Reshoring

    Innovate Immigration Policy

    Screen Shot 2017-01-30 at 13.00.07Why a Hostile Immigration Policy is Stupid

    Who remembers George Gilder?

    He’s a relevant person to recall at this moment in time. George Gilder said in 1995:

    “Without immigration over the last 50 years, I would estimate that U.S. real living standards would be at least 40% lower.”

    He could be wrong with that figure. It might be more than 40%. He said that in 1995.

    Readers who would prefer I stay out of political posts please understand this is a post about Innovation. I’m not going to comment on the moral, legal, or overtly political aspects of the new immigration policy. I will say that the new policy is hostile, at the very least in terms of how it’s perceived by people overseas. I believe that perception matters because it has a direct impact on long term USA innovation and subsequent USA economic growth.

    Why does Gilder make the claim above. Well, in a phrase it’s called the computer revolution. In the early 80’s before the personal computer, and more broadly, the rapid innovation of micro-chip technology, the USA economy was in a tailspin. We owe the rescue of our 80’s economy to technology and immigrants. Technology saved us. The key technologies of the last thirty years were invented by immigrants who came to America. Millions of people in the USA today owe their jobs, and their amazing productivity, to the computers and associated technologies invented here — by immigrants.

    Gilder got it right with regard to how valuable immigrants are to the American economy.

    In his book, Microcosm, The Quantum Revolution in Economics and Technology, he describes in rich and interesting detail just how Silicon Valley exploded with innovation in the 80’s and beyond. Order the book and read the detail, it names the physicists and mathematicians and engineers from eastern Europe, the middle east, and Asia who were integral to the formation of Silicon Valley. To this day Microcosm remains, in my view, the best overall description of how science, quantum physics, entrepreneurship, California vibes, and, most prominently, brilliant people from all over the world, that is, Immigrants came to Silicon Valley and created the computer revolution.

    You want innovation in the USA? Bring in more immigrants. So, let’s not be stupid and kill the goose that lays the golden eggs.

    Let me be clear, Gilder’s thinking is a mixed bag of ideas, some of which I enthusiastically endorse, others not at all. But please note that Gilder is a true conservative, who counseled President Ronald Reagan, and wrote speeches for Gov. George Romney, and Nelson Rockefeller. If you look at Gilder’s record and ignore his thoughts on social policy, you’ll see he was dead right when it came to technology issues. He predicted how digital streaming would disrupt television in 1990, as just one example.

    Gilder, an arch conservative, is an advocate of immigration as an economic boon to the USA economy.

    Nobody is against protecting our borders. What’s stupid is showing the world how mean we are in how we protect our borders. The current immigration ban is a PR disaster. We still want brilliant people to come to the USA and help us reinvent the future. They won’t come here, or stay here, if they think the USA is hostile to immigrants. Brilliant people with drive tend to come from places of little opportunity. Yes, refugees are exactly who we want in the USA.

    So, sure President Trump, yes, let’s improve vetting and ways to prevent terrorists from coming to America. But can we be nicer about it? Can we be smarter about it? You know, so we don’t scare away people that help us innovate our economy? It’s in our best interests to do so.

    Just ask conservative George Gilder, I’m sure he would be happy to advise another President.

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    Damaged Pure Michigan Brand Impedes Economic Development

    Pure Michigan is a Damaged Brand As a Michigan resident I’ve followed the developments in Flint with a mixture of horror, sadness, outrage, and confusion.  This post is not about political blame. Having said that, I don’t deny the political element to the problem; it’s a sad tale of bad decisions on top of bad decisions, and some of those made for purely political reasons. Fact seeking people on both sides of the aisle need to take a very close look at what’s happened. The focus of this post is about the damage that has been done to the state of Michigan’s brand, Pure Michigan.  This is not being talked about, but it’s as damaging in the long run as




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    Graphene Application Challenge Prize?

    The Graphene Challenge Graphene is a new material that is just in its infancy in terms of commerical usage. It’s from graphite, the stuff in pencils. It’s magical stuff — 150 times stronger than steel, flexible like rubber, and potentially usable in electronics, water filtration, energy, building construction, medical, and more. It’s the thinnest material known to man at this moment. It’s 250 times more conductive or “mobile” than silicon. It hit the news again recently as scientists have discovered a much cheaper way to produce the material. This is a market that is about to explode. It’s frustratingly hard to work with. But that’s the fun part.  Unfortunately for the USA, it would see the prime early movers in




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    GOP Debate: No Mention of Manufacturing

    A short post to make an observation. Say what you will about the GOP debate last night — and there is much to say — there was no attention paid to manufacturing. Search the transcript, you’ll not find the word mentioned a single time. Wow, it’s a very big point to miss. In related topics innovation was mentioned once, and infrastructure, a huge problem, was not mentioned at all. Why is it important and a big missing that manufacturing wasn’t mentioned? Manufacturing, and the middle class jobs that accompany renewed manufacturing, are absolutely essential to sustained, healthy economic growth. Our growth right now is anaemic in large part because of this missing element. We are not going to be a




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    Baby Steps To Breakthrough In Regional Economic Development

    Creativity, Innovation, and Economic Development — Embracing the Challenge Better Questions Means Better Answers for Regional Economic Development It’s about Attitudes, Projects, and Baby Steps Economic Development is important and challenging work. Having just interviewed players in this field and surveyed some regional initiatives — it’s clear that innovative work is being done in regional economic development — by some. I suspect that many in the field find the economic development challenge overwhelming. A bit like the Bob character in What about Bob, it’s tough to be creative when you are afraid to take a simple step. Thank you Bill Murray for a memorable character. Let’s face it, some regions always seem to lose out on the new plant. Some




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    Rural Broadband Necessary for Rural Innovation

    Tuesday– September 23, 2014 It’s nice to see that people are recognizing that innovation isn’t always in Silicon Valley. Writing you today from the countryside in Three Oaks, Michigan, aka “Michiana” — where my poky web access is satellite based. Steve Case’s article earlier this week in the Washington Post  — Why innovation and start-ups are thriving in ‘flyover’ country —  is spot on. Case, you may recall, was co-founder of AOL. He correctly identifies the reasons why Chicago, Denver, Cincinnati, and other smaller cities are becoming vibrant centers of start-ups. He’s asking for investments of time and money to be made in order to further the trend. I agree, and… He didn’t go far enough with his article — he missed one




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    Support RAMI

    We Can’t Get Serious About Manufacturing Soon Enough. I support RAMI. I read with interest a post on the congressional blog The Hill. In a rare example of cross party cooperation it would appear that the Senate is taking action on supporting growth in our manufacturing sector. Do read the piece but in essence the idea is to set up a national network for manufacturing innovation. This would build on the pilot center/hubs for innovation already set up by the Obama administration. Kudos to Senators Sherrod Brown (D-Ohio) and Roy Blunt (R-Missouri). I like your style gentlemen — first for working in a true bipartisan manner, and secondly for doing it on something so important. The bill is called Revitalize American Manufacturing and Innovation Act (RAMI). Congressman Tom Reed (R-New York) and




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    A New Idea for Black Friday

    The concept of Black Friday has me thinking about what we reward as consumers. My idea of shopping has nothing to do with sharp elbows, crowds, or even bargains. The kind of shopping I like is when I find something truly unique, really special and creative or innovative, at a small shop or family business. Best for me if it’s made in America, and of high quality craftsmanship, to me, this is real value — and I’ll buy that, I’ll reward that. That kind of shopping is increasingly hard to do. As I watched CNN this morning I was a bit amazed by all the “news” around the concept of Black Friday. Man-on-the-spot interviews at shopping malls, traffic reports from WalMart,




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    The