Unlocking the Potential of Small Business in America
Showcasing the power of innovative public-private partnerships, Walter Isaacson will moderate a panel discussion with Goldman Sachs Chairman and CEO Lloyd Blankfein, New Orleans Mayor Mitch Landrieu, Huffington Post President and Editor-in-Chief Arianna Huffington, and Margaret Spellings, former US secretary of education. The panel will explore the importance of small businesses to municipal economies as well as the importance of establishing and scaling local economic development ecosystems.
Unlocking the Potential of Small Business in America
Aspen Ideas Festival transcripts are created on a rush deadline by a contractor for the Aspen Institute, and the accuracy may vary. This text may be updated or revised in the future. Please be aware that the authoritative record of Aspen Institute programming is the video or audio.
THE ASPEN INSTITUTE
ASPEN IDEAS FESTIVAL 2013
UNLOCKING THE POTENTIAL OF SMALL BUSINESS IN AMERICA
Aspen Meadows Campus
Thursday, June 27, 2013
LIST OF PARTICIPANTS
President and CEO, Aspen Institute
Former director, Domestic Policy Council
Chair, Aspen Forum for Community Solutions
Student Counselor, Crispus Attucks YouthBuild Charter School
Partner, Earnst & Young
Chairman and CEO, Goldman Sachs
Mayor, New Orleans
President and Editor-in-Chief, Huffington Post
Former US secretary of education
* * * * *
UNLOCKING THE POTENTIAL OF SMALL BUSINESS IN AMERICA
MS. BARNES: Thank you. Thank you. Good evening
everyone. And I'm not Walter or Lloyd or Margaret or Mitch or Arianna.
But before the program begins, we have a very brief announcement an
exciting announcement that I would like to make. My name is Melody
Barnes and I'm the chair of the Aspen Forum for Community Solutions and
the Opportunity Youth Incentive Fund. And I just want to spend a few
moments sharing some information with you.
But I'm going to start out with a question for you. What if we
told you that seven million young men and young women had simply
disappeared, that they are no longer in our nation's schools, that they are
not in our work places, they'd simply disappeared. And what if I then told
you that those young men and those young women touched by the
juvenile justice system or slipping through our foster care system or had
dropped out of our schools, not only have their futures impaired, but the
cost of that to the nation was about $252 billion every year or over the
life time of those young men and young women $404.75 trillion for -- to
the nation over their life times.
When I was pleased and proud to serve as the Domestic Policy
advisor to this president, we convened a council, the White House council
on Community Solutions, that looked at that issue, looked at that set of
problems. And took on not only why these young men and young women
were disconnected from work, disconnected from education, but why
some communities were doing such an amazing job of reconnecting them
to those institutions and why these cross-sector collaboratives in
communities were doing such an amazing job of taking on some of our
nation's biggest challenges.
That council consisted of 26 individuals; CEOs, nonprofit
leaders, cultural and arts leaders, college presidents, philanthropists and
others. Some of them are in this room. Republicans and Democrats,
Nancy Rubin was on that council, John Bridgeland was on that council. It
was led by Patty Stonesifer. And they made recommendations to the
president about a year ago.
And last year I joined you and I was pleased to announce that
the Aspen Institute would be the home for the Aspen Forum and for the
Opportunity Youth Incentive Fund, that when called, Walter and Elliot
answered that call and said that this could serve as a platform for our
And what I'm going to announce to you today, we think is
extremely exciting and to let you know what we've doing for the past year.
But before I do that I'd like to ask Jamiel Alexander to come forward just
for about two minutes and tell you why this work is so important. Jamiel is
a graduate of the Crispus Attucks YouthBuild Charter School. He is on the
Opportunity Youth Leadership Council and he is a fine example of why
we're doing the work that we're doing.
MR. ALEXANDER: Thank you, Ms. Mel. Good evening
everyone. My name is Jamiel Alexander. Once in Opportunity Youth,
now I'm voice for them and a voice for National Service. My early
childhood years in Philadelphia, I was raised in a 20-person household,
three bedroom row home, two floors and a basement that was converted
to three more rooms and a half bath where my sisters, cousins and I
stayed. I shared a room with my older cousin, a hip-hop graffiti artist and
my third room mate was the all heater that heated the whole house. The
car garage was transformed to a place of storage for food with a deep
freezer. From the dawn, nations from the food bank is still not -- we never
just did have enough food. As each month's grew to an end I always
anticipated the first of the month for our monthly field trip to the
As I went through childhood, going through a divorce I was
labeled as a problem child. I can recall the sessions with the social
worker at the DHS in Philly. During this era, I also remember my music
teacher. Back in middle school, now shut down due to funding, he would
ask me "why are you so angry?" He would let me stay after school and
literally beat the drums. From sixth grade to eighth grade he helped me to
learn and to master and skillfully play and use each tom-tom, cymbal, hihat,
snare, base until I made it through the divorce and was featured at my
eighth grade at graduation.
By the time I turned to high school, sharing clothes were now
just hand-me-downs, I got tired of it. Fighting had became a way of
territorial expression, meaning that I was from West Philly and I can hang
with the best of them in North Philly because that where my school was. I
was introduced to the gang. I was introduced to it as an avenue, a way
to get money and provide for myself, not realizing the distraction and the
destruction I will cause for my community. I failed the ninth grade,
transferred to another school, got caught, and mandated to do community
service at a place that I knew nothing about in York City and was
introduced to a life changing experience, YouthBuild AmeriCorps at
YouthBuild AmeriCorps is an opportunity for young people to get a
diploma, GD while rebuilding low-income housing with leadership
development component, focus on service and civic engagement and I am
now the president of the National Alumni Council.
MR. ALEXANDER: So please excuse me if I get a little choked
up here and there because the thug in me has died. If you see me gazing
off, taking pictures, grabbing a video to freeze this moment in time right
now or other, please don't judge me. Coming from a place where being
a welfare recipient was a necessity of survival to be on the leadership
council for the Aspen Forum for Community Solutions Opportunity Youth
Incentive Fund --
MR. ALEXANDER: -- major service and opportunity givers.
Even here at the Aspen Ideas Festival, the gathering of the great minds, I
feel like I'm on the mountain top of service. It's becoming full circle in a
way where I was a recipient and now I'm obligated to be a giver.
I see the beauty of my struggles, the advancements and how life
has changed for me through service. But I acknowledge my surroundings.
I see the other mountains and I'm ready for the climb and I'm going to
drink a lot of water.
MS. BARNES: And Jamiel is also a newly wed, so.
MS. BARNES: There are seven million other young men and
women like Jamiel. And YouthBuild provided a very intentional set of
pathways for Jamiel to become a successful member of our society. But
we can do the same thing at scale for the other seven million young men
and young women and we can do that intentionally. So that's why today,
I'm pleased to announce that the Opportunity Youth Incentive Fund is
going to give up to $500,000 to 21 communities around the country
and we're proud to announce those countries today.
In each -- I'm sorry, those communities today and each of those
counties. And each of those communities consist of collaboratives that I
mentioned before; the private sector, the nonprofit sector, the
philanthropies and others who are working together to create and build
And those communities are and maybe you'll hear your own
Atlanta, Georgia; Austin, Texas; Baltimore, Maryland; Boston,
Massachusetts; Chicago, Illinois. I heard a little clapping for Chicago.
Del Norte County, California; Denver, Colorado; Detroit, Michigan;
Greenville, Mississippi; Hartford, Connecticut; Hopi, Arizona; Los Angeles,
MS. BARNES: Southern Rural, Maine; New Orleans,
Louisiana; New York, New York; Oakland, California; Philadelphia,
Pennsylvania; San Diego, California; San Jose, California; South King
County, Washington and Tucson, Arizona. And --
MS. BARNES: Exactly, exactly. Thank you. So in all 21
communities urban, rural and tribal. So we're so proud of this work and
our ability to go forward with those communities. I also want to
acknowledge in the audience Steve Patrick -- where are you, Steve? --
who is the executive director of this program.
MS. BARNES: And would be happy to talk to any of you who
are interested in the work that we're doing. And I also want to thank
wholeheartedly, not only our supporters, our funders but also I want to
thank Walter and I want to thank Elliot and our entire Aspen family that
has supported us over the course of the last year and allowed us to do this
work. So thank you very much for allowing us to share this information
with you today.
MR. MUSCAT: So while the panel gets organized, I just
wanted to introduce the discussion. I think it's going to be a fantastic
dialogue and what a remarkable philanthropic and community building
program we just heard about. So we're, at Ernst & Young, really pleased
to see that happening and, you know, be thrilled to participate in that. I'm
Joe Muscat, I'm a partner at Ernst & Young. I lead our Strategic Growth
Markets practice on the West Coast and I've been a partner there for
about 23 years.
You know, working with entrepreneurs is in our DNA, whether
it's helping them from their earlier stages of raising venture capital or
private equity, through transformative events like their initial public offering
but ultimately recognizing them and the work they're doing, what the work
their teams are doing is a critically important part of sort of what we do at
EY. We like to call ourselves the world's leader in advising, guiding and
Part of that is our Ernst & Young Entrepreneur Of The Year
program. For 27 years, we've been celebrating entrepreneurship in that
program. And it's these very businesses that we're going to talking about
on this panel, small businesses, innovation, team building and so on that
makes a success.
Just to give you some data relative to this small business success,
between 2009 and 2011 those celebrated as part of the EOY program
through revenues 50 percent and maybe more importantly they grew jobs
30 percent. That's in the teeth of the economic recession we've all lived
But just to put a face on it a little bit, there is a brand I'm sure
you're quite familiar with, Chobani Yogurt, possibly. Chobani represents
about 20 percent of the US yogurt market. It was founded by an
immigrant from Eastern Turkey, Hamdi Ulukaya. He is our world
Entrepreneur Of The Year award winner.
He bought a factory in upstate New York about seven years
ago. It was being shuddered by a multinational. He recognized an
opportunity in the yogurt business to provide something that the US
consumer really was unfamiliar with. Now he's producing over 3 million
pounds of milk a day and he has, as I mentioned, 20 percent of the US
yogurt market. So that's the potential that small businesses have. So let
me quickly introduce Walter Isaacson he needs no introduction. He --
MR. ISAACSON: Well, thank you very much. Great. Good
to see you. Thank you very much. And let's get down to it. Very happy to
have to the mayor of my city, New Orleans. Everybody knows Mitch.
MR. ISAACSON: Become the 61st mayor and actually
bonded with Lloyd. I think Goldman Sachs is now funding the city of
New Orleans, which we appreciate. Margaret Spellings, besides not to
make this a New Orleans evening did save our school system after
Katrina. She and I worked together.
MR. ISAACSON: And not only did she save it, she helped us
reinvent it. But Margaret also needs to be congratulated she's just become
the chair, CEO, president whatever it is of the George W. Bush Library
Foundation and everything else. And we're going to look forward to
working with you.
MR. ISAACSON: Everybody knows Lloyd Blankfein. But truly
Goldman Sachs ever since -- I remember writing a book called The Wise
Men, which is about service to our county by the people of Wall Street
and Goldman Sachs has had that in its DNA ever since it's existed and
you certainly exemplified that. It's such an honor to have you with us,
MR. ISAACSON: Arianna and I started together, believe it or
not 40 years ago as journalists in London when she had just come down
from Cambridge, I had come down from Oxford. She succeeded, I
struggled and climbed the greasy pole.
MR. ISAACSON: Now Arianna is reinventing journalism in
three ways. First of all digitally, secondly by reinventing the focus of
journalism. So it's on some things that work. And thirdly by reinventing
television. And so it's always great after 40 years to still be sitting next to
Arianna and learning from her. Thank you.
MR. ISAACSON: Lloyd, let me start with you. Coming out of
what Jamiel said, you've just given a major grant to the city of New
Orleans for summer work.
MR. BLANKFEIN: Work, yeah.
MR. ISAACSON: And then you're also -- its semi related to
your 10,000 small businesses. Why don't you explain all that to us?
MR. BLANKFEIN: We've had a program for about two-and-ahalf
years now where we've allocated $500 million to fund small
business. And I will just say we're up and running, we started with one
city and we've gotten up to 12 cities. We're going to keep expanding.
And the idea is we're going to find in a particular community small
business people, frankly already proven business people. So we're not
starting from scratch, we're taking proven business people who may have
stalled out, these will be people who employee between four and 20
people, maybe a -- you know, $200,000 to $10 million of revenue.
And the idea is to pour a lot of resources into those people, a
mini MBA if you will, literally a program, cohorts of 20 to 30 people.
These people allocate their time, they work weekends, give up their
weekends for months engage in this program. We teach them courses in
accounting, in negotiation, business planning, the math of business, we
provide them with mentorship and we provide them at the end of it if it's
warranted C capital as well and then we measure the progress that goes.
And we also create a business network because these people engage
with each other.
