“We don’t need economic development. We need economic reinvention.” – Gov. John Kitzhaber

This quote came from Oregon’s Gov. Kitzhaber at the 2013 SSTI Conference.  It was a gathering of technology based economic development organizations and the speech was right on topic but there is a much deeper meaning.

Gov. Kitzhaber acknowledged that the pathway to growth and wealth creation has indeed changed and the same old tricks to attract and encourage this growth will no longer work.  So much is different; timeline of technology adoption, sources of capital, pervasive access to world markets, instant communication anywhere on the planet…

The cool thing now is markets are wide open for anyone to play.  You don’t need $100 million to get started and although there are still a few closed monopolies like cable and media companies, they can’t last forever.

Chambers and local governments are finding the returns of traditional economic development strategies will continue to  diminish as small startups take root, grow and churn.  The community may get this for free as it is the nature of entrepreneurs to overcome their obstacles and chose for themselves where they do it.  But how much more could these communities benefit if they could figure out how to create an environment that attracts and nurtures startups?

Hint: it won’t come from a standardized package of programs, rules and constraints.

Blogging Gazelle is published daily by Shawn Carson


“Entrepreneurship is NOT normally distributed” – Rob Wiltbank

The statistics on venture investment suggest that 2% or less of startups are “successful”.  But that’s for those actually looking for equity based funding.  The coming of crowd funding is changing that and it’s true that most startups get traction by bootstrapping.

But the fundamental nature of entrepreneurship seems to defy analysis.  Entrepreneurs find a problem in need of a solution and are able to provide that solution to someone who is willing to pay for it.

We have a guy who teaches gun safety.  People come to his classes and have to load their guns by holding them under their arms or in worse places.  So he invented a folding table specifically designed for that purpose.  He had a few made and now others are asking for them.  It’s not the next Apple and he likely will not show up in an HBR article.

But he IS an entrepreneur!

Rob Wiltbank spoke at the 2013 SSTI Conference in Portland