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托福双语阅读素材:中西部“瞪羚”创业公司

2018年06月05日10:29 来源:小站整理
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摘要:托福阅读对考生英语阅读水平的考察是全方位的,不仅仅考察具体文章内容,还考察考生对作者行文思路、文章整体架构的把握,我们来看一篇相对比较简单的托福阅读双语素材:Gazelles in the heartland American entrepreneurship is flourishing, if you know where to look。

托福备考的一大辅助材料即是各类难度接近托福的阅读或听力素材,通过补充双语材料的阅读我们可以积攒利于提升写作水平的表达,更可以培养语感和敏感度,我们的英文文章阅读速度也会同步获得提升。下面我们来看一篇相对比较简单的托福阅读双语素材:Gazelles in the heartland American entrepreneurship is flourishing, if you know where to look

托福双语阅读素材:中西部“瞪羚”创业公司图1

Entrepreneurship in America

Gazelles in the heartland

American entrepreneurship is flourishing, if you know where to look

美国创业公司

中西部的瞪羚

美国的创业浪潮正盛,只要你看对地方

AT FIRST glance, it seems that America’s economy is losing its mojo. Many economists, most notably Robert Gordon of Northwestern University, have lamented that productivity growth seems to be anaemic when compared with earlier golden eras (see Free exchange). A gloomy chorus of business leaders has echoed what media outlets have by now turned into a mantra, that American entrepreneurship is in steady decline. Surely America’s overall competitiveness, then, is plummeting?

乍看起来,美国经济似乎正在失去光环。以美国西北大学教授罗伯特·戈登(Robert Gordon)为首的许多经济学家哀叹,与早前的黄金时代相比,如今美国的生产力增长看起来羸弱无力。商界领袖们齐声唱衰,恰应和了如今媒体常挂在嘴边的论调,即美国的创业浪潮日渐衰退。那么,美国的整体竞争力想必是在直线下坠了?

The answer from one influential think-tank, the World Economic Forum (WEF), is no. In its latest update to its long-running annual ranking of global economic competitiveness, published on September 27th, America rose from third place to second, ranking below only Switzerland.

颇具影响力的智库“世界经济论坛”(World Economic Forum)给出了否定的答案。在它于9月27日例行发布的最新年度全球经济竞争力排名中,美国从第三位上升至第二位,仅次于瑞士。

This is partly because poor economic policies and weak productivity growth are bedevilling rivals such as China and Europe. Yet glaring American weaknesses, such as fraying infrastructure and fractured politics, are outweighed in the WEF analysis by the country’s strengths in areas like business sophistication and technological readiness. And aside from market size, the variable on which America still outscores other rich countries the most is its culture of innovation and entrepreneurship.

这在一定程度上是由于中国和欧洲等对手正饱受经济政策不力及生产力增长疲软的困扰。美国尽管有明显的弱点,如基础设施老化、政局分裂,但在世界经济论坛的分析中,这些缺陷被美国其他方面的优势盖过,如商业环境成熟、技术条件完备。而除市场规模以外,创新和创业文化仍然是美国超越其他富裕国家最多的因素。

Hand-wringing about a crisis in business formation relies on official data showing that fewer new firms are being started than in the past. The latest figures, released on September 20th, show that there were 414,000 firms that were less than a year old in 2015 (the latest available year), compared with an average of 511,000 in the decade before the financial crisis. Still, not every new firm is equal—some entrepreneurs want to create the next Tesla, not open another bodega. Of the roughly 4.4m firms created in the last ten years, about 30,000 can be described as gazelles, or young, high-growth companies, according to the Kauffman Foundation, another think-tank that is known for its work on entrepreneurship. These firms have a disproportionate impact on job creation and innovation. They pack a powerful punch.

人们非常担忧美国的创业文化遭遇危机,是因为官方数据显示新成立公司的数量较以往有所减少。9月20日发布的最新数字显示,在2015年(有数据可查的最近一年),成立不到一年的公司有41.4万家,而在2008年金融危机前的十年间平均每年有51.1万家。然而,并非所有新公司都可等量齐观——有些企业家想打造的是下一个“特斯拉”,而不是又一间杂货铺。另一家以创业研究闻名的智库考夫曼基金会(Kauffman Foundation)表示,过去十年成立的约440万家公司中,大概有三万家可称为“瞪羚”企业,即高成长的年轻公司。这些公司在创造就业和创新上的影响力远超其他新公司,冲击力十足。

A forthcoming report from the Kauffman Foundation finds that high-growth entrepreneurship has rebounded in America from the trough induced by the global financial crisis and is now rocketing (see chart). These experts scrutinise three things: how quickly startups grew in their first five years; the share of firms scaling up past 50 employees by their tenth year; and the prevalence of “fast growth” firms with at least 20% annualised growth over three years (and $2m or more in revenues).

考夫曼基金会即将发布的报告认为,在美国,高成长创业已从全球金融危机引发的低谷反弹,目前迅速蹿升(见图表)。专家们审视了三个方面:创业公司在头五年的增长速度、创立第十年员工增至50人以上的公司占比、三年年化增长至少达20%且年收入达200万美元或以上的“高成长”公司占比。

The analysis also reveals that such gazelles are found in unexpected places. Consider ProviderTrust, a health-tech startup. The firm has developed a novel software-as-a-service offering that helps health-care firms track people’s professional credentials and licences efficiently. Because states do not typically share timely information about disciplinary actions taken against health-care workers, footloose rogues can create a costly regulatory headache for unwitting new employers in another state. The company has been growing at a rate of over 60% a year since its founding in 2010; revenues should reach $10m this year.

