- The Washington Times - Wednesday, September 16, 2015


Let’s be fair, lyricist Fred Ebb wrote “if you can make it” in New York, “you can make it anywhere. Frank Sinatra embodied that notion despite being born in Hoboken, New Jersey — closer to Manhattan than Anaheim is to Los Angeles.

However, that does not change the fact that “if you can make it there you can make it anywhere” is no longer a paradigm for the city or any other formerly hypercentralized metropolis, for that matter. And here’s why:

Over 25 years ago, with the fall of the Berlin Wall, politics and business began to evolve from a bipolar to multipolar world. As such, businesses and individuals have been forced to become more international, interdependent and aware versus hyperlocal. This means being able to accomplish a task working in a perhaps different environment among people who do not necessarily share the same cultural values.

And what of being a New Yorker, and taking that attitude and work ethic “on the road”? Are all of the qualities of the New Yorker better?

In a word: maybe. But are they the most effective and applicable in all places outside of the Five Boroughs? Certainly not.

John Davis of Harvard Business School teaches that businesses that aim to maintain their market presence are actually losing some of it, because one needs to grow business to even maintain it. If a business does not have the gumption to grow, it will simply vanish. Worse yet, if that business does not have the personnel that understands the need for adaptation, it may as well be dead in the water. This is another reason why perhaps being too locally focused is doomed to failure.

Wall Street talks of bears and bulls, but neither New York nor any dominant culture can simply barge into the proverbial china shop and proceed to destroy the earthenware culture of others as a means to obtain results. If we are to grow, we need to take one more step to learn and adjust to produce the best product. At the end of the day, this is the greatest goal, so we must adapt to our surroundings to succeed.

Jay-Z and Alicia Keys hit the nail on the head when they said that New York still inspires us as and, like Ace Frehley’s cover of Russ Ballard’s “New York Groove,” this message still rings true of the story of New Yorkers who made good and continue to reside in the city. However, both ideas reassert the story of New Yorkers staying in New York.

Ol’ Blue Eyes taught us a valuable lesson for his time, but the world has moved on, even if many New Yorkers — and people around the world — still believe this catchy lyric to be true.

Living in a global world of interconnectivity has proven otherwise. Culture is paramount, and without this understanding, someone raised in the bullish hard-boiled culture of New York will certainly find themselves with a foot or two in their mouth.



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