By Katie Terpstra
“Keep your tax incentives and highway interchanges; we will go where the highly skilled people are.”
Carley Fiorina, Hewlett-Packard CEO
Richard Florida, in his book The Rise of the Creative Class, describes the emergence of a new social class, the creative class. He believes creativity is the driving force behind economic growth and that “cities should stop worrying about attracting companies and start worrying about attracting members of this class.” Once the creative people have been successfully attracted, the companies seeking this type of workforce will naturally follow.
Mr. Florida defines the core of the creative class as “people in science and engineering, architecture and design, education, arts, music, and entertainment, whose economic function is to create new ideas, new technology and/or new creative content.” He estimates that the class includes 38 million members or more than 30 percent of the nation’s workforce.
In order to attract the creative class to an area, Florida believes a place must have “the 3 T’s”—technology, talent and tolerance. While he believes geographical place does still play an important role in attraction, he also writes, “Access to talented and creative people is to modern business what access to coal and iron ore was to steelmaking.”
Whether you agree with Florida or not, he raises some interesting issues through his research. Have you witnessed the presence of this creative class in your area? Do organizations need to be more innovative in their attempts to attract companies? Is it feasible to attract people rather than companies? Click here to send us your feedback.
Sources & Links:
º www.slate.msn.com/?id=2066325: An article based on Florida’s book which asks the question: “Why do some cities thrive and others flounder?”
º www.creativeclass.org: Florida’s website which contains more information about his book, The Rise of the Creative Class, including excerpts.
º www.optimizemag.com/issue/007/quiz.htm: An interesting quiz designed to test how creative your workplace is.
By Jeff Kelley
We love Google. We all use it here at Whittaker Associates and have found that it is the most useful search engine for finding whatever it is we are looking for. It looks like a straightforward search engine, but there is a lot more to Google than the simple search box and logo.
How does Google do it?
Google produces results based on a sorting system called PageRank™. PageRank claims to be “uniquely democratic.” It produces results based on votes that pages cast when they are linked together. For example Google sees one page linked to another as one vote, by page 1 for page 2. It also analyzes the content of the page that casts the vote. More important pages that cast votes weigh more heavily. But what it comes down to for me is that the more popular pages come up first, rather than pages highly ranked because someone has purchased a spot as an advertisement (www.google.com/technology/index.html).
Unlike other sites that have banners and sponsor links at the top, Google doesn’t let marketing clutter your results. It’s fair, and that’s nice for the little guy. And because it’s democratic, Google weeds out sites which aren’t as useful, such as those that come up through metatag manipulation.
Even I Misspell a Word Once in Awhile.
Google uses a spell check and offers to search for the suggested spelling. I don’t know how many times I’ve been saved from rifling through pages for something that I misspelled, er mistyped.
Check out Google’s example of how it has helped many Britney Spears fans: www.google.com/jobs/britney.html
Google offers a number of different ways to get at the information that you are looking for. My favorite is the Google Toolbar that IE users can add (http://toolbar.google.com). You can quickly search without returning to Google’s site. They also offer searches for wireless devices like WAP, web-enabled phones or handhelds (http://www.google.com/options/wireless.html). You can also add Google to your website to search the contents for free (www.google.com/services/free.html). And if you are really impressed with that, you can add the Google search appliance to your network (www.google.com/appliance).
If you’ve ever visited Google on a holiday or an artist’s birthday, you know its clever logos are fun to click on.
If you like another search engine we’d like to know why and how you use it.
By Jeff Vedders
We’ve had many clients request that we target value-added manufacturing companies recently. What is value-added?
“Value-added is an economic term to express the difference between the value of goods and the cost of materials or supplies that are used in producing them. It is a measure of economic activity which eliminates the duplication inherent in the sales value figure which results from the use of products of some establishments as materials or services by others. Value added is thus defined as the gross receipts of a firm minus the cost of goods and services purchased from other firms. Value added includes wages, salaries, interest, depreciation, rent, taxes and profit”
Source: Personal communication from the National Marine Fisheries Service, Fisheries Statistics and Economic Division, Silver Spring, MD
What does this all mean? Companies with high value added in their manufacturing process require employees with higher skill levels; thus these companies may offer jobs with higher wages.