And as a result of our investment in the infrastructure of this
program, we funded a lot of programs that's small we do this through
community schools, some community colleges, we leave behind an
infrastructure. And now about 1,500 people have gone through this
program in this country. We do it similarly in the UK as well. And we
measure the output and two-thirds of our people in this program, of our
scholars have added revenue in this environment to have increased their
revenue and more than half of them have added new employees. And we
keep trying to tweak that business model, but the idea is to invest in small
business, which again is the engine of job creation in this country, in fact
around the world.
MR. ISAACSON: You talk about it being the engine of job
creation. It would seem to me that Goldman Sachs would normally look
at big companies, big corporations that's where your bread and butter.
Why do you look at small businesses and what drove you to this?
MR. BLANKFEIN: You know, again, whatever business you're
in and whatever you do out there whether it's for living or your avocation,
there's a certain ideal that draw you -- that drew you in into the first place
and that's something that you also try to prove. This is what we do in our
wholesale lives. Goldman Sachs is an institutional firm. We invest in
businesses that turn out to be very, very big businesses and we've raised
pools of capital at $20 billion at a clip sometimes. And we do it and this
is what gets done on a large scale, which by the way has a very good
effect on small business because a big business throws off a lot of
opportunities to small business.
But we have an ethic and we want to prove our model. And
the people in our firm who as you know and you said it yourself and I
appreciate it, having their DNA service, they also like to serve on a human
scale as well. And this is a very popular program in our company for
people to contribute money as well as their time as mentorship. It is
similar, it's very similar thing but to have people in Goldman Sachs who
are a little bit remote from what they are producing sometimes because it's
done on such a great scale and have them after work stay on the phone
for three-and-half hours to try to figure out whether it's worth an investment,
whether a caterer should invest in a refrigerator a new refrigerator --
MR. ISAACSON: Wow, how cool.
MR. BLANKFEIN: -- how long will the payback be is
rewarding for a lot of people in that process but no one more than the
person at Goldman Sachs.
MR. ISAACSON: You know you talk about it being rewarding
for you. I think you spoke at with LaGuardia Community College. What
did you gain from that?
MR. BLANKFEIN: Well, I'll tell you I gave the commencement
address at LaGuardia Community College which was the first program
that we did. And I looked out at a sea of people and what I saw in front
of me and, you know, again this will sound a little hackney, but it's the
way I felt. I saw out in front me the reassurance that the American dream
is still alive and well.
MR. ISAACSON: Right.
MR. BLANKFEIN: Because when we invest this mini MBA and
mentor, you give a little bit of confidence to people and a spark and these
people are hugely ambitious. And if you ever want to have that, have an
efficient way of restoring that in any doubt that you may have come to one
of this graduations where people -- these scholars that we have, their
employee show up, their parents show up, their grandparent show up,
their children show up and it shows what commitment and what strivers
have done for this country and will continue to do. I think it's safe for
another generation, I dare say.
MR. ISAACSON: I think I have a factoid about Margaret
Spellings that may or may not be true, but don't correct me if I'm wrong,
that you're the only US secretary of education who actually worked at a
MS. SPELLINGS: I did.
MR. ISAACSON: Okay. Good. Tell us how that affected
MS. SPELLINGS: Well, so -- Lloyd gave some of the -- some of
the metrics that we're so proud of and in addition to the fact that all these
people end up doing business with each other. But one of the things that
is a big legacy piece about this is what we're doing to develop community
colleges to serve this unique population. These folks are, you know, have
been some successful in their businesses they're not startups they're working
their tails off. They're driving by their community college everyday and they
don't think "hey, I ought to go in there and find out about the mini MBA
that is a Babson best in class curriculum.
So at the community level we have built some excellence in
community colleges and used this as a way to deploy this all world
curriculum. We've trained hundreds of community college faculty. We
have engendered more quality in their own classes and it is really
spreading around the country.
We also and importantly helped community colleges by
helping them establish better relationships in the community with the
Chamber of Commerce, the Urban League, the Hispanic Chamber, you
know, the (inaudible), I mean all the multiple economic developments the
city. And so it's much more than just the scholars, as compelling as that is.
It is a legacy that is being left in these communities around the country
that's long lasting.
MR. ISAACSON: Now, Mitch, tell us what it's like on the
ground when that happens?
MR. LANDRIEU: Well, first of all every time I have a chance to
talk, the first thing I have to do is say thank you to everybody here for
helping the city of New Orleans, it's your city. And to each of these
individuals up here who have really done an unbelievable job, especially
Walter. Now, Walter, you're too young to be called a grandfather, but
you're the grandfather of New Orleans now. And so I thank you for that.
MR. ISAACSON: I want to say that I covered his dad and his
dad's nickname for me was boy reporter.
MR. LANDRIEU: As far as I --
MR. ISAACSON: So I've now gone from boy reporter to
grandfather with two generations of Landrieu.
MR. LANDRIEU: But I guess to frame this in the right way, you
know, when all of us -- I mean politicians run for office, they say what are
you going to do, right? And the first thing we always say is we're are
going to create jobs. And there's a big argument whether the government
create jobs or the private sector. I guess it's a combination of both.
But one of the things that you get tired of as a mayor is people
telling you what to do and nobody helping you figure out how to do it,
right. So that's a common criticism that we get. But I knew when --
because I was campaigning and I'd ask people "well, what do you need?
You know, so that New Orleans always small women locally owned
businesses would complain that they weren't able to participate, weren't
able to create jobs, weren't able to participate in the big economy. And
so you would ask them "hey, you know, what do you need? I mean what
do you really need to -- with help?"
The first thing they always said was we need better and more
training. You know, we started our companies on our own, we're out
here trying to figure out what to work, we didn't have a chance, you
know, to get an MBA we need more training. We need more capacity,
we don't have enough stuff. I don't have enough machines if I'm going to
demolish houses I need to -- which then means you need access to capital.
So after I got elected, obviously we did the traditional things
that mayors do, you know. I called up Goldman Sachs and said "why
don't you just move your corporate headquarters to New Orleans?"
MR. LANDRIEU: And that way you can create 5,000 jobs.
MR. BLANKFEIN: Sounds good.
MR. LANDRIEU: Sounds like a good deal, BP, maybe you can
MR. BLANKFEIN: Much better food.
MR. LANDRIEU: And so you know that there's this huge
competition amongst governors and mayors to recruit firms to come and
that will go on forever. And there'll be economic incentives to do that.
And so that's called economic development.
But there is another thing called economic growth. And small
businesses are the engine of the nation's economy. And when Goldman --
when this opportunity arose, right and Goldman said we're really
interested in working with New Orleans on this, the second I looked at it, I
said I think that's really going to work because that satisfies the needs of
what people said they wanted and they needed. And here's the beauty of
the program, I mean, it's really spectacular. I can't say enough great
things about it.
