Thursday, March 12, 2009

Cluster Bucks

You are a member of a sitting government in any state or province.

You want to be "the guy" in caucus who actually spurs your party to action, in a way that makes you feel good again about the reason you entered political life in the first place. Like most attracted to the lure of public life, you sincerely and truly wanted to make a difference.

However, two or three years in to your term you realize meaningful change is like pushing frozen molasses uphill blindfolded with both arms tied behind your back. You are growing wearing of being shackled by a bureaucracy that is oh so sticky about making sure things get done their way. Because that's the way it has always been.

But there is something in your gut telling you that everyone around you is missing out on the bigger picture as the economic storm wreaks havoc with the provincial or state treasury.

Consider these options.

You could pretend to feel good and justify in some "political" way any measure to heave billions in bailout dollars towards bloated and busted Industrial Age corporations. You and your colleagues will cross your fingers and deliver optimistic speeches in the hope that subsidization will see these mismanaged monolithic monstrosities through the current crisis.

Or ...

You could start whispering to some of your colleagues that it may be time to take a more entrepreneurial approach.

The coffee talk begins with thinking about ways to divert a minuscule portion of the bailout budget towards funding your own Silicon Valley; creating an organic chain reaction that results in an explosion of economic power. You explain it to your caucus buddy this way:

"Do we rescue sinking ships at sea or add fuel to new business rockets, already on the launch pad"?

Thanks to Google, these new rockets are relatively easy to find. Some may even be tempted to relocate to your jurisdiction if they knew your government was also thinking in a futuristic sense.
A good example would be Silicon Valley-based Tesla Motors.

Incorporated in July, 2003 by Martin Eberhard and Marc Tarpenning, Tesla Motors builds sleek battery-powered vehicles (pictured above) that can go 0-to-60 in less than 4 seconds. It has a range of 428 miles on a single charge that costs less than a cup of coffee. And as consumer demand increases, price points would plummet faster than the NASDAQ.

Or how about exploring possibilities with a self-funded, start-up venture that has INNOVATION written in capital letters all over it. You decide if John Kanzius, is a modern-day Edison in his quest to solve the energy crisis?

Government leaders all over North America look at economic clusters like Silicon Valley and wonder "Geez wouldn;t it be nice if we had could have our own Silicon Valley? Imagine all those nice high-paying jobs with all those cool people living in our state or province? We'd have cluster bucks for everyone.

At cabinet tables where decisions on the public purse are made, it will be interesting to see which state or province stops to think about the real options and opportunities in front them. In other words, which one will be the first to step up to the plate, and refuse to view Silicon Valley with envy and wishful thinking.

What if debate shifted away from investing into football stadiums, hockey arenas and failing corproations arenas and into planting seeds to create new, Digital Age enterprise greenhouses? At some point real leaders will start asking better questions like "why not?" and "how much it would it really cost us"?

Any ideas on who those leaders might be?

"I do not think there is any thrill that can go through the human heart like that felt by the inventor as he sees some creation of the brain unfolding to success... such emotions make a man forget food, sleep, friends, love, everything"NIKOLA TESLA

Special thanks to Andrew Mackinnon and his forwarding for inspiring this post.

1 comment:

Ian said...


I like ths post. We all need to look beyond the end of our collective noses and realize that the world is going to be very different in the next few decades. Our oil based economy is headed for disaster unless our governments take a progressive stand to develop new technologies in partnership with visionary companies. The time is now (in fact, it was yesterday).

Thanks for starting a much needed dialogue with your readership. We're going to be talking about this for a long, long time, but we need more than just talk.