Archive for September, 2009

CCE Editor
by CCE Editor
Mon Sep 21st 2009 at 1:49pm UTC

Future Forward

Monday, September 21st, 2009

The Center for Economic Growth and The Stakeholders present Future Forward, an event featuring Richard Florida, at the Palace Theatre in Albany, New York, on September 24, 2009. Richard will speak about Who’s Your City? and why the creative economy is making where you live one of the most important decisions of your life. A book signing and after party are also part of the evening’s festivities.

Do you feel that you live in the right city? Or is there a move in your future?

 Jeff Stone, presi...dent of Key Bank, NA, Capital Region New York District

From left to right: Richard Florida; Mayor of Albany, New York, Gerald D. Jennings; Jeff Stone, president of Key Bank, NA, Capital Region New York District; City Champion Catherine M. Hedgeman; President, Center for Economic Growth, Michael Tucker

Richard Florida
by Richard Florida
Mon Sep 21st 2009 at 10:25am UTC

Pump My Ride

Monday, September 21st, 2009

The latest in truly alternative transport, this human-powered party machine is a converted cargo bike built by Portland, OR bike-maker Metrofiets for Hopworks Urban Brewing (h/t Joe Cortright). BikePortland provides full technical details.

The bike follows the basic Metrofiets design of a long body, with a cargo carried in the front. The cargo container is a metal keg bucket which holds two full sized kegs and 25 pounds of ice. Beer from the kegs run through a 50 foot cooling coil and then to your glass via two taps (made by Shimano and Chris King) which protrude from a wooden bar inlaid with HUB’s trademark lightning bolt. Tap handles by Shimano and Chris King

A large, square rear rack is designed to fit a stack of pizza boxes. Below the rack is a sound system “pannier” with another lightning bolt inlaid wood panel casing and a speaker. The bike sports HUB’s colors, matte orange and black.

This party is entirely human-powered, with the help of nine gears — any more would allow a rider to go faster than would be entirely wise, explained Ross. Sturdy looking disc brakes and chunky tires with full fenders adorn both wheels.

When fully loaded with pizza, beer, and ice, the bike should just about meet Metrofiets’ 400lb weight limit.

[Photo credit: Elly Blue / BikePortland]

Richard Florida
by Richard Florida
Fri Sep 18th 2009 at 10:00am UTC

Unemployment and the Creative Class

Friday, September 18th, 2009

The U.S. unemployment rate is 9.7 percent, the highest in some time, but the burden of unemployment is  spread unevenly across the economy. Production workers face a 15.1 percent unemployment rate, while unemployment among construction and extraction workers stands at 17 percent. But unemployment among management and professional workers is only 5.4 percent. Researchers at the Martin Prosperity Institute (MPI) previously identified long-run differences in the unemployment rates faced by industrial workers and knowledge, professional, and creative workers.

New analysis by the MPI team tracks unemployment among management and professional – or creative class – workers from 1983 to the present. While unemployment among creative class workers as a whole is far below the rate faced by production and construction workers, there is considerable variation in unemployment among the various occupations, professions, and job types that make up the creative class.

Creative workers in arts, design, and entertainment occupations consistently face higher unemployment rates and significant spikes during recessions. In contrast to other creative fields, the unemployment rate for arts, design, and entertainment workers sometimes runs higher than the overall unemployment rate.

Computer, sciences, and engineering professionals experience lower rates of unemployment than arts, design, and entertainment workers. But the lowest rates of unemployment and the most stable employment are found in meds and eds occupations – health and education – where unemployment stays consistently low, even during downturns.

The full analysis is here.

Richard Florida
by Richard Florida
Fri Sep 18th 2009 at 8:29am UTC

Open City

Friday, September 18th, 2009

Creative Class Exchange blogger and Martin Prosperity Institute affiliate David Eaves has made it happen in Vancouver.

A wealth of city knowledge is now online as Vancouver becomes one of the most open cities in the world. The information means a click on your smart phone could get you to an open parking space, or a free drink of water.