The first thing that happened was try to figure out well who's
going to come in to the program, because everybody wanted to be in.
But the idea was this isn't a gimmy, right. You got to have some skin in the
game and so we don't want to talk to anybody that didn't try already to
risk everything that they had and so you have to have been in business for
So we're talking about, for example, there's a business called
the Demolition Diva. She went into the business of destroying and taking
down houses that needed to be taken down after, but she didn't really
have everything she needed. There was another young man who has a
karate class, there was another young man who ran a barber shop, there
was another guy that actually was in the construction business.
And so we didn't want -- we wanted there to be some
transparency in who was chosen, and we didn't want the government to
do it. So we needed a partner, so who do we ask? We asked the
Urban League in New Orleans, you do the screening. We got a bunch
of people that came in; out of a 100 applicants we chose 30, right. And
then Margaret and her team came in and they said, look who's the
community college, well, Delgado, a community college in New Orleans
is the largest college in the Louisiana. It's not LSU, right. And not
everybody in the world -- well, they're a little bit smaller and they're fighting
over whose big.
But not everybody in the world has gone to college right away
and the community colleges, right are providing a service that every
corporation in America says who's going to provide the training for exactly
what I need when I get out and how are you going to train to the job
MS. SPELLINGS: I know.
MR. LANDRIEU: So we had that part. And then Margaret
came in and said "look, I've got the curriculum, we're going to teach the
teachers how to teach these businesses to do what they did." And then
after it's over Goldman Sachs said, not only are we going to provide all of
that but at the end of the day we're going to be standing there. And now
these credit risks are much better than they used to be and they've been
trained. We're going to give them access to capital.
So this program gave them everything that they needed. Now
in New Orleans -- and I don't know about the others but I'm assuming
they're just as good -- we've been through six graduating classes now of
30, so 180 businesses have graduated. Almost every one of them has
increased the sales in their businesses and added one, two, three, four,
Now what governor or mayor wouldn't pay a lot of money for
a 500 job corporation to come in the city on any day? And these people
are from New Orleans, they're born and bred there, they're going to stay
there, that's where their families are and they're building generation of
well, so young men like Jamiel, right all of a sudden have the opportunity
they always needed to be. And that's why this program has been such a
spectacular success. And New Orleans just feels -- I mean, we're thrilled
to have been a part of it. And I can just tell you, it's working here and if it
works in New Orleans it pretty much -- it can work anywhere.
MR. ISAACSON: Well, as long as we're giving shout outs,
where's Dina. There's Dina Powell --
MR. LANDRIEU: Dina Powell who runs the program.
MR. ISAACSON: -- (inaudible) with Lloyd and the mayor. And
Dina really did help put this together. She's been a friend of the institute
and helped put this panel together and so you deserve some credit as
well. Thanks Dina.
MS. POWELL: Thank you.
MR. ISAACSON: So, Arianna, you've done a lot on what's
working, how to -- and I think you've had some what would Goldman
Sachs do, explain that.
MS. HUFFINGTON: So basically as you remember I reached
out to you first, just before the conventions last year to say that those of us
in the media are not doing enough to cover what is working. You know,
there's a lot that is working around America and it is demonstrated on this
panel. And we are not putting enough of a spotlight on it. And by putting
a spotlight you can help scale it, because that's really what is missing.
So at the conventions, at both conventions we did the same
program. We had panels and moderated by Tom Brokaw, Walter was
kind enough to be on both, talking about how can we recapture that job
raising spirit in America, where we can help small businesses in everyway
to get to scale and to get started? And at each of the conventions we had
over a hundred start-up entrepreneurs we had an exhibition of them. And
they were mentored and they got to blog on the Huffington Post and get a
lot of exposure.
Then Dina Powell, I thought I was going to be the first to give
her a shout out, reached out to me and she had been running the 10,000
Women Entrepreneurs program at Goldman, which is absolutely fantastic
and said what about if we launch a section together with Goldman
Sachs, that we call "What is Working, Small Business."
And then Lloyd and I actually launched it together in Davos.
We called for the notepad, that was quite something right, Lloyd?
MR. BLANKFEIN: That's right.
MS. HUFFINGTON: And then what was really moving was
shortly after we launched it we had the first graduation at Goldman of the
first small business graduates that Lloyd mentioned. It was so moving to be
there at that ceremony. Valerie Jarrett spoke and Michael Brzezinski and I
and Toddy Birch (phonetic) had a panel there. And these women and
men are absolutely amazing. And without that help they would not have
been able to scale these businesses and to learn what they learned.
There was one woman there, Marlene Barnett (phonetic) who
has a carpet company in Brooklyn. And she's just absolutely awesome. In
fact I ordered a carpet from her immediately.
MS. HUFFINGTON: If you come to my apartment you will see
MR. BLANKFEIN: Just one?
MS. HUFFINGTON: Just one for now. But she is like
somebody who I think is going to be a household name. And that's the
kind of potential, if we just give a little help whether its financial help,
mentoring help or media help. And that's really where I feel the Huffington
Post has a role to play and everybody in the media has a role to play.
You know, clearly we're going to continue covering what is
dysfunctional, what is not working. But if we can put a spotlight on what
is working in many ways. Another thing we did is raise money for
nonprofits creating jobs. We did a competition and there are so many
new digital tools now. We got a fund from the Skoll Foundation,
$250,000 and then parted with CrowdRise and had a challenge who
was going to win the competition to get the money from Skoll, but in the
process raised money from the community.
There -- we ended up raising an extra $1.3 million from our
leaders. And most of these donations were in under $100. So there is a
real longing for people to help. I mean there were some moving moments
when people would send $20 and say "you know, I'm out of work, that's
all I can afford, but I want to help you create jobs. And that's something
which the media can do because there's millions of readers and we can
engage them and tap into their own longing to be part of the solution.
MR. ISAACSON: Well to give a shout out to my old friend
now, Ben Franklin. You know, when he formed his newspaper in
Philadelphia it was simply to become part of what he called "we the
middling people, the shopkeepers, artisans and small businesses of
Philadelphia." They called the Leather Apron Club because all the other
parts of the media were, you know, helping the proprietors or the Quakers
or whatever. And he said if we can have a market street, which is what it
became, of small businesses it will help bring the diverse segments of our
community together. And I was wondering --
MR. BLANKFEIN: You didn't cover him as a young reporter,
MR. ISAACSON: No, no, no, no, no, no. He was right
before I -- yes. But it does seem to bring together the diversity -- sorry,
MR. LANDRIEU: Well, I would make two points about that.
