“The road to success is not easy to navigate, but with hard work, drive and passion, it’s possible to achieve the American dream” –Tommy Hilfiger
It is very fitting to have written my blog post over 4th of July weekend, the celebration of America’s independence and the birthday of this great nation. Doing so gave me the opportunity to reflect upon my last 20+ years in this country after having emigrated in the early 90s from Moscow.
I have visited Moscow many times over the years and have kept in touch with my family and friends there. I am for all intents and purposes American; but have the added luxury of being able to compare what we are all so used to (and often take for granted) in the United States, to what is the reality in many countries around the world, including the one I came from. I can say unequivocally that Blue Bite would not have been possible in Russia. The ability for two high-school friends to come up with an idea; establish a company online; fund it with what little money they had including credit cards; and grow it into a legitimate business that is approaching a decade in age, is simply a pipe-dream in most places. The barriers to entry are just too high. The complexities of often corrupt legal systems and underdeveloped banking institutions stifle innovation and the entrepreneurial spirit.
It is no wonder, then, that the U.S. has more active start-ups and higher combined value of startups than the next four countries collectively. The U.S. also has the highest percentage of adults starting or running a new business. I’m not saying America is perfect, nor am I saying it is the only place in the world that affords its citizens the right and ability to be successful. But it is one of the few countries in the world that makes the turning of dreams into reality accessible to those beyond the children of royal families, high-ranking government officials or oligarchs. It is also a place where you feel relatively safe from losing what you have achieved at the blink of an eye, simply because someone with political power deems that you have achieved “too much.”
However, make no mistake — for all the opportunity, there is no free lunch here. Abundant riches will not fall from the sky and you will not be showered with blessings and good fortune simply by being born here or living here. You will have to work harder and longer than those around you, both at home and abroad. You may need to make sacrifices in your personal life, and some of the success may come at the expense of your family, friends and even your health. The great part is that it’s ultimately your choice, you put in as much as you want, and you get back something commensurate with the effort.
Ultimately, what makes America worth celebrating is not only the existence of the American Dream, but the ability for people to define what the American Dream means to them and achieve it in their own right.
Happy 4th of July.
CEO & Co-founder