Interview with Angelos Angelou – Economic Development Expert
Angelos Angelou is the Founder and Principal Executive Officer of AngelouEconomics, one of the premier economic development and site selection consulting agencies. I first met Angelos at the IEDC annual meeting in Atlanta, Georgia. After hearing him speak, it was clear that Angelos is a highly respected thought leader in the field with a wealth of valuable insight. Subsequently, I learned that prior to starting AngelouEconomics, Angelos led the Greater Austin Chamber of Commerce and is widely regarded as the chief architect in the establishment of Austin as a high tech center. It is clear that this is a man whose track record makes it evident that he knows of what he speaks. Angelos has also worked globally in countries like Malta, Czech Republic, Portugal, Brazil, Puerto Rico, Canada, Vietnam and Dubai. All of this experience gives Angelos a unique vantage point to assess Brand America. I believe you will definitely enjoy reading his thoughts on the challenges and opportunities on the journey of strengthening Brand America.
- Question: What are the challenges that Brand America must address to consistently be seen as "walking the talk"?
The main challenge is to ensure national self-confidence as well as a better understanding of the world, the global challenges and the business opportunities. Education in America must rise to the task of "world class" with emphasis on innovation. Entrepreneurship must become the cornerstone of our national brand.
We also need to be accepting of other cultures and their achievements, to learn from them and to respect them, and not be trapped with the meaningless comparisons. Not every good idea has to be invented here. The Asian countries have realized tremendous economic development achievements and progress by quietly watching and learning from Brand America.
Proclamations of superiority must originate from internal strength and confidence and not demeaning comparisons to other nations. We must stop our insane media bombardment of daily messages on "how bad" the world is outside of the US and "how good" we have it here in America.
We must show leadership in every aspect of economic opportunity and industry sector. We need to lead the world more than ever before and not become passive observers. The world yearns for American leadership in social, economic, environmental and sustainability issues. Brand America strength supports global aspirations for economic stability and prosperity.
- Question: What are the traits of Brand America that people around the world are likely to find appealing?
The world continues to admire American determination, innovation, our political leaders and our accessibility to them. Moreover, our decisiveness, business ethics, everything made in America, our openness, humbleness as people and our entrepreneurial spirit are among the strongest traits of Brand America.
A weakening Brand America leaves a huge void in the socioeconomic development and prosperity on a global scale for those who aspire our unique traits.
- Question: What are the different ways Brand America can keep its promise?
Brand America can keep its promise with the following actions and behavior: First we have to be less xenophobic. Secondly, we must rid ourselves of our obsession with security, as it makes us insecure as a nation and as people.
In addition, we must be fair and respectful of other cultures and recognize that we may not be the economic powerhouse of the world in 20-30 years from now. America will still be a major global economic power, however, we will need to recognize that we will be sharing this distinction with other nations.
- Question: What is the importance of Brand America in the world?
Brand America is the dominant culture on a global scale. Contrary to our own beliefs, the world wants a strong Brand America. They see us as an anchor of hope, aspiration, ethics, hard working, of dreams to be fulfilled and as beacon of stability and fairness. They do not see us only as an economic and military power.
- Question: Who benefits from a strengthened Brand America?
The whole world!
- Question: Do you believe Brand America has a relevant, competitive and authentic promise?
America has lost some of its traditional authenticity, which was anchored in hard work, self-improvement, purpose, social responsibility and confidence. We can regain our promise and authenticity by going back to these basics tenants. We will not succeed if we focus solely on Wall Street and drift onto the fast lane to easy money and "riches".