• Jeff Pesek

    Imagine that…a city + tech industry that’s organically prospering without the adoption of some generic label / mentality used by top down bureaucrats. “Tech hub” is almost as empty as “innovation” – in theory and practice.

  • Grady

    If you look at history, there has been a very deliberate process of creating tech hubs through gov’t grants. The Manhattan Project, for instance, gave billions of dollars to top institutions and private contractors with a singular goal that drove many industries. Every major industry in the US has benefitted from Gov’t intervention including aerospace, airline, telecommunications, solar, and many many more. This idea that gov’t has no place in building industry is ahistoric. We’ve just done so through military means, which for some reason Americans don’t care how much money we waste on military contracts. However, move that focus to consumer products such as the system Japan employs, and everyone claims people are ‘picking winners’. I think we need 20 more Solyndra stories, 20 more $500M failures, because that’s what it takes to get to real innovation. Space X works because of contracts they’ve signed with foreign governments. Boeing exists because of gov’t contracts. There is a place for gov’t in fostering innovation even if it isn’t perfect it’s an instrument our country has used for YEARS. That’s exactly what ARPA is, that’s what DoD contracts are and have been for well over 100 years. The TV, Radio, Internet, and all kinds of innovations are the result of Gov’t grant.

    • Frank Jaskulke

      Tech in Minnesota has roots in this as well. Electronic Research Associates came out of government funding to create code breaking machines. ERA spun out Control Data, which spun out tons of tech companies, including many people who were instrumental in the medical device industry that Minnesota leads the world in.

      That said, it was not a concerted effort to a create an industry by a government program but the seed was planted, as is often the case, from swords being converted to plowshares. :)

      • Jeff Pesek

        Thank you both for the historical context, I just think it’s fantastic to see the local private tech sector growing nowadays without dependency on such subsidies, though their role in the past cannot be ignored!

  • R__W

    The underlying message of that article was pretty depressing if you are a technologist in MSP. Instead of being a tech hub, we’re a “Managerial Cluster” . An area optimized for middle managers isn’t a great place to be if you’re a specialist. It also does not sound like a place which would inspire innovation and new companies.

    • Jeff Pesek

      It is an interesting thing you recognize here, Rolf, to question the cause is to evolve beyond the basic premise and get at bigger and better questions…

      I can see where you’re coming from insofar as the shortsighted “how” or “why” reasoning by the author/publisher of this piece. Personally though, that’s not depressing to me because I don’t believe it and instead I find solace in the truth; perhaps this truth transcends all other roles/titles – tell me if you agree or disagree:

      What’s missing is the fundamental fact that founders, entrepreneurs, and CEOs are the defacto leaders of the tech industry and ultimately the ones most responsible for success or failure – both individually and collectively.