David Eaves helped city hall create the open source motion, the first of its kind anywhere in the world, “For hundreds of years, cities have been collecting all sorts of data, everything from what the maps of the city are to the location of drinking fountains, but it’s always stayed locked behind city wall because it was written down on paper and so you actually had to go to city hall to access it.”  While much of the information seems innocuous, web developers can use it for all sorts of applications. …

When Vancouver passed the open source motion in May, it became the first city to do so, though cities like Washington and San Francisco have already been providing similar information.

The full story is here. Vancouver’s website here. And Eaves’ own report here.

Michael Wells
by Michael Wells
Thu Sep 17th 2009 at 1:40pm UTC

Stimulus Impacts

Thursday, September 17th, 2009

The first wave of ARRA (stimulus) spending was just dollars out the door – tax cuts and saving state and local services. It served the purpose of stopping the free fall and keeping us out of a depression, but otherwise didn’t contribute much to the future. And I’m not sure what good the “cash for clunkers” or $8,000 down payment money for first-time home buyers did, although they probably didn’t hurt anybody.

Now we’re moving into investments. The money for highway repairs you saw starting this summer, and for mass transit, are 20 years overdue and vital if we’re to stay a first-world nation.

But the real impact will be from funds spread through various federal agencies that have worked through the bureaucracy and have started to emerge as RFPs that will have longer-lasting effects. These will probably be awarded this fall and may be spent over the next one to three years. I’m currently working on two stimulus grants. One is part of $1 billion from National Institutes for Health to modernize laboratories and research facilities. If our grant is funded, it will leapfrog the small agency I’m working with 10 years ahead of where they could get on their own. The other is Department of Labor training grants which have a major component for training nurses and medical support personnel. Health care is being hampered by, among other things, the nursing shortage, so this fits into a larger picture.

I’m not tracking all of the ARRA RFPs by any means, but from what I understand the agencies are on one hand making long-overdue investments and on the other are overwhelmed by the sheer volume of programs and proposals.

What are you seeing in your fields?

David Miller
by David Miller
Thu Sep 17th 2009 at 12:38pm UTC

Why Is That Entrepreneur Smiling?

Thursday, September 17th, 2009

From WSJ writer Sue Shellenbarger’s Work & Family column (sub):

In the broadest, most-comprehensive survey yet of how occupation affects happiness, business owners outrank 10 other occupational groups in overall well-being, based on the landmark survey of 100,826 working adults.

The piece goes on to describe why, even during a stress-filled recession, business owners are generally happier than other working adults.

The findings, psychologists say, reflect the importance of being free to choose the work you do and how you do it, the way you manage your time, and the way you respond to adversity. Regardless of occupational field, the survey suggests that seeking out enjoyable work and finding a way to do it on your own terms, with some control over both the process and the outcome, is likely for most people to fuel satisfaction and contentment.

Does this sound like what you are seeing from entrepreneurs around you?

Check out the press release for more data and information from the Gallup-Healthways Well Being Index.

Richard Florida
by Richard Florida
Wed Sep 16th 2009 at 10:00am UTC

The Income Map

Wednesday, September 16th, 2009

The big story last week was the census report on the fall-off in Americans’ incomes. The New York TimesDavid Leonhardt called it a “lost decade” with 2008 median household income of $50,303 falling beneath the 1998 figure of $51,295. While the national pattern is troubling, the trend in U.S. income varies widely by state.

Kevin Stolarick, research director of the Martin Prosperity Institute, compiled state-by-state statistics comparing incomes in 2007-2008 and 2005-2006.

The first map below shows the change in income for the 50 states. There were some big losers – New Jersey (-$7,214), Vermont -($5,757), Georgia (-$3,304), Delaware (-$2,558), Minnesota (-$2303), Tennessee (-$2218), Arizona (-$1,891) and Florida (-$1,890).

But there were also some big income gainers – Colorado ($4,658), North Dakota ($4,412), Oklahoma ($3,998), Alaska ($3,756), New Hampshire ($3,663), D.C. ($3,467), and Alabama ($3,405).

The second map shows the percent change in income by state.

