Time: 10:36 p.m. CEST
President Barack Obama participated in the discussion with the Facebook founder and owner Mark Zuckerberg with entrepreneurs at the seventh annual Global Entrepreneurship Summit at Stanford University. “The spirit speaks deep inside of all of us, not matter who we are, how we look like, from where we come from.You are all of different backgrounds and cultures, races and religions,” Obama said. “Some of you are form cities, some of you are working in small villages. But, you have that same spark, the same creative energy to come up with innovative solutions to old challenges,” Obama explained.
The Summit, which gathers 700 entrepreneurs from 170 countries and 360 investors in attendance, as Daymond John, the founder of FUBI and Presidential Ambassador for Global Entrepreneurship stated in his email to the White House. President Obama addressed the issues John opened with his email, drive and spirit to imagine, innovate, and create.
John works with the White House to develop the next generation of entrepreneurs across the globe, with pathways to capital and skills. Three entrepreneurs, which participated on the stage together with Obama and Zuckerberg, who did not leave his bottle of water during the conversations shared their stories and expectations, raise issues that goes beyond their creations and innovations. President Obama talked about openness and importance of the free flow of information.
“Openness is sensitive topic in some countries and it is hard to foster and encourage entrepreneurial culture if it is closed and information flows are blocked. And what we have seen around the world often times governments wanting the benefits of entrepreneurship and connectivity, but thinking the top-down control is also compatible with that, but it is not, ” Obama explained.
Obama shared the experience of his 2008 campaign when he insisted on the use of pamphlets, instead of the new digital application. When Obama talked about bunch of 20-years-old and said there is new thing called My Space, Zuckerberg reacted with an “ouch.”
Obama continues that, “The same is true for the governments, there is cultural shift that is sometimes difficult. We are empowering individuals, and we are open to ideas, we are willing to admit that new information, maybe could contradict old preconceptions, we are willing to test new ideas and if they don’t work we are going to try something else.” Obama called that, “The connectivity between the internet and the science,” and our capacity to say, “we don’t know, to say all the received wisdom, might not be right, and we are willing to test.”
Obama said that is “threatening sometimes; it is threatening to governments, to the cultures, but that is the essence of the discovery and that is what we have been trying to do and encourage through the State Department, gently and sometimes bluntly, to talk governments about their need to maintain openness and confidence in their own people.”
The connectivity can empower bad people, too. “Wrestling to counter a sort of violent extremism it can poison the mind resulting in what we saw happening in Orlando, but I worry people using this as a excuse, then try to block things off and control the flow of information,” Obama said during the participation at the 2016 Global Entrepreneurship Summit.
“That is the question young people are attune to and I think they would need to pay attention for all of us, are going to have to fight in the years to come,” Obama said.