BETI in the Seattle Times

April 8, 2011

Thanks for the mention, Jon Talton!


Economic Development Through Tax Incentives

April 8, 2011

Often, us in the Washington state economic development world mention the challenges that we have in not being able to engage in traditional economic development incentives. Because of our state constitution, we can’t do a lot of the direct financial offerings to companies that other states do, as it violates our “lending of credit” provision.

But this article in the trusty New York Times points out that using incentives to lure companies across state borders can be a tough way to do economic development“:

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One More Post about the Puget Sound and Cars

April 8, 2011

So I was on the treadmill at the gym this morning at 6 am (who’s the man!) watching SportsCenter, and on comes a commercial for Callaway golf clubs. I mean, it’s the Masters this weekend in Augusta, so no surprise, right? Except, the Callaway commercial opens with a picture of a Lamborghini and starts talking about their major strategic partnership between the sports car and the driver (ha! double entendre! but I’m referring to the golf club.) What, you may ask, is the connection?

Composite materials, of course. And where is Lamborghini developing their composites? The University of Washington. In fact, it’s mentioned in this Seattle Times article: “…the lab is a sort of hub for Lamborghini to work with the school, Boeing and other partners, including golf-club manufacturer Callaway and Intel.”

And so I’ll say it one more time. Our region has a secret automotive industry cluster that no one talks about!

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Breaking News Shocker! Defunding of Higher Ed Has Consequences!

April 3, 2011

Hmmm…I wonder if this story (which shows that everything we’ve been saying is coming to pass) will have any impact on the state’s decisions on the Governor’s Higher Education Funding Task Force proposal.

A note to the reader: please assume sarcasm in the title of this post. Yours, The Prosperity Blog.


A Tuna Salad Company, A Seafood Company or a Canned Goods Company?

April 2, 2011

That’s the old Branding 101 example of “you are what you say you are.” The idea being that Starkist or Bumblebee will be most successful expanding their product offerings if it fits in with a defined brand that people understand. You might be open to buying Starkist brand canned salmon or even Bumblebee fresh tuna steaks. Conversely, you probably wouldn’t want to buy tuna fish from a motor oil company, just because they branded themselves as a business that “makes things in containers.” So there are limits to everything.

We see a lot of that going on in our region. Boeing isn’t an “airplane company,” but rather an aerospace company and so you’re open to buying their tankers, and satellites and missiles. Microsoft is very much in the middle of defining themselves as a “platform company” that provides the tools upon which you create – whether that be word documents, video games, mobile apps or building energy management software.

These are the things that I thought of when I saw this article about BMW investing in IT start-ups as a way to facilitate defining themselves as a “mobility company.” Is this more Chicken of the Sea canned salmon or Pennzoil tuna?*

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DoD & BETI

April 1, 2011

One of the focuses of our BETI effort has been the potential intersection with the military. I mean, here we are as the Prosperity Partnership, trying to establish an international hug for the energy efficiency technology cluster here in the central Puget Sound. And here we are in the central Puget Sound with one of the largest concentrations of military presence in the country. And there the military is making bold public statements about how they see clean tech and energy efficiency as a key to their core mission. Kinda seems like there must be some mutually beneficial connection, yes?

Luckily for me, I don’t need to do a lot of research to understand how that might work, because ITIF wrote this lovely report entitled “Lean, Mean and Clean: Energy Innovation and the Department of Defense.”

Let’s read along together and see what we learn!

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Weekly B-MOW: Washington Tourism Alliance Summit

April 1, 2011

Yesterday, I went to the Washington Tourism Alliance Summit. Talk about trying to make lemons into lemonade. As I’ve mentioned before, many different parts of the state budget are being cut significantly, but here is an industry that is having all of its state support eliminated. Literally, there will be no more state tourism office. It’s the 2011 equivalent of “Ford to City: Drop Dead.”

And yet rather than feeling sorry for themselves, they’re picking up the pieces and making it happen on their own.

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Prosperity Blog on Citytank

March 30, 2011

Many of you in the blogosphere know Dan Bertolet, formerly of hugeasscity then Publicola: urban thinker and writer extraordinaire. You may or may not know that Dan has started a new blog, Citytank, which “believes that cities are the solution. Our mission is to propagate ideas that help fulfill the promise of cities to both expand the human spirit, and sustain a thriving planet.”

