. Type-Ts aren’t always about more, faster, higher, but also about reinventing and redefining the how – which leads to invention. Type-Ts are our primary Creators.

Did you know 52% of the IT start-ups in Silicon Valley and 25% of all new business in the U.S. are created by foreign-born nationals like Indians, Pakistanis, Chinese, Vietnamese, and other people from around the world who have been coming to the U.S. for decades for the promise of education and entrepreneurialism, and so have earned science, engineering, and math degrees, and created a tremendous amount of U.S. jobs, invention and competitive wealth. Currently, the U.S. has sharply limited the number of H1b visas from 200,000 to 65,000 granted to foreign-born applicants. And currently there is a waiting line of over 1 million applicants. But even if you waited in line for your visa, you might still be turned down for a job from leading U.S. based multinationals due to some newly instituted policies favoring domestic U.S. citizens in hiring review.

The world is changing and if we persist in this xenophobic manner, we will alienate some of the very best and brightest Type-T talent from around the world eager to bring their energy and intellect to bear in the U.S. to create wealth, jobs, opportunity and innovation. Since labor and innovation can be sourced anywhere (see Innocentive), we should be encouraging that innovation and entrepreneurialism to burgeon in the U.S. We need to be attracting the brightest minds, not create motivators for them to take their best ideas back home to Chindia, Brazil, eastern Europe and beyond. When the best young minds leave they don’t just take their bank accounts, but also their energy, creativity and value-creating capacities that create jobs and prosperity.

We need to remain open, embrace intellectual diversity, and participate in the collaborate effort.