Once again we see the patterns of winners and losers. Unlike in the nation as a whole, incomes actually increased in 29 of 50 states. Eight states saw income gains of more then five percent – Oklahoma (9.6 percent), North Dakota (9.2 percent), Alabama (8.4 percent), Colorado (8.1 percent), D.C. (6.8 percent), Alaska (6.2 percent), New Hampshire (5.7 percent), and Oregon (5.0 percent).

On the other hand, two states saw income losses of 10 percent or more – Vermont (-10.3 percent) and New Jersey (-10.1 percent); and incomes declined by more than five percent in two others – Georgia (-6.4 percent) and Tennessee (- 5.1 percent).

CCE Editor
by CCE Editor
Tue Sep 15th 2009 at 12:22pm UTC

Best Twitter Feeds for Business Students

Tuesday, September 15th, 2009

Richard Florida’s Twitter feed has been named on the list of “100 Best Twitter Feeds for Savvy Business Students” by

Follow Richard on Twitter at Richard_Florida!

Who are your favorites to follow on Twitter?

Wendy Waters
by Wendy Waters
Mon Sep 14th 2009 at 9:30am UTC

Sharing Space, Sparking Collaboration

Monday, September 14th, 2009

The creative, knowledge economy thrives when cross-fertilization of ideas happens. Sharing a water cooler or coffee pot with people who have different backgrounds, jobs, and ways of thinking may spark new ideas and original solutions to problems.

This is precisely what happens when groups of self-employed individuals and micro-sized businesses comprised of only a handful of people share office space or “co-work.”

As reported by Graham Lanktree in the Globe and Mail last week,

[O]ffice spaces where small businesses share a common Internet connection, printer, kitchen and boardroom are common in London, where rents are much higher. However, the trend has been catching on in North America, where it’s called co-working.

This typically happens in one of two ways. The first is one small company decides to lease extra office space anticipating growth. To help cover the extra costs while awaiting this growth, they rent desks and offices to other individuals – usually providing use of reception, a board room, kitchen, photocopier, as well as internet and telephone connectivity. The second way enterprising individuals come to share workspace is through leasing from a third party company dedicated to providing such services.

The Lanktree article again:

Margaret Zeidler, president of Urbanspace Property Group, runs the historic Robertson building at 215 Spadina Ave. in downtown Toronto.Starting in 2004, the company converted 5,000 square feet in the 100,000-square-foot building to common workspace where single entrepreneurs and small businesses in the social innovation field could rent an office or even a desk.

The space has since grown to 20,000 square feet and prospective tenants are on a waiting list to get in. Dubbed the Centre for Social Innovation, or CSI, part of its popularity stems from the extra value it offers lessees, Ms. Zeidler says.

The advantages of cross fertilization are myriad. One is that office-mates provide clients. An architecture firm I know leases empty desks and offices to complementary individuals and micro-sized businesses.  These include: a real estate development company (which has hired them to do most of the architectural drawings and consulting work), a web company (that in turn gets business from the development company), and an interior design firm.

Another advantage is networking. If the web designer in the above-mentioned office does great work for their office mates, the clients, competitors, and friends of these businesses will notice and could look to hire him for their own work. He might otherwise never have thought of marketing himself to real estate-related firms.

Since the recession hit, at least 37,000 Canadians have joined the ranks of the self-employed (with Canada’s population being approximately 1/10 that of the USA, this is like 370,000 new one-person businesses emerging in the U.S. – which hasn’t happened, but could going forward).

Although some will relish the opportunity to work from home, many entrepreneurs find that too lonely and isolating.

Look for shared office space arrangements to grow in the coming years.

Richard Florida
by Richard Florida
Sun Sep 13th 2009 at 10:30am UTC

Widening College Cost to Earnings Gap

Sunday, September 13th, 2009

Business Week economist Michael Mandel has produced a terrific chart comparing college costs to the earnings of young college graduates (25- to 34-year-olds) from 1991 to 2008 (below).

While the lines track one another for most of the 1990s, they began to diverge by the late 1990s, and the gap has grown considerably over the past decade. Mandel finds that college costs in real terms are up by 23 percent since 2000, while real pay for young college grads has fallen by 11 percent.

Money quote:  “This can’t go on. It’s just not possible.”

college cost gap.gif