《经济学人》:英国的比尔•盖茨在哪?
日期:2011-09-01 11:01

(单词翻译:单击)

Entrepreneurship and technology
企业家精神和科技

Where’s Britain’s Bill Gates?
英国的比尔•盖茨在哪?

Britain’s government cannot conjure a technology giant out of thin air. But it can help
英国的政府不能凭空变出个科技行业巨头.但是他们能营造出这种氛围.

Aug 6th 2011 | from the print edition

MEET the British Bill Gates. He studied computer science at Cambridge—dropping out to start his career in nearby “Silicon Fen”. Then he launched his own start-up, based at “Silicon Roundabout”, a new hub of tech firms in east London. Bolstered by finance from the City, he resisted the lure of a foreign takeover, ultimately listing on the London Stock Exchange.

让我们一起来与认识英国的比尔•盖茨。他原本在剑桥大学主修计算机科学专业—辍学来到学习附近的硅谷开始自己创业。然后他在英国东部的迷你硅谷成立了一家新的科技公司。由于有来自城市的财政支持,他拒绝了外国公司收购的诱惑,最终使自己的公司在伦敦证券交易所上市。

It is a plausible biography—given the necessary addition of animal spirits—but an imaginary one. Britain has no digital equivalent of the 18th-century industrial innovators who turned technology into commercial leadership. Its more recent prowess in pharmaceuticals and biotechnology has not been emulated in the digital sphere. David Cameron’s government should ponder this failure and address the reasons for it. Luck is one of them, but so are national and European regulations and a tepid climate for entrepreneurs.

虽然只是想象的,但如果加入了必要的奋斗精神,这样的自传是看似合理的。在信息时代,没有等同于18世纪工业革命的可以把英国带上世界商业霸主的地位发明。在制药和生物科技上的高超技术是数码领域所无法模仿的。大卫•卡梅隆政府应该反思这次失败并且找出其原因。运气就是其中之一,英国本土和欧洲的管制以及对企业家冷淡的态度也是原因的一部分。

A nation of digital shopkeepers
作为数位公司的店主的国家

Britain has one of the biggest online economies. Its researchers invented both the web and the computer. It has the English language—which helps to link it with California’s Silicon Valley and Indian high-tech—and great universities. There are thriving tech clusters in Bristol, London and elsewhere (see article). More so than other European countries, Britain should be competing with America as a tech leader.

英国有最大的网络经济。他的研究人员发明的既有网络也有电脑。英国拥有语言优势—这个帮助他们和加州的硅谷以及印度高科技区域建立联系,以及拥有好的大学。在布里斯托尔,伦敦一起英国的其他地区,许多科技公司的发展蒸蒸日上。比起其他欧洲国家,英国应该以技术行业领跑者的身份来与美国竞争。

Yet it has nurtured relatively few big tech companies and no huge ones. In particular, Britain has vanishingly few “platform” firms—ie, the sort that, like Microsoft, Google or Facebook, have built and marketed a service or piece of software on which other businesses and applications rely. That is where the real money is: platforms tend to yield lots of jobs in spin-offs and ancillary enterprises. Britain has Autonomy, which makes specialised search software, and ARM, which designs the microchips for Apple’s iPhones. Both are leaders in their fields, but neither is a giant. More damningly, they are the only two innovative tech outfits in the FTSE index of leading shares.

虽然英国有一些较大的科技公司,但是没有一个大型的科技公司。特别是,英国几乎没有“应用平台”类的公司—比如,像微软,谷歌或脸谱公司这样的公司,他们已经开发了一些其它商业或者应用程序依赖的服务和软件。这就是公司利益的来源:应用平台公司经常通过其工司资产分配和其附属公司带来大量的工作岗位。英国有专注于搜索软件的公司奥托诺尼和为苹果手机生产微型芯片的安谋公司。两家公司都是其行业的领头人,但是都不是一个行业巨头。更加致命的是,他们是在伦敦金融时报指数主要证券中仅有的两家创新型科技股。

There should surely be more. Individual ideas and people are the key, obviously, but there are three problems with Britain’s tech ecology that its government could ameliorate. One is the absence of a market as big and homogeneous as American tech firms enjoy. Another is a relative shortage of capital for start-ups and growing firms. The third is the lack of entrepreneurs who combine technological expertise, business acumen and the sort of balls that, in 2006, reputedly let Mark Zuckerberg turn down Yahoo!’s offer of $1 billion for Facebook.

