Long before Alec Ross logged half a million miles visiting 41 countries as Secretary of State Hillary Clinton’s senior adviser for innovation, he found himself in a concert hall in Charleston, West Virginia, swabbing up puke after a country music concert.
Ross was 19 and had just finished his freshman year of college at Northwestern University. While some of his classmates were working fancy internships at law firms and congressional offices, he pushed a mop on the midnight shift as a member of the Charleston Civic Center’s janitorial crew.
The summer job would provide a memorable view from the wrong side of the new economy, working alongside guys who, a generation ago, might have found employment in a coal mine (but those jobs had been replaced by machines) or in a chemical factory (which had long ago relocated to Mexico or India, where there were fewer environmental regulations and less expensive labor).
“All this change will pale in comparison to what is going to come in the next wave of innovation as it hits all 196 countries on the planet,” Ross writes in his new book, “Industries of the Future.” “The coming era of globalization will unleash a wave of technological, economic and