Posts Tagged ‘spiky world’

Richard Florida
by Richard Florida
Fri Feb 25th 2011 at 10:00am UTC

Cities, Inequality and Wages

Friday, February 25th, 2011

Economic inequality has been mounting in the United States, hitting levels not seen since the Gilded Age.  There are numerous explanations for this phenomenon, ranging from the decline of unions and high-paid manufacturing jobs to the rise of globalization, of new technology, and knowledge-based work (what economists call “skill-based technical change”) and the bifurcation of the labor market into high-skill and low-skill jobs.

But do our cities and changing economic landscape play a role as well?  There are good reasons to suspect that they do.  For one, the past decade or so has seen a sorting of population by skill, occupation and human capital, (see my 2006 article “Where the Brains Are”).  For another, it is well known that both highly skilled and talented people and productive firms and high-tech industries tend to cluster and agglomerate together to create powerful economic advantages.


Richard Florida
by Richard Florida
Fri Jun 12th 2009 at 11:15am UTC

Startups Are Spiky

Friday, June 12th, 2009

Paul Graham speculates that startups may herald a new era of political economy:

Startups may represent a new economic phase, on the scale of the Industrial Revolution. I’m not sure of this, but there seems a decent chance it’s true. People are dramatically more productive as founders or early employees of startups–imagine how much less Larry and Sergey would have achieved if they’d gone to work for a big company–and that scale of improvement can change social customs.

He notes that startups are highly clustered in certain cities:

Startups are a type of business that flourishes in certain places that specialize in it–that Silicon Valley specializes in startups in the same way Los Angeles specializes in movies, or New York in finance.

And he’s concerned about what this means for society:

If so, this revolution is going to be particularly revolutionary. All previous revolutions have spread. Agriculture, cities, and industrialization all spread widely. If startups end up being like the movie business, with just a handful of centers and one dominant one, that’s going to have novel consequences.

The spiky nature of our era – evident in everything from startup clustering to rising economic and geographic inequality – is among the most critical issues of our time. The crisis creates the opportunity to address it. But for some reason, U.S. and global policy-makers are unable or unwilling to take it on. The consequences will surely come back to haunt them sooner or later.

David Miller
by David Miller
Wed Dec 10th 2008 at 4:21pm UTC

College Football & US Auto Industry: Both Spiky

Wednesday, December 10th, 2008

As a graduate of the U of Michigan, I can only try to forget what an awful football season we have just endured. However, a recent WSJ article reminded me that the Big 10 football conference and all major conferences are being outperformed by the teams of the Southeastern Conference (SEC).

The WSJ asks “What the rise of Southern Football Says About America,” in an interesting piece by Darren Everson. And while there is no overt mention of Detroit’s Auto Industry and the South’s Auto Industry in the article, the ongoing bailout saga kept popping into my head as I read the article. A snippet:

In recent years, the South has undergone rapid growth. Twenty-seven of the 50 fastest-growing metropolitan regions in the country in 2007 were in the South, while personal-income growth in the region outpaced the national average over the past decade. These changes have added muscle to the South’s historic passion for college football. While they rank low in many measures like per-capita income and educational achievement, states like Alabama and Mississippi rank close to the top in the percentage of high-school students who play football. And among states that have more than 10 native sons playing in the National Football League, the top six producers by percentage of population are Louisiana, Mississippi, South Carolina, Alabama, Florida and Georgia.

I began to wonder, is there some connection between the success of SEC football teams and the rise of the Southern Auto Industry?

Are Big 10 teams stuck with ‘Fordist’ football models while SEC coaches and administrators make use of ‘continuous improvement’ and other concepts in order to strengthen their programs? Are SEC leaders better at innovating with recruiting, play calling, and conditioning? (Remember, Gatorade was created at the U of Florida.)

The article points out a few potential theories for why the SEC has grown into such a football powerhouse, including pride of place that Southerners exhibit in their states, tight relations between SEC schools and Southern politicians, and academic standards in the SEC that differ from other conferences such as the Big 10 and PAC 10.