这里的确需要有更多这样的公司。显然,个人的创意和消费群体是关键,但是,对于英国科技发展的环境,仍有三个需要政府解决的问题。其中一个是缺少一个像美国公司拥有的那种大型市场。另一个问题就是新创立以及处于发展期的公司相对缺少资金。第三点就是缺少能够将专业技术,商业头脑以及超人胆识相结合的企业家,值得一提的,脸书的创始人,扎克伯格,就拥有这样的胆识并拒绝了雅虎10亿美元的收购报价。

Begin with the market. You might think that distance and geography would be marginal considerations for tech firms. You would be wrong. For American firms, a domestic market of 300m interconnected English-speaking consumers is a big advantage. Easy transatlantic communications should help British firms conquer that market; but they also encourage American firms to snap up promising British companies. Europe is fragmented not only by multiple languages but also by the lack of a properly common market in services, including digital ones, so tech firms must still overcome assorted legal and bureaucratic barriers to trade across the EU. Digital firms should be able to benefit from the single market just as mobile-phone companies such as Nokia and Vodafone have. Proper implementation across the union of the directive on liberalising the services market, passed in 2006, would be a start.

从一个市场形成伊始。你可能会认为距离和地理位置对于高科技公司来说是一个不重要的考虑因素。不过,这样想你会错的。对于美国公司来说,国内的3亿把英语作为交流语言的消费者形成的市场就是一个巨大优势。简单的横渡大西洋交流便能帮助英国公司征服美国市场;但是美国会鼓励他们的公司竞购这些有潜力的英国公司。欧洲不仅由于多种语言而不能形成统一的市场,同时也由于缺少一个合适地常规服务市场,其中包括数位服务,因此高科技公司必须一致克服各种各样的法律和政治上的障碍来与欧盟贸易。数位企业应该能像手机公司诺基亚和沃达丰一样从单一的市场获利。对2006年通过的旨在将欧盟范围内服务市场自由化建议的正确贯彻与执行,将是一个开始.

When it comes to finance, Britain lags not only Silicon Valley, where many entrepreneurs see investing in the next generation as a sort of moral responsibility. In 2010 high-tech firms in Israel attracted $1.3 billion in venture capital, nearly twice as much as in Britain, whose economy is ten times as big. George Osborne, the chancellor of the exchequer, made some progress in his most recent budget by increasing the tax relief available for investors in start-ups. He should now look at the capital-gains tax regime: investors who make speculative bets and hit the jackpot should be able to keep and reinvest more of their winnings.Designing a system that rewards such risks but does not allow people to shelter their income from tax is tricky, but not impossible. It would help British businesspeople to think bigger, too: the absence of funding for growth is one reason some sell up at a relatively early stage. The 50% top income-tax rate creates further problems, by making it harder for entrepreneurs to recruit and retain the best people.

当说到财政,英国不仅仅拖慢了硅谷的发展,在那里企业家寻求投资下一代的公司作为一种道德上的义务。在2010年以色列高科技公司吸引了13亿美元的风险投资,这是比其经济体大10倍的英国所吸引到的投资的两倍。英国财政大臣乔治•奥斯本通过为投资者投资新公司增加税收减免,在他最近的预算中做出行动。他现在应该盯着资本收益税收机构:做出可疑赌注的和做出最大赌注的投资者应该能够保持和再次投入比他们获益更多的资金。设计一个系统能够弥补这种风险并且让群众不能通过这样的税来隐藏他们的收入是很难处理的,但并不是不可能。这也能够让英国的商人想的更广:缺少自己用以公司的成长是一些公司在较早时期出售公司的一个原因。高达50%的个人所得税带来了更多的麻烦,这让企业家难以吸引和留住优秀的人才。

The gripe about Britain being poor at gestating bold entrepreneurs is an old one: the stereotype is of boffins who are good at generating ideas, but lose out to thrusting Americans when it comes to monetising them. There would be less truth in that caricature if British graduates in disciplines such as science and engineering gained some familiarity with business as part of their studies (it is noteworthy that the best British universities discourage students from earning money while they learn, while at American ones most are obliged to).