For example, we were successful in recruiting GE to put some very
important high-tech high paying jobs in the city. But the folks that are
going to get those jobs are the PhDs and the master's degrees that are
coming out of UNO, Xavier et cetera. And those are great jobs to have
and we'll take them every day.
But as you said just now, this and Arianna alluded to this, when
you go to these graduations you're talking to tailor, you're talking to the
carpenter, you're talking to the contractor, you're talking to the folks that
are real salt of the earth, that have actually been out there doing the hard
work. And I think that sometimes when you drive down -- if you're driving
down the street you ought to stop and get out of your car and walk a
couple of blocks. And it looks a little different, because you're driving by
all of these folks that are providing most of the jobs in America.
It's those individual mom and pop operations that really kind of
seed the nation together in a really important way, but they need help too.
And most of our economic development efforts on behalf of the governors
and mayors has been on the big stuff.
This is about really leading America together, you know, and
it's working very, very well. And the reason why you get overwhelmed
when you go to these graduations is become -- is because it becomes
obvious and manifest to you that you've been walking by it every day.
And we've now figured out if you think about what Arianna said about the
method, this is a public, private, not for profit, educational partnership
where everybody's in the game. And what's coming out of it is just
beautiful for everybody and that's why it's so special. And it's working
really, really well. And it could be scaled pretty much across the country I
MR. ISAACSON: Margaret.
MS. SPELLINGS: You know, Walter, when we looked at this
with Lloyd's guidance we didn't find anything like this in the market place.
There were plenty of things for large companies and they were, you know,
if you want to file a permit to get registered with the Department of
Agriculture, those very much start-up things but we didn't find anything that
was just like this.
And what we've done with this program that is a four or five
months 100-hour weekend practical applied, you know, learned Friday
and Saturday, applied Monday and Tuesday This is something that is, I
hope a more coming thing to American higher education, which is we're
going to meet our customer where they are and with what they need. And
so we're building something unique through these private-public
partnerships but it's also a different thing that we've never had before.
MR. ISAACSON: And it ties education more directly to the
skills needed in the workplace.
MS. SPELLINGS: Absolutely.
MR. ISAACSON: Which was one of your -- thanks.
MR. BLANKFEIN: And confidence. First of all, you know, the
commitment and confidence, 99 percent of the people who join this
program finish it, that's unbelievable.
MR. ISAACSON: Wow.
MR. BLANKFEIN: So in other words these are people with
families now. I want to say -- I don't want you to get the wrong
impression, when you say tailor and the -- the people who are starting this
program some of them have been in their business for three generations.
So the minimum requires a couple of years, some of have been in there for
three generations but it's been stagnant in a way. Some of them come into
us with $3 million in sales and they want to make it 9 million, so it's small,
it's small business, it's not -- you know its leverage. Some of our -- I just
spoke to somebody, one of our scholars who is up to 81 employees and
$9 million of revenue, I guess.
MR. ISAACSON: Who's that? Stand up.
MR. ISAACSON: All right.
MR. BLANKFEIN: So at the present from our Los Angeles
program and then our present -- her present rate of growth measured
against our rate of growth, you know, with our slightly lower trajectory,
she will acquire Goldman Sachs in 2022.
MR. BLANKFEIN: But -- you know. So I'm just -- the other thing
I want to say is, you know, we have this notion of a tipping point where a
little push on -- you know, in a well-balanced fulcrum can upset things.
We've allocated a lot of money to this, but a lot of the money also was for
lending which we get back. It's not -- when I think of how much money
pours in to this stuff and I think of the capacity that we're just using that's
pre-existing community colleges, Arianna's network and distribution and
the megaphone that she carries and also frankly her commitment to
progress and recognizing progress and great mayors and it didn't take -- it
doesn't take that much.
And one of the other things why we did it city by city is because
we learn something and we get better at it and you get more leverage
and I really do think it's scalable. But when I think of the billions of dollars
that pour into futile programs --
MR. BLANKFEIN: And what's really being levered here is the
character of people in this country. Because you go in and it sounds that
-- I want to make it clear, it sounds -- could come across as patronizing
when we say the people are really good and somebody may finish that
sentence which I don't intend for people who are doing this.
I am telling you, they are good the people we recruit into
Goldman Sachs, they just didn't necessarily get an opportunity, high
percentage of immigrants, didn't get under educated and didn't get a
chance to lever it up but exposed to an opportunity its quite formidable.
MR. ISAACSON: I want to ask you and Arianna something,
which is I mean you do not only this for 10,000 women throughout the
Middle East in the Muslim world and it's a sense of corporate social
responsibility that goes probably way back in Goldman's history. I
remember first seeing it when I was learning from John Whitehead in
writing the book that involved that.
MR. LANDRIEU: It's maybe another New Orleans.
MR. ISAACSON: Yeah, that's right. So tell me about why you
see that as part of corporate social responsibility or is it just part of your
general corporate ethos? And I know Arianna has done work on the
Third Metric and other things as well.
MR. BLANKFEIN: Look I think everybody who works in a
company, our company but I think companies like ours, people have a lot
of -- you know, the people who we want, have a lot of choices of where
to go. And people want to feel good about them selves beyond what it
takes to make a living. You want to feel proud of what you do, you want
to feel that you're accomplishing something, you want to feel the leverage
And frankly if people make money and enough money, those
intangible things really outweigh, start to outweigh and then accelerates
towards the end of your career or in the middle towards the end, because
you've already met your subsistence needs and now you really have to
start to think what you want to accomplish. And if we want to retain our
people, we were to provide a platform for them to do that better than they
can do it by themselves.
And part of my pitch in the recruiting process by the way and
more in the retention process, look you can leave this and go your
philanthropy route. We're not going to -- certainly not going to fight that.
But let me tell you the leverage you can get by applying that through the
platform that we could provide in this organization of money, convening
power, prestige. Look at the partners that come together and do this stuff
and you know something you could be at that tail, that end of a very, very
long and effective lever if you stay and we get people to stay. But, you
know, they don't stay forever and they're not supposed to. They go on
and do funny things like become Secretary of Treasury or this or that, so.
MR. ISAACSON: Chairman of Aspen Institute.
MR. BLANKFEIN: Chairman of the Aspen Institute. So we,
every once in a while we let go.
MR. ISAACSON: Arianna?
MS. HUFFINGTON: Well that's related to what we've been
working on that we're calling the Third Metric. And it's really an editorial
project to redefine success, you know. Success is commonly defined as
money and power. But increasingly as Lloyd pointed out that's not
enough, it's almost like a two-legged stool and you fall over if that's all that
you measure your life by.
