Where has Talent Gone?

Prior to WWII, many talented and educated people went to work on Wall Street trading stocks, or running divisions of large companies of the day, steel, rail, textiles, canning, and manufacturing. At the beginning of WWII the US Navy had a large problem on their hands trying to figure out how to disperse throughout the Pacific and maintain control of distributing men, material, food, aircraft, and all the other supplies required for such large operations. They did not have the personnel in place so they found the brightest and most entrepreneurial minded people of the day on Wall Street.

After WWII and the industrial expansion of the times, military personnel returned home to new jobs, new opportunities, and of course they returned to Wall Street as well. Throughout the following decades the military still utilized the brightest of our citizens when possible and needed, but other opportunities such as technology, engineering, aircraft, space, and more, absorbed much of our talented citizens. In the ’90s Wall Street became a large attraction again.

Here we are in the 2010s and much has changed including Financial Services have become very automated and the creative entrepreneur of the past seems to be few and far between with most positions being filled by clerks instead. So where has all the Talent gone, and if we follow the current trend, is this were opportunity exists?

The Entrepreneur of today, is more dispersed than in the past. Some stay home and build their business online, others have developed new versions of services for home or business, and still others have continued to run divisions of larger business and technology. The military still gets their share too. Yet there does seems to be a downturn in new technology companies, financial business opportunity, and high growth for new corporate divisions. At least it feels like these are less robust. Most likely it feels that way because of the incredible number of things developing around us all the time, changing rapidly, and we are no longer stunned by the newness of things. A computer is no longer a mystery, flat screens are everywhere, and who can ever try all the apps developed for our cell phones? Why pick a stock when the computer or manager can do it?

But there may be a place where nobody expects to look for innovative, talented entrepreneurs of today. It may be the mundane in which opportunity has hidden. Could it be that Talent has found a place where it can flourish without being the headline of Wall Street, the news of the day on TV, the political argument of the moment? Could it be in a place which rewards hard work, critical thinking, experience, and the ability to take a meaningful risk?

One industry the talent pool seems to have poured into is Hospitality. Hotel owners, investors, and managers are flourishing with very little fanfare, all for the sake of providing a meaningful service for a fair price. The talented leaders of this niche have been developing new models, adding technology, and using creative financing to produce a very rewarding space for themselves in our modern times. They are fully taking advantage of our new age of technology and I would say they have advanced far beyond most industries. Seriously.

If you have taken a vacation and stayed in a nice resort or hotel, you also know these are not mundane at all. They are excellent places to visit, they have the latest in technology and services, and the people are incredibly nice since hospitality is… nice.

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