In particular, he’s started this “C200 Series” that attempts to explain “why cities matter. In 200 words. By a bunch of wicked smarty pants authors.” And your Prosperity Blog is nothing if not smarty pants.

So here’s our contribution. Which is a distillation of an older post we did on that same topic back around the time of the NYT Magazine Year in Ideas. And you know how we feel about the Year in Ideas.

Anyway, enjoy our Citytank post!


Ms. BETI Goes to Washington

March 30, 2011

PSRC’s Communications Director liked this post title better than “BETI Does DC”…each to their own, I guess. But the point is not which movie title to reference, but rather that BETI is getting “her” big premiere.

After many, many months of work and a soft roll-out in Chicago, it’s prime time for BETI and her peers from Cleveland and Twin Cities at the April 11 Brookings Event “Metropolitan Business Plans: A New Approach to Economic Growth.” It’s a pretty exciting opportunity to present on a national stage about the innovative work we’ve done to catalyze the building efficiency cluster in our region.

And if you’re interested, you can come.

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Prosperity Blog Makes News

March 28, 2011

Or at least inspires news.

A while back, I wrote a post on our growing talent shortage in the face of new companies moving to town.

The good folks at Xconomy saw the post, and were inspired to dig a little deeper. Here’s their story.

Clearly the moral of the story is this: the Prosperity Blog is on top of the latest developments in regional economic development. Read early and read often!


Weekly B-MOW: Seattle Chamber Intercity Study Mission

March 26, 2011

Every year, the Seattle Chamber does an “intercity study mission,” bringing regional business, government and community leaders to a peer city for a three day exploration of similarities, differences and, most importantly, the best practices that we can take back and copy in our own region. This past week, a group of us traveled for this year’s trip to San Jose for an Intercity Study Mission to Silicon Valley.

The reason to do a study mission to Silicon Valley is obvious: as much as we fancy ourselves as a leading region for innovation, we pale in comparison to the sheer breadth and depth and magnitude of what has come out of that region – HP, Google, Adobe, Apple, Yahoo…the list goes on and on. So, what are those things that we can take from them?

Here are my top three takeaways:

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Clusters Don’t Work

March 22, 2011

According to Europe’s Centre for Economic Policy Research, at least. According to them, an “analysis of 1,604 companies in the five largest Norwegian cities found that regional and national clusters are “irrelevant for innovation.” On the contrary, international cooperation or “global pipelines” were identified as the main drivers of innovation.”

Oh no! Well, this officially marks the end of the Prosperity Partnership and the Regional Economic Strategy.

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Money for Metropolitan Business Planning

March 22, 2011

One thing that we’ve lost focus on during the two years of the Metropolitan Business Plan process is that it’s not just about BETI. Yes, yes, we love our idea for the Building Energy-Efficiency Testing & Integration Center and Demonstration Network, and its proposal to catalyze our local energy efficiency IT cluster through validating these technologies in real-world settings. But although we identified the idea of BETI through the Metropolitan Business Planning process, the MBP goals are much broader.

And the exciting thing is that one of the big goals – funding of regions through Metropolitan Business Plans – may be coming to fruition!

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Blast from the Past…and Future?

March 21, 2011

We here at the Prosperity Blog are still cleaning up all the bottles from the tanker celebration, and yet it’s amazing that this is already our third post on the efforts that are getting underway to prepare our region to compete for the next major Boeing competition. Except, in this one, it won’t be us helping Boeing submit a bid, but rather us submitting a bid to Boeing…to be the location for the manufacture and assembly of the next generation 737.

How will we figure out our best strategy for securing that economic development prize? As someone once said, “You need to know where you’ve been so that you can figure out where you’re going.”

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It’s Cloud-y In Seattle

March 21, 2011

I don’t know if any of you have friends and relatives that don’t live here (I assume you do), but there’s nothing more annoying than when they ask me “Hey, is it raining in Seattle?” Or, when they come to visit and it happens to be raining, they say, “I’m SOOOO surprising it’s raining!” It reminds me of all the comments I got when I was an intern in DC during the Clinton administration (“say hi to Monica Lewinsky for me!”).

So you can imagine how mixed my emotions were to write that post title. (The other option was some obscure Lando Calrissian/Cloud City reference). But sometimes, true is true. And it’s true: our region is the world leader in the cloud. Cloud computing, that is!

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