Insights and Opinions

Letter to President Obama: Jobs, Entrepreneurs, and the Simple Solution

I wrote this in response to what President Obama has been saying about jobs, etc. Feel free to add your comments.

Dear President Obama,

I heard your rhetoric on the jobs market, and as a man who has created many jobs I can tell you that you’re focused on the wrong people, and the wrong initiatives. The unemployment issue isn’t going to get solved by giving billions in subsidies to people already making billions of dollars, but it will be solved by stimulating innovation, and creating new entrepreneurs who will in turn create new jobs, new industries, and new solutions to our nation’s greatest problems.

Entrepreneurs are problem solvers, so if you want to solve our problems, inspire the 70 million or so people under age 34 in this nation to become entrepreneurs. Refocus economic subsidies toward small businesses and innovation, instead of allowing the massive corporations that are the face of greed on this planet to manipulate us through their lobbying and contributions, given to your political campaigns.

I’m extremely disappointed in both Democrats and Republicans right now. One of my mentors, the late Coach John Wooden, once said, “it’s not about who’s right, it’s about what’s right.” Shame on both parties for stalling our innovation agenda to prove ‘who’s right,’ while many corporations are capitalizing on your negligence.

I believe you’re an extremely intelligent man, listening to the wrong people.

The people you need to listen to are the people actually creating the jobs. I’m proposing a simple solution: incentivize people who directly create jobs.

For instance, as the CEO of a company, if I’ve created 100 new jobs, then I should receive a tax credit for the 100 jobs created. Now, if I don’t create new jobs, then I should be taxed at a higher rate. The more money you leave in my hands, the more jobs I will create. If you take away my money, and tax me higher because I have a higher net worth, then I will create less jobs, and the economy will receive less from my lessened desire to contribute.

Compensation drives behavior, and my company ViSalus is 100 percent driven by incentive programs, and as a result our behavior is one that creates more jobs than most companies in the U.S. today. So take it from a man who creates jobs, and has also created multi-variable incentive structures; if you’re still having trouble getting past all the complex rhetoric, let me know— I’d be happy to design your jobs comp plan for you.

Ryan Blair is a serial entrepreneur, establishing his first company, 24-7 Tech when he was only twenty-one years old. Since then, he has created and actively invested in multiple start-ups. He sold his firm, ViSalus Sciences to NYSE:Blyth in early 2008, and is the author of “Nothing to Lose, Everything to Gain”. Blair lives in Hollywood. This was first published on his blog, Nothing To Lose.