When Julie Pham, managing editor of Nguoi Viet Tay Bac/Northwest Vietnamese News, invited other ethnic media to join her onstage to introduce themselves, it reminded me of when Apple founder Steve Jobs invited Microsoft founder Bill Gates to share the spotlight at the Macworld Expo in 1997.
If you know of the early rivalry between Gates and Jobs — the Mac and PC war — then chances are that you know how the two later became partners after Gates agreed to invest $150 million at a critical time for Apple.
Back to Pham. She recently launched Sea Beez with the goal of bringing all the ethnic media together — Russian, African, Native American, and Asian — to collaborate. Instead of competing, Pham asked, “How are we different from each other?”
The value of partnership cannot be diminished. Just look at Apple now. It recently exceeded Microsoft in market capitalization. Collaboration among competitors brings about innovation.
As Jobs said, “We have to let go of the notion that for Apple to win, Microsoft has to lose.” The idea for competitors to see things in a bigger picture and that competitors can co-exist together was not openly expressed at the first Sea Beez meeting at the Seattle Times auditorium on May 26. But as the group evolves, it will be appropriate for someone to voice that view in future gatherings.
Bravo, Pham. She has taken the first step on behalf of us. And a big thanks to the City of Seattle Department of Neighborhoods for being the principle sponsor of Sea Beez. ♦