While there is likely no connection between successful SEC football and the successful Southern auto industry, it highlights the spiky nature of the creative economy – from auto production and college football administration to content creation and biotech. I believe that is what the rise of Southern football tells us about America.

BTW, I will remind all SEC fans that Michigan (and its old school coach Lloyd Carr) did beat Florida (and new school coach Urban Meyers) handily during last January’s Capital One Bowl Game.

Robert Wuebker
by Robert Wuebker
Sat Dec 6th 2008 at 10:51pm UTC

Flat World? Hardly

Saturday, December 6th, 2008

Richard Saul Wurman’s recent offering, 19.20.21, is an interesting step toward a more comprehensive understanding of our future “spiky” world. The site is well worth a visit, and (if you have not read it yet) Richard’s article on the subject (PDF) is also worth reading.

David Miller
by David Miller
Wed Oct 15th 2008 at 9:46am UTC

Russell Simmons Gets Spiky

Wednesday, October 15th, 2008

Entrepreneur Russell Simmons understands the spiky nature of the creative economy and has launched a new creative industries “bplan like” contest called the The Race to Be: The Creative Entrepreneurship Contest. The event is the centerpiece of this year’s Global Entrepreneurship Week (Nov. 17- Nov. 23).

The contest has three categories: film, fashion, and music. Applications can be submitted online and the finals of each category will take place on-site in spikes of industry/artistic excellence: film in LA, music in Austin, and fashion in NY. From the contest website:

The competition targets 18 to 29 year olds interested in film, music and fashion who want to become young entrepreneurs. From Oct. 2 through Oct. 31, applicants may apply online at and submit a sample of an existing creative work to compete.

• Five finalists from each category will be selected from the online submissions and will bring their portfolio of completed creative work to the event where they will compete in an onsite challenge. Each genre’s competition will be held in its respective artistic center:

oFilm – BE. The Story on November 17, Sony Pictures Studios, Los Angeles
oMusic – BE. The Sound on November 19, Austin, Venue TBD
oFashion – BE. The Style on November 21, New York Stock Exchange, New York

At each event, a panel of industry experts will serve as mentors and conduct a workshop focused on the importance of creativity, innovation and entrepreneurship in today’s business world. Each finalist will be paired with a mentor who will work with the individual to create an entrepreneurial concept and develop a marketing pitch for their work.

• At the end of the day, each finalist will present his or her work and make a “pitch” to the panel of judges. The judges will score each presentation in four categories: creative content, business viability, marketability, and the “it” factor.

• The winner of each competition will receive $5,000, a mentoring opportunity, possible internship and post-event PR exposure for their winning concept.

I have been researching business plan competitions for four years now and it’s amazing how the model has evolved and moved way beyond the campus.

This competition speaks directly to the creative economy and the creative class and while its cash prize doesn’t distinguish it, Russell Simmons, the categories and format, and the opportunities to network make it a special case. It also, obviously, underscores the great concentrations of talent that exist.

Check out the application (deadline is Oct. 31) and share your great ideas or works in progress with Russell Simmons and the world during Global Entrepreneurship Week. Good luck!

Richard Florida
by Richard Florida
Thu Sep 11th 2008 at 3:21pm UTC

Rural Areas, Mega- and Mini-Regions

Thursday, September 11th, 2008

The spiky world and the rise of the mega-region make place more important then ever before. But what if your place is not part of a mega-region or a spiky center? Two places our team has thought a great deal about are Australia – where Sydney, Melbourne, and Brisbane do not form a mega-region – and Scandinavia, where Stockholm, Copenhagen, Oslo, and Helsinki are also too far apart. One idea is to deepen connective tissue and form “virtual” mega-regions of sorts.

U.S. Endowment takes on the even thornier issue of how rural areas can connect to spiky globalization which suggests “that individual rural communities will have an increasingly difficult time competing. Thus, the need to form ‘mini-regions’ built upon clustering of potential that if not ready to compete globally are vitally linked to mega-regions in a symbiotic relationship.”

Sounds reasonable to me: What do you think?