该分析也显示,这类“瞪羚”企业出现在人们意想不到的地方。以医疗技术创业公司ProviderTrust为例,该公司开发了一款新颖的“软件即服务”产品,帮助医疗保健公司高效追查从业人员的专业资格及执照信息。由于各州通常不会及时互相通报针对医疗从业人员的处分,一些违法之徒可能会跑到其他州求职,而一旦被监管机构发现问题,不知情的新雇主将面临高昂罚款。ProviderTrust自2010年成立以来一直以每年60%以上的增速发展,今年收入应该可达1000万美元。

Or look at Root Insurance, America’s first mobile-only insurance firm, which is increasing downloads of its app by nearly 50% month over month. It uses actual driving data to set insurance rates for all of its customers, and offers discounts to drivers for using the self-driving mode of their Tesla car. Alex Timm, its chief executive, explains that data collected via its customers’ mobiles proves that people are much safer when the car does the driving. His firm even punishes drivers for texting and driving, which it discovers by analysing the micro-vibrations of smartphones.

另一个例子是美国首家完全基于手机的保险公司Root Insurance,其应用下载量的月增幅接近50%。该公司利用实际驾驶数据为所有客户设定车险费率,并向使用特斯拉汽车自动驾驶模式的驾驶者提供保费折扣。公司的首席执行官亚历克斯·蒂姆(Alex Timm)解释说,从客户手机收集的数据证明,汽车采用自动驾驶模式时,安全性更高。该公司甚至能通过分析智能手机的微小震动发现驾驶者在驾车时发短信,从而对其做出惩罚。

These gazelles are found not in Silicon Valley or Boston but, respectively, in Nashville and Columbus. Other overlooked cities in the American heartland are also hotspots of high-growth entrepreneurship (see map). Mark Kvamme of Drive Capital, a venture-capital (VC) fund based in Ohio, points to Indianapolis as a rising technology hub: ExactTarget, a local software-marketing startup, was acquired in 2013 by Salesforce, a Californian software giant, for $2.5bn. “Luring talent away from Silicon Valley and Seattle is getting much easier,” says Mr Kvamme, a native Californian who left Sequoia Capital, a top Silicon Valley VC fund, to found Drive.

上述两家“瞪羚”企业并不在硅谷或波士顿,而是分别位于纳什维尔(Nashville)和哥伦布(Columbus)。美国中西部其他被忽视的城市也是高增长创业公司的聚集地(见地图)。总部位于俄亥俄州的风投基金Drive Capital的马克·克瓦姆(Mark Kvamme)指出,印第安纳波利斯是新崛起的技术中心:当地一家数字营销创业公司ExactTarget在2013年被加州软件巨头Salesforce以25亿美元收购。“从硅谷和西雅图挖人才变得容易多了。” 克瓦姆说。他是加州当地人,在离开硅谷顶级风投基金红杉资本(Sequoia Capital)后创立了Drive Capital。

Steve Case of Revolution, an entrepreneur turned venture capitalist (in 1985 he co-founded what later became America Online), calls this the “rise of the rest”. Having observed this trend on periodic bus tours across America, during which he encourages (and sometimes invests in) many local entrepreneurs, he thinks three factors are fuelling it. Barriers to entry have fallen, especially for technology companies. Access to risk capital for startups, including through crowdfunding, is no longer limited to the two coasts. Local governments are increasingly supporting training schemes, accelerators and other bits of soft infrastructure that greatly boost startups’ chances of success.

风投公司Revolution的史蒂夫·凯斯(Steve Case,成为风险投资家之前是一位企业家,在1985年联合创办了 “美国在线”的前身企业)称上述现象为“其他人的崛起”。他定期乘坐巴士穿行美国各地,为众多当地创业者打气,有时也直接投资。在行程中他观察到了这一趋势。他认为三个因素起了助推作用:进入门槛已降低,尤其是对科技公司而言;创业公司要获得风险资本,包括通过众筹,已不限于要在东西海岸;地方政府加强了对培训计划、加速器及其他软基础设施建设的支持,大大提高了创业公司的成功率。

Challenged on whether high-growth entrepreneurship can really be spread like jam across America, Mr Case acknowledges there is value to clustering. He insists, however, that nearly three-quarters of all VC money need not go to just California, Massachusetts and New York. “Spreading this to 30 cities”, he reckons, “would transform America.”

有人质疑高成长创业公司是否真的能在美国遍地开花。对此,凯斯承认集群确有其价值。但他坚称,不必将风投资金总额的近四分之三统统投向加州、麻省及纽约。“如果把这些钱分散投向30个城市,”他说,“美国将焕然一新。”

托福阅读对考生英语阅读水平的考察是全方位的,不仅仅考察具体文章内容,还考察考生对作者行文思路、文章整体架构的把握,我们在进行此类双语素材拓展阅读的过程中也要注意揣摩作者写作风格与逻辑思路,这样既可以助力我们托福阅读能力的提升,也可以提高我们的写作能力。

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