Metro Phoenix municipalities let me start by saying, “you don’t get it”. You have spent billions on things like light rail and revitalizing your down towns. You do this to look attractive to large businesses. You think if you can provide this massive infrastructure, that they will bring their billion dollar industry to you. “Build it, and they will come.” This is a fantasy land you live in. You think far too small. This mentality belongs in movies not in economics.
Some day you will understand that bringing the operational arm of fortune 500 companies only brings “here today, gone tomorrow” jobs to the area, but an economy it does not make. If you want to stay a tourist and land development economy you can stop reading now. Go back to collecting your tourist taxes and your system development fees. If you want to become a leader in technology, bio sciences and energy keep reading. You won’t compete with the Midwest, South and foreign countries when it comes to providing cheap operational labor forever. It’s a bad strategy anyhow. Call the mayor of Detroit and ask him how being the labor force for American Automakers is working out. Stop targeting yourself as the call center hub of failing banks or as the fabrication farm of major chip makers.
|Instead, let me tell you a little story. One that reads like the Soprano’s built off real life events. Let me introduce to you the Pay Pal Mafia. Several years back there were several great stories written on the “crew”, in reputable places like Wired, Fortune, Forbes and the NY Times, so I won’t rehash that.|
They are important because they got it. The inner circle of Pay Pal founders and executives took the money they received when they cashed out to eBay and REINVESTED it into local startups that their network of peers had been sitting on, just waiting for capital. They now control much of the economy in Silicon Valley having a piece of action in nearly every major new startup in the last 4 or 5 years. See the list below to see the reach just 11 guys have in personal investment.
So, you see the trick here is to spend your money and time (ie: invest yourself) in helping the next Pay Pal. You know that little company that is from Phoenix and loves Phoenix, but will be forced to move to Silicon Valley to get their first round of funding. The one that when they make it big will give back in spades to the very community that helps them get there. The startup that is still an idea, looking for the right connections, the one that will spark the culture and economy of dominance for your future. Quit investing recklessly on the 40 year infrastructure plan in hopes of landing the billion dollar “it company”, instead invest in the 40,000 entrepreneurs already swimming in your pond looking to break out and be the next big fish. I know it sounds risky, perhaps even foolish, but you need to invest in PEOPLE! PEOPLE that ultimately are dying to invest back in you.
Let me break it down for you. Your next economy will not come from a plane flight out of state to meet with a megacorp CEO. It will come by going down the street to have lunch with one of your current residents that has some crazy new idea that they are dying to share with you, in hopes that you point them in the right direction or introduce them to their missing contact. So for the love of your city, please go to lunch with that someone this week! Please believe in the people you already have.
Some Paypal Mafia Companies
- Tesla (Electric Cars)
- SpaceX (Space Ships)
- Room 9 (Movie Production)
- Solar City