Mary Meeker, internet analyst extraordinaire and issuer of 300-page research reports, has a column at BusinessWeek that you should make some time for. Basically, she’s spent a year researching the troubles we face as a nation and offers up some solutions as though we were all shareholders of a company as opposed to citizens of a country…
Still, the idea of the U.S. as a corporation is more than a thought-experiment. It’s a way to reposition our approach to long-term problems. What would USA Inc. be worth? Who would want to buy its shares? And what would a turnaround expert recommend for a company that lost more than $2 trillion (“net operating cost”) in 2010?
I took a deep dive into these questions a little more than a year ago, and I’m finally up for air. I reached three conclusions. First, USA Inc. has serious financial challenges. Second, its problems are fixable. Third, clear communication with citizen-shareholders is essential. If the American people embrace the need for bold action, their political leaders should find the courage to do what’s right.
This is not an all-is-lost proposition. Meeker even tells us that we are in better shape as a “corporation” than Apple Computer was in 1997. Read her solutions and pep talk below.