Weekly FWSR: Fast Cars, Fun Games and Meat-related Typos

May 16, 2011

It’s time once again for my personal favorite feature at the Prosperity Blog: Fun With Search Referrers! It allows us to talk about the issues we care about in a concise, poignant and sometimes hilarious way. How is that different than every Prosperity Blog post you ask? Well thank you for the compliment! Did I mention that you look like you’ve lost some weight?

Anyway, here’s the latest Fun with Search Referrers, featuring fast cars, fun games and meat-related typos.

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Bob Drewel On Higher Ed Success In Olympia

May 11, 2011

I gave credit to the Seattle Times for their articulate explication of the importance of the Legislature’s action on higher ed this week. So, it’s only fair that I give kudos to the PSRC’s own Bob Drewel for his similarly effective communication on the subject.

And again, full text included below for your enjoyment:

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I 100% Agree With the Seattle Times on Higher Ed

May 11, 2011

Since last summer, Prosperity Partnership has been hard at work to ensure action by the 2011 legislature on higher education. We’ve talked about all the reasons why it’s so vital to our economy and to our citizens, but at the end of the day it comes down to this: Washington needs well-educated people to meet the demands of the new economy, and an accessible, affordable and accountable public higher education system allows the people of the state to compete for good jobs and allows companies to find qualified employees.

Which is why we’re so pleased that, yesterday, the Legislature passed and the Governor agreed to sign HB 1795, which enacts a majority of the recommendations of the Governor’s Higher Education Funding Task Force. In the face of huge budget cuts to our public higher education system , this legislation grants our higher education institutions the flexibility to set tuition at rates that balance affordability with access, increase financial aid for low- and middle-income students, and tie state funding to clear, measurable outcomes.

And yet, in the face of achieving our legislative goals for this session, it can be hard to scream, “Hurray, we can raise tuition!” Even with more financial aid and greater accountability, a lot more folks are going to pay more for college…which might mean much more debt upon graduation. I hate to use the term “necessary evil,” but in a time that state revenues are at historic lows and with apparently no appetite for revenue increases, this was clearly the best option to ensure access to the college degrees that we need to compete in the 21st century economy.

Which is why I was so happy to read the Seattle Times editorial this morning. I think this is a clear and concise summary of why this truly is a victory for our state, our economy and, yes, our students. It may violate all the rules of blogdom, but I’m going to quote it in full here:

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Weekly REDEW: “Home of the Algaepreneur”

May 10, 2011

It’s been a way long time since I posted a Weekly REDEW – our “Random Economic Development Email of the Week” feature. So, to celebrate its long anticipated return, here’s a double shot: two random emails that I received today, both about events that discuss our use of energy and/or dealing with the consequences thereof. First, there’s “JOIN US – Fundamentals of Carbon Capture and Storage – June 14th in Richland, WA!” Second in number but not in importance is “OriginOil To Discuss Commercial Successes at National Algae Association Conference.”

Is it significant that I’m receiving all of these emails about energy events, or purely coincidence? What are the implications for Washington’s clean energy economic development? And what stream of consciousness ramblings will it inspire? It’s all here in the Weekly REDEW!

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“The Goal of Business isn’t to Create Jobs.”

May 6, 2011

Yesterday was the kick-off meeting of the Regional Economic Strategy Technical Advisory Group…or, as I like to call them, the RESTAG (you already know from things like B-MOW and REDEW that I’m terrible at acronyms). For those of you who have been reading about our preparations to start developing a new Regional Economic Strategy, you’ll be happy to hear that we’ve moved from talking about doing it to actually starting!

And start, we did. With about 50 people packing the PSRC Boardroom, we introduced our consultants – TIP Strategies of Austin, TX – and got people thinking about the major issues that are going to frame our thinking about the strategy: things like the increasing divergence in economic opportunity between people with and without college education, the impacts of our aging workforce and trends (both positive and negative) with regard to manufacturing.

But what stood out the most from the TIP Strategies presentation wasn’t any of those, but rather a point so simple yet fundamental that it was almost revolutionary to hear. And, with full attribution to them, I wanted to share it with all of you: “the goal of business isn’t to create jobs.”

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Games: Not Just For Fun Anymore

May 3, 2011

Well, I suppose that games haven’t been exclusively fun for a while. The military engages in “war games,” which are only entertaining if starring Matthew Broderick. And I don’t suppose the two incarcerated people in “the prisoners dilemma” think that game theory is a laugh-a-minute riot (although this clip from the British game show Golden Balls based on that concept is highly amusing).

But generally, when we think of games – particularly video games – we think enjoyment. So what if I told you that video games aren’t all, um, “fun and games” anymore? Would you say, “Well, I’d have to see that for myself!”? If so, then you’re in luck, because the next Prosperity Partnership Industry Cluster Tour is coming up on June 3, and it’s focused on the interactive media cluster!

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Weekly B-MOW: Fashion & Apparel Industry Cluster Tour

April 16, 2011

When we started doing the Prosperity Partnership “industry cluster tours” three years ago – every three months, getting 30-40 business, government and community leaders on a bus for a day-long exploration of a different industry in our region – I had a key organizing principle for how I selected our tour stops: the “I’ve Always Wanted to Go There” rule. It was under the assumption that everyone knew about our various assets in clusters like aerospace, IT and life sciences, but had never had the opportunity and/or the access to go see them. And so, we got behind the scenes tours of Boeing factories or Seattle BioMed’s “insectarium” or REI’s logistics center in Sumner.

But now that we’ve done tours of the major industries in our region, we’ve moved into a new rule of thumb: the “I Had No Idea This Was Here” principle. That was the case back in December when we did a day-long bus tour of the specialty foods industry (stopping at places like Green Mountain Coffee’s robotic coffee packaging facility). And it was absolutely the case last week when we did our latest industry cluster tour…on the stunningly significant fashion & apparel cluster in our region.

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