So part of the Third Metric, which consists very quickly of four
things; a sense of well-being, how do you tap into your own wisdom, to
make good decisions, a sense of wonder, you know, here we're are.
Very often if you are completely blinkered about where you're going in
your career you can miss it. And finally, service and giving back. This is
absolutely essential and what you said about retention is really key. I
mean I saw other graduation ceremony. There were a lot of executives
from Goldman Sachs who are mentors to the small business people. And
they were really glowing. You would have thought their own kids were
Now that's not something you can buy. It's something you
have to experience. You have to be willing to put this three-and-half hours
at the end of your working day to consider whether they should buy the
refrigerator or not. But the reward is absolutely amazing and intangible.
And when we begin to measure our success including that, we make
different decisions and our lives end up being incidentally more fulfilling
and adding value in a way that we never imagined.
MR. ISAACSON: Mitch, you --
MS. SPELLINGS: Very nice.
MR. LANDRIEU: I was -- yeah and it made me just think about
a couple of things. First of all, in America we don't really use our birth
right as something that we talk about, because it's not really part of our
history. But I don't think it's too much of an exaggeration to say if you are
an American you kind of have a right to expect a good opportunity.
And even though this is obviously the greatest country in the
world, we're leaving a lot of people behind as Melody talked about a
little bit earlier. And Lloyd kind of testified, for all of you and Dina -- and
everybody knows this, when you go here and you see these people, every
one of them is unbelievably talented and has the capacity and the
capability to do great things. And the beauty of what's going on here as
Lloyd said is we didn't create anything new. We kind of took what was
already there, met each other, you know, and kind of used what we had
to create something that just hadn't been created before. And now it's
producing a tangible real wonderful result. And I just think there's a huge
amount of untapped potential in this country if we can all figure out how
to create the opportunity and the environment that will grow it, will
explode and really help the country in a very significant way.
MS. HUFFINGTON: Well, that's actually a point that Warren
Buffet who chairs the advisory board for the Goldman Small Business
initiative. He said something which is very true and I think those of us in the
media need to really pay attention to which is that so much of what we
write about, so much of our national conversation is around our deficits,
it's around, you know, our physical deficit, around unemployment, around
all the things the crisis we're dealing with. We're not spending enough
time focusing on our surpluses.
And there is a real surplus of creativity, ingenuity, compassion
that's manifested when we come together for these initiatives, whether it's
the Goldman Sachs initiative or what's happened in New Orleans or
what you are doing with community colleges. And I really profoundly
believe that if we spend more time discussing this, we are going to be able
to scale them. We are going to inspire other people to get involved, we
are going to help those who are already involved, accelerate what they
are doing and it's going to dramatically change the country we are living
MR. ISAACSON: That's why Melody, I think calls an
opportunity to you. So let me open it up to see if there are any questions
or thoughts, just stand up, shout out, run for microphone, do whatever you
want. Questions, comments? Yes. The microphone is to your left.
MS. ISRAEL: Thank you. Oh, you're going to hold it. You are
going to hold it. Sandy Israel (phonetic) local girl. In all of what you're
talking about, they what we used to call blue collar jobs, training
electricians, training plumbers, training -- you know, all of the mechanics
we need. What is your thought about vocational training?
MR. ISAACSON: Go ahead, Margaret, you --
MS. SPELLINGS: Well, obviously we need more of that and
have it be more relevant and more market connected. Our high schools
have drifted away from some of that and we need to rebuild that. And
people look to community colleges for that kind of programming often.
What this is, is something very unique and different. Serving a
population that frankly as I said has gone wanting, these are not people
that see themselves dropping out of life and going to a four year university
full time. And they're working their tails off and they don't have time to go
to school. And so we have to -- one of the trickiest things about this
program is to go find these folks, find these people who are busting their
chops everyday, they are in every line of work as Mitch said, they are
technology people, restaurants, construction, very high skill things.
In Houston, my home town, there is an ecosystem around
obviously the petrochemical industry and there are people in healthcare.
And you have these very, very sophisticated businesses that some of which
they are quite large as Lloyd said, in the millions. But it's across the board
and what is so gratifying about this is these business owners have so much
in common too. They work together in this pure mentoring way that
becomes so powerful to them. The faculty almost gets out of the way
because they help each other solve their problems they talk about things
that they've done. But this is not that kind of a profile it is somebody who is
at a level of sophistication, yeah.
MR. ISAACSON: Now, Margaret, let me follow-up on that by
putting you on the spot on this somewhat political thing. You pushed and
I think it really helped this country, the concept of No Child Left Behind.
Then it sort of gathered a little bit of controversy around it. Are you still
passionate about making sure we assess and make sure that No Kids Left --
and are you worried that we're moving away from that, both parties?
MS. SPELLINGS: Walter, thank you for that medium speech
pitch over the plate. I love you for that. Of course.
MR. ISAACSON: But, you know, are you going to get mad or
Ms. Margaret Spellings: And -- no, no, no. And we have
drifted from that. You know, now local control is suddenly very, very
fashionable again, which means that everybody is going to do their own
thing and we're going to have less power around annual measurement,
data and accountability to get kids to a particular place. And the
particular place was reading and ciphering on grade level. And we are
not going to have kids college-and-work-ready if we do not start with that
And, you know, as we cranked up the heat on some of this
stuff, obviously, a lot of the vested stakeholders started to howl. You saw
some of this in your town. And I think, you know, we've got to get serious
about it. When half of our minority kids in this country are getting out of
high school on time, we ought to be, you know, have an urgent crisis we
ought to be mad and upset about the fact that we're not doing the job.
MR. BLANKFEIN: I see what also plays into this and it applies
to both. The importance of metrics and the will to apply metrics -- I mean,
you could say, be on a panel and be so aspirational and inspiring and
get -- and accomplish nothing and pour out a lot of dough and
accomplish nothing. I mean there's almost no correlation between
intentions and effectiveness.
MR. ISAACSON: Right.
MR. BLANKFEIN: But if you are ruthlessly engaged in trying to
improve the world and you are really kind of disciplined about it, you
want to make sure you see a return on this. And I think No Child Left
Behind required these metrics and I'm telling you, the people who are in
the business of providing the services and have done it institution for a long
time, they are not dying to be measured. I am dying to measure them
because I want to see whether we should cut this off and over fund
something else, move funding over to them and do with what works, that's
what business people would do, that's what -- you know, frankly, that's
what Darwin would do, that's what the selection -- with natural selection
and processes would do.
