Birth of a travelling salesman

I have made six different public presentations related to economic development in the past two weeks.  I am starting to feel a little bit like a travelling salesman.  I have my pitch lines down and I inject a little rah, rah, rah.  For a number of years now I have been giving these public lectures but usually I would only do around six per year.  Maybe I’ll end up roaming the province pitching the merits of economic development like a snake oil salesman.

It’s kind of fun.

4 thoughts on “Birth of a travelling salesman

  1. You should record these and post the audio online. It would be great to hear a full-length presentation rather than the bits and pieces we get in blog posts.

  2. “You should record these and post the audio online”

    Even better would be the data and methodologies behind the studies. Have Haan’s data been made available?

    “have you seen this slant?”

    Yes, that would be the slant of Richard Florida, who runs the ‘Prosperity’ Institute where the main source in the story works. So, of course, she spouts the party line; that is what brings in the consulting dollars. If you parse the article carefully, however, you will see there is no good evidence that a trying to attract the ‘creative class’ using their recipes is worthwhile or possible. That is because the realy creative people, the scientists and engineers (not the faux creative duds in Eng lit, econ, MBAs, etc), are attracted by research dollars and not much else. It is I’m afraid contrary to his economic interest for Florida (and perhaps Haan) to admit this.

    You want the NB economy to turn around? Do what others have done; it isn’t magic. Invest in R&D; spend the dollars to attract the best researchers in some selected focus areas and equip them well. To free up the dollars, we’d have to cut some funds from the pretenders (i.e. the ‘creative’ artistes in the Humanities up on the Hill). We have already seen some examples of how R&D can create new industries in F’ton. We just need to demand that UNB increase that by 10-fold.

  3. Really? Tell that to the Stratford Festival, a ‘creative’ enterprise that brings in more capital than Radian6. Investing in R&D doesn’t NECESSARILY turn around an economy, where is the evidence it has? In fact, if you look at most of the evidence, if you REALLY want to turn around the economy you pretty much have to socialize it.

    Here’s a scenario, five guys sit in a basement, they’re unemployed, so decide to do a video ‘television’ series on Youtube. It’s picked up by CBC or CTV (like Chilly Beach was), or even better, a US network. Boom. Instant economy. Now they have money to hire more people, writers, grips, and on and on. THAT is how easy it is. Of course the odds are against that, so what if you have HUNDREDS of people doing that. Then the odds get better that ONE of those gets picked up. And then those guys ‘give back’ to the community. That’s exactly the same way Radian6 did it. The province invests in a whole bunch of companies, a couple of them do well, and the investment is returned and those guys reinvest.

    Engineers RARELY give back that kind of investment, engineers mostly sponge off of current government contracts. It’s VERY difficult to patent an engineering process. The same in science, it takes over a DECADE for a ‘discovery’ to even get to the point of clinical trials, and there is no guarantee that it will even work. So you really need DOZENS of such companies, and hopefully ONE will pay off.

    But the creativity angle is even cheaper. Apps are dirt easy to make, music is dirt easy and you can sell it at the itunes store. Animation is fairly straight forward. But unfortunately NB has always been a society where ‘work’ means cutting down a tree. Only in the acadian community is there any interest in Art, which is FAR more lucrative today than anything coming out of universities. What exactly do you think a physicist at UNB is going to come out with? It may be interesting, but it certainly won’t be lucrative.

    But video games now outsell Hollywood pictures, and I can make a video game in a day. NONE of these things are ‘easy’, if they were, they’d be done long ago. But again, the reality of this ‘creative class’ junk is in the middle. It isn’t NECESSARILY true, but it CAN be. It happens all the time in the US, property values go way down in urban areas and ‘yuppies’ move in and turn the neighbourhood around. But again, there is no ONE recipe for success, I like the artistic one because it is most interesting, accessible, and cheap. But finding natural gas may work for awhile too, heck, take government money to the casino and you may get lucky.

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