Thursday, May 18, 2017

Tech CEO Talks Immigration & Competitiveness in HBR


Mohamad Ali is the President and Chief Executive Officer of tech company Carbonite. The company offers online backup of computer data, and, as you might suspect, it is indeed named after the fictional carbonite of the Star Wars universe. Having just seen the explosive consequences of the WannaCry cyber attack, that sure seems like a solid niche in which to operate.

Ali recently published an article in the Harvard Business Review: Immigration Is at the Heart of U.S. Competitiveness. In it, Ali discusses his journey as an immigrant from Guyana to tech success.

He writes:

I believe the U.S. draws its global competitive advantage from its openness to new people and new ideas. It’s an ability the country devalues at its peril ... A recent study of billion-dollar startups found more than half were founded by immigrants. Our next generation of great companies, too, will depend on immigrants — as will the American economy as a whole.

Ali talks about his experience working for IBM and HP, both companies that "suffered from stagnation" and were revived by "bringing in new people." After all, "A healthy mix of old and new is critical to the vitality of a company – and the nation." But immigration restrictionism poses an "imminent threat to innovation and progress" that might push tech companies to expand their European and Canadian offices to the detriment of the US economy.


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