And by the way and I don't think it sound -- turn something that's
so well intended to sound so sharp, but we do that in this program. If we
weren't creating jobs, if people weren't going out and hiring people, if
there wasn't -- if it wasn't effective, we go back to the drawing board, we
wouldn't spend our money on that.
MS. SPELLINGS: That's right, I know.
MR. LANDRIEU: First of all, I agree with that. You know, when
I ascended to the job that I have or descended, however you would view
MR. LANDRIEU: -- the city didn't measure anything and we
couldn't know whether anything was effective. So now we measure
everything. I will say this, there is a way to measure incorrectly too, but
that doesn't mean you should throw out the process of measuring. And so
I think in some instances in No Child Left Behind, the controversy was over
the way we measure and a lot of teachers on the ground said, look, we're
teaching to the test now, you know, we're not teaching the kids the other
things that we need to so let's quit measuring altogether.
Well, the better idea is, let's just measure better and teach
better to the thing that we need.
MS. SPELLINGS: Right.
MR. LANDRIEU: But I don't know how you run anything if you
don't measure it. It's kind of irresponsible in a way because you have no
idea whether you are investing a limited amount of resources that you have
in anything that returns a value and the value could be for the private
sector return on investment in money or for the public sector, it could be the
good of the community as a whole. And there is a way because in my life
as a mayor of the city, we have balanced budget requirements, we have
to meet them every year and it is a zero sum gain.
What you have coming in, you can spend, but you can't spend
more than you have and that means that I have to decide along with the
city council and the democratic process, rather we're going to spend a
dollar on a recreation program or a police officer, on the blight reduction
strategy or whether it's not we're going to cut the grass and there's not a
lot of money to go around. So you have to figure it out which is why this
particular program is helpful to us because it leverages the little bit that we
have and gets us a lot because I got other folks helping. And it's in their
best interest to help financially.
It is true that it's part of their, you know, ethos as a company,
but at the end of the day they're creating better credit risks and people are
borrowing money from them and they're paying them back, that's pretty
good, that's the business you're in, right. And that works. And it's good
for us too and so it just -- this is just a good model.
MR. ISAACSON: Of course.
MS. HUFFINGTON: I think one of the problems with how the
No Child Left Behind act was implemented was that, let's say you
identified children that were not learning, then the funding wasn't there to
really improve their chances or to give them the kind of home schooling. I
mean, there are -- and I don't mean literally home schooling -- but
additional schooling help. I mean there is a minimal amount of money left
and then if the school failed, there was nowhere else for the kid to go. I
mean, so there was really a systemic problem where you had these failing
schools and then we identified the problem, but we didn't really have any
real solutions. And that's why the model of what happened in New
Orleans is so key because we need something very disruptive to fix
education, we can't just measure the failure because we all know we're
failing. And if we don't have solutions to deal with the failure, we are not
really adequately solving the problem. And I think what happened with
New Orleans, what happened with bringing in the Teach for America
team, what happened with what you did made such a difference and
created a model that can really be used in other cities.
MR. ISAACSON: Margaret?
MS. SPELLINGS: And we know so because we have all kinds
of amazing assessment data and progress improvement in New Orleans.
Yes, we have the perfect measurement systems, but we can evidence their
success because we've disrupted, we've measured and it's working. And
I'm the first to give all the credit in the world to what you all have done
MR. LANDRIEU: Thank you very much. Well, Walter was a
big help in some of the --
MR. ISAACSON: I mean part of it was we did make sure
people had choices. If a school was failing, you can move to another
MS. SPELLINGS: Exactly.
MR. ISAACSON: And frankly most people in this room, they
had choice where they send their kids. We shouldn't deny that to
everybody in this country.
MS. SPELLINGS: Absolutely.
MR. ISAACSON: Yes, way back there, first hand I saw.
Sorry, I hope I'm being fair here. And identify yourself if you don't mind,
otherwise the NSA will tell us who you are.
MS. VALIN: Okay, hi. Tammy Valin (phonetic) associate
professor of law in New York Law School. And my question is do you
think it's time for corporations, writ large because some of them are
beginning to do this. So do you think it's time for corporations to begin to
articulate a new normative framework for how you define success?
MR. BLANKFEIN: For corporations?
MR. ISAACSON: Yeah.
MR. BLANKFEIN: I don't know.
MR. ISAACSON: But it's an important question, which is does
a corporation have only one duty, which is the fiduciary duty to its
shareholders or does it have a broader set of longer range duties that will
eventually payoff for the shareholders but will make a Goldman Sachs a
MR. BLANKFEIN: Listen, yes to both, okay. They're not
opposite sides of the same coin. Our duty is to our shareholders to create
an institution that generates value for the ages which gets discounted to
present value and is reflected in the share price. At -- well, how -- what
percentage of the value of our firm is our brand and our reputation and
the clients we have and the people who want to call us and use us and
think highly of us and the service we provide and the history of the firm
through thick and thin.
Well, let me tell you, a lot of that is what my -- and you pointed
this out, is what my predecessors done, when Sidney Weinberg ran the
War Board and Gus Levy created some of the most important hospitals in
New York and maintained it. And that loyalty, I'm the beneficiary of today
and it's reflected in the current value of our company and that's what we're
We also have to recruit people, may have to feel good about
themselves, I mentioned that. But that is how we -- you know, companies
don't want to trade at their book value. They want to trade at multiples of
that book value. What is the part of the book value that's not -- that's
beyond the equity or the value of your firm on dissolution? That's all this
stuff. And so it's very important to the long term self-interest of the firm, of
course goes to the broader interest of the community.
And tell you another thing, everything we do as a firm, whether
we're advising companies who want to expand, whether we're financing
that expansion or managing risky assets in the market, the success that we
have in attracting those opportunities all correlate with growth. So
anything we do with that firm's growth doesn't just go to inure to the
greater penumbra of our benefits, it's a benefit that we receive
MS. HUFFINGTON: But there's definitely a contradiction
between pursuing just short time growth to be reflected in the share price,
you know, quarterly earnings and long-term growth that benefits, you
know, shareholders, stakeholders, employees and everything and that's
really the debate going on now. How can you save all those interests, if
companies that are less successful than Goldman Sachs have the constant
pleasure of quarterly earnings? And we see the gyrations that companies
get into to meet and exceed quarterly earning expectations.
MR. ISAACSON: I think if you have a solid history and a
good solid DNA, you know how to navigate those straights. Yes, ma'am.
SPEAKER: Thank you and I'm agreeing with the Atlantic. So
just to follow-up on the question I'm interested in the connection between
the subject of this panel, which is small business as Mayor Landrieu said,
the salt of the earth, contractors and tailors. So what's the connection
between the corporate values, the stakeholders, the shareholders, that
profit motive and sort of helping these salt of the earth people that you all
have been talking about?