对英国不擅于孕育出一个敢于冒险的企业的抱怨是很久前就提到出来的: 这个固定的看法是属于那些擅于创新的研究人员的,但这样研究人员却在美国提出雇佣他们的时候大量流入到美国。假如英国的理工科的大学生在学业中学到了一些关于商业的知识的话,在这样的讽刺中反映出来的将不会是实际的情况(值得注意的是顶尖级的英国大学劝学生在学习是不要去挣钱,然而美国学生普遍都被迫这样做)

How do you know who will be the entrepreneurs?
你怎么知道谁会是下一个企业家?

The government should be more relaxed about bolstering the supply of indigenous entrepreneurs with foreigners, as well as about admitting more workers with technical and commercial skills that are in short supply. Beneath its wrongheaded, headline goal to slash net immigration, the government has sensibly made sure that a route remains open for entrepreneurs. The trouble is, it is not always obvious which would-be newcomer will end up striking gold: when a six-year-old Sergey Brin emigrated from Russia to America with his family, it was not yet clear that he would one day co-found Google. By cutting the numbers of foreign students it allows in, current immigration policy is shrinking the commercial pool as well as the academic one. London is a magnet for creative types everywhere; capitalise on that—and let more of them in.

政府应该对于提高本地和外国企业家帮助采取更加放松的态度,同时也应让更多工人掌握缺乏的科学技术和商业技术。在错误的指导下,报纸头条指责入境移民净数,政府政府切合实际地确认了一条始终对企业家开放的途径。问题是,很难知道这些新的企业家谁会最后成功: 当一个六岁的孩子谢尔盖•布林与家人从俄罗斯移民到美国,那时都没人知道他有一天会成为谷歌联合会的创始人。通过削减英国准许的外国留学生数量,现在的移民政策是在压缩英国的商业油藏和学术油藏。伦敦对世界各地的创新模式的公司都有吸引力;对他们投资并让更多的公司进来。

Mr Cameron is keen on the tech industry, seeing it as a source of growth in lean times, and a way of weaning the economy off its dependence on flighty finance. Should our imaginary tech superstar materialise, it would be a shame if Britain’s Bill Gates were turned away at the border, or left Britain of his own accord for another country where his talents would be more generously nurtured and rewarded.

卡梅隆先生更喜欢高科技工厂,视其为拮据时期的发展资源,和不景气的经济摆脱对变化无常的金融业的依赖。我们所想的科技巨头应该快速成型,如果英国的比尔•盖茨离开英国或者让他去到一个让他得到更好培养和收获的合适国家,这将对英国来说是一个羞辱的事情。

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重点单词
  • particularadj. 特殊的,特别的,特定的,挑剔的 n. 个别项目
  • platformn. 平台,站台,月台,讲台,(政党的)政纲
  • expertisen. 专家的意见,专门技术
  • recruitv. 招募,征兵,吸收(新成员),补充 n. 新兵,新成
  • budgetn. 预算 vt. 编预算,为 ... 做预算 vi.
  • stereotypen. 铅版,陈腔滥调,老一套 vt. 使用铅版,套用老套
  • conquervt. 征服,战胜,克服 vi. 得胜
  • combinev. 结合,联合,使结合 n. 集团,联合企业,联合收割
  • amelioratevt. 使 ... 改善,改良 vi. 改善,变好
  • magnetn. 磁体,磁铁,有强大吸引力的人或物