Good old boys in good old (Latin) America


Here’s another reason you know you’re in Central America: good old boys. I suspect that American business was dominated thirty years ago by “good old boys.” George Bush is the perfect example. He joined clubs like Andover and Yale and Skull and Bones because his father did. He enjoyed immediate business prominence (if not success) because of his connections and swagger, not because of analytical ability.

A quick glance at an incoming McKinsey class reveals that times have changed, with Bush’s elite cool exchanged for a distinctly middle-class (but not for long!) ambitiousness. Impeccably prepared and overwhelmingly dorky, the new American super-successes are represented by Bill Gates and Mark Zuckerburg, not new generations of Rockefeller. No Bush will be president from our generation.

Meanwhile Zuckerburg still flounders in Latin America. His brain needs more brawn; he needs connections and a BMW when he turns eighteen; he needs to know the right people and have the cool to get them to join his website; he needs social value and it’s not going to come from anticipating trends in global social networking.

Fifty years down the road, expect to see some convergence to a more technocratic business environment. But for now, good old boys dominate in good old (Latin) America.


One Response to “Good old boys in good old (Latin) America”

  1. phil Says:

    Perfect example of this:

    Chilean business people LOOOOOVEEEE Facebook and other social networks. All them use it and revel in the fact that they are all so closely connected to each other.

    Also: We sometimes play the “name game” in the states with Universities (“Oh . you went to [X school]. Do you know Fred?”) . In Chile, you can play the name game with anyone anytime, whatever the context. “Oh .. you are a successful business person. You must know [other successful business person].” Chances are they went to high school or college together.

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