MR. BLANKFEIN: I'd say, again there's a lot of different
elements in creating and maintaining a franchise. We have to have
clients, we have to have happy shareholders and we have to -- you know,
the feedstock from our business, if you're making -- if you're an energy -- or
a refining company your feedstock is oil and you turn it into gas. Our
feedstock in our service business is people, making sure we can recruit, go
to the schools and people want to work at Goldman Sachs. And once
there, they're satisfied, not just from what they make in income but their
psychic satisfaction because they're contributing to their communities. So
that's a big part of how that ties in.
And I said something in passing before that should, I hope
resonates. Every once in a while people who finance governments and
the biggest companies in the world, biggest institutions, like to do things on
a human scale.
MR. ISAACSON: Yes, Margaret?
MS. SPELLING: Walter, I want to add one quick thing. You
know the people that we work with in this program, like the woman from
Los Angeles, every single one of them thinks they can be Lloyd Blankfein,
they can be Warren Buffet they're going to business with Goldman Sachs.
They -- this is not a charity program. This is --
MR. BLANKFEIN: They don't want to be small.
MS. SPELLINGS: These people have -- they're competitive,
they're entrepreneurial, they have egos, they have drive, every single one
of them. And -- right?
MR. BLANKFEIN: Right. She was pulling on her hair. She
didn't want to go all the way.
MR. ISAACSON: Mitch.
MR. LANDRIEU: Well I want to answer that from two
perspectives, the perspective of the individuals that are being helped and
then Goldman Sachs. Lloyd didn't give you the whole portfolio of
Goldman Sachs in New Orleans, so I give it to you very briefly. And a
piece of it is philanthropic, a piece of it is innovation and a piece of it is
just regular business, right?
So yesterday Lloyd announced that Goldman Sachs was
giving the City of New Orleans $450,000 to help pay for the summer
jobs programs. So we're going to be able to put 1,600 teenagers to
work this summer. And so, Lloyd, thank you very much for that.
MR. LANDRIEU: That would fall into the philanthropic part.
And then of course the 10,000 small businesses is let's try something
innovative, that works, that is not as Lloyd said a gift. This is about
teaching people, giving them opportunity, lending them money and
making sure they're paying back for the skin in the game.
And then there is the traditional relationship that companies like
Goldman Sachs have with the city of New Orleans. So you know we're
rebuilding the whole city. Goldman Sachs has helped finance $166
million worth of infrastructure building. Now, here a way to get things
done. So President Clinton and Robby Manuel (phonetic) and a bunch of
people are saying this has got to happen in the local level because it's not
happening on the national level and that cities have to start working with
the private sector to build infrastructure in America. So this is where these
individuals can work.
So whether it's building the schools, rebuilding the new housing
developments that we have, you know, or rebuilding healthcare which is
important Goldman Sachs your new market tax credits has provided that
kind of funding. And as Arianna and I have talked about before creating
a another model between local governments and the private sector to
build infrastructure in the company. Now, the one unifying factor is that all
of those things are job creators for people that live in New Orleans that
could become, you know, stand on their own two feet and build the
community that then eventually will become customers of Goldman Sachs
et cetera, et cetera. And it's a virtuous cycle that's being created through
their approach through philanthropy, innovation and then typical
relationships that we have.
On the side of the individuals themselves, what they are doing,
these individuals that they are investing, is they are the ones who are hiring
people. And all of the people that they hire are people that have been
citizens of New Orleans forever.
MS. SPELLING: Right.
MR. LANDRIEU: So that's helping the economy grow which is
one of the reasons why the economy in New Orleans is actually
performing better on a whole point scale than the national average right
now. And again, it's a model that is working that as Arianna said, it can
be reflected in the work that can be done in other cities in America.
MR. ISAACSON: Great. Sorry, I've been ignoring you before.
Let's make this the last question. So make it brilliant and broad and --
pressure is on you. Yeah.
MS. LINDER: I'm actually going to make a shameless plea. As
a small business owner myself who employs 28 people in Los Angeles city
MR. ISAACSON: Well, identify yourself?
MS. LINDER: Rebecca Linder (phonetic). And my question is
how are you going to accelerate this program to get more access to
people like me?
MR. LANDRIEU: In other words, please let you in?
MS. LINDER: Exactly right. Shameless plea, as I said before.
MS. HUFFINGTON: Have you applied?
MS. LINDER: Say again?
MS. HUFFINGTON: Have you applied.
MS. LINDER: I'm just learning about it now. I will apply.
MR. ISAACSON: How do we bring things to scale?
MR. BLANKFEIN: Aspen wasn't one of the first needy places
that we were thinking of when we were designing this model.
MR. BLANKFEIN: I think it's -- look, we have again talking
about convening power and everybody here has it. And you know we
worked together on this committee and, you know, when you can have
Warren Buffet as chairing your advisory group et cetera et cetera, we
wanted to demonstrate something. This is eminently scalable.
But when I think of what goes into small business investing in
this country and what comes out of it versus this, so this is our little effort to
do a very big reconnaissance in force. We're up to 12 cities and you
know something, it's scalable. Goldman Sachs, you know, or any one
company is not going to carry this by itself. This is going to have to be
scaled up and others are going to contribute. And who knows the
government may get interested and although that -- who knows whether
we lose our flexibility and whether some of the innovation gets lost in it.
And I'll tell you the last ingredient which is very important,
which you see demonstrated here. We've gone to cities and you have to
have people to work with. There has to be a good infrastructure for
community college. By the way we don't just write checks to people when
we give people access we work with community development, financial
institutions who are good and in place and we fund them and they
distributed the money in a sensible way.
And above all else you need somebody at the top of that
pyramid who's -- like, you know, like Mayor Mitch who does it. And we
have gone to other cities that would be higher on your list of places where
you would do it and we haven't been able to connect yet because we
haven't put -- we're not trying to -- we're not -- you know, we're not trying to
knock our heads against the wall. If we have a choice between going to
a needy place were we're not going to get anything done and going to a
place that's -- that we could scale and make a contribution, we may -- we
measure the effect we have. So we'd rather go to places where that effect
will be leveraged. And so a little bit the, you know, political infrastructure
it matters too.
MS. HUFFINGTON: Do you want to name names?
MR. ISAACSON: Let me just say --
MR. BLANKFEIN: You know -- they know who they are.
MR. ISAACSON: My last shout out to Benjamin Franklin, his
first Poor Richard's Almanack, the slogan was "doing well by doing
good." Everybody on this panel has done well by doing good. Thank
* * * * *
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