Examples include of value added manufacturing include:
Organic and inorganic chemical manufacturing
Communications equipment manufacturing
Surgical and medical instruments manufacturing
Source: General Summary 1997 Economic Census Manufacturing Summary Series, U.S. Department of Commerce, Donald L. Evans, Secretary
By Jeff Kelley
Wireless. They’ve been talking about it for years: the possibilities, the access, the sheer brilliance of being able to review a proposal in the middle of a river in Montana and then send it out. We’ve been promised a lot, but haven’t seen a viable service. For a myriad of reasons common standards are hard to come by. But now 802.11b is offering a range of solutions.
802.11 is a family of standard for wireless communications. It resides on the 2.4 GHz microwave band designated by the FCC for low-power devices. It is an unlicensed area of bandwidth that anyone can use.
802.11b, which is the most popular of the family, has potential for 11 Mbps, but averages 6.5 to 8 Mbps, still about 100 times faster than dial-up. All that is required is a “hotspot” or Wireless Access Point connected to a network that a 802.11b card in your notebook or handheld can find. The range is currently about 300 yards.
The potential for this standard of wireless is great and everyone knows it. For instance, Microsoft has already incorporated 802.11 support into XP, and they are working with Intel to introduce it into their Pocket PC’s. You know that when Microsoft starts to do something it’s a proven technology. Large companies already use 802.11b for wireless networks on their campuses. But some companies are working to make it available to the rest of the world.
Wi-Fi is also making a splash in the world outside of corporate campuses. Boingo is one company trying to offer a for-pay service for wireless connectivity in hotels, airports, and other public places across the country. For as little as $25/ month you can access the Internet anywhere with a “hotspot” or access point. Ironically, the San Francisco Airport, as close as it is to Silicon Valley, doesn’t have capability! There is also an altruistic movement afoot in major cities to offer free Internet service in public spaces such as parks and building lobbies to people who are Wi-Fi capable. Coffee shops are beginning to offer the service as an amenity to their patrons. Non-profit organizations are offering support and resources for companies, people and government organizations interested in participating in this free-wireless movement. Major commercial ventures, such as AT&T, are aiding groups such as NYC Wireless. For example, in sniffing out the hotspots (a technical term for searching out wireless access points) in the New York City area revealed 5,000 802.11b transmitters. But when they mapped the locations of these points there was a black hole in Harlem. So NYC Wireless started working with the parks service of New York to place transmitters in parks and public spaces for anyone to access, not just those on corporate campuses.
The future of commercial Wi-Fi is yet to be seen. Following the loss of the World Trade Center towers, Verizon worked hard to re-establish the lost service. But it was the ad hoc wireless networks via Wi-Fi in lower Manhattan that reestablished service and enabled companies to be connected quickly and efficiently. Commercial wireless service is in a sorry state. Metricom, which tried to offer the service, went bankrupt. Telco companies are ready to offer a wireless Internet connection at 128 Kbps, but that really isn’t an option for speeds sake. For a company to install a nationwide infrastructure to provide such a service would cost an estimated $1 billion. The only option is to share.
Groups around the country are encouraging the proliferation and sharing of network service. Groups like FreeNet.org provide resources and information for anyone interested-companies, individuals, or economic areas wanting to provide such an asset to people. Community groups are banding together to promote Wi-Fi networks. All across America, people with a non-dial-up connection to the Internet are connecting neighbors and areas together, overcoming various obstacles in deciding how to access the Internet when their location is out of an Internet Service Provider’s territory.
It’s no surprise that this non-commercial upwelling in the use of Wi-Fi is bound to upset everyone from Telco companies to Microsoft’s .Net future. Wi-Fi is fast and cheap for anyone with the hardware and Internet technology. It works against everything associated with the Internet as a commercial venture, from Internet billing models to security proponents advocating full-disclosure. As we move closer to a wired world, technologies like this are bound to change the way we think about our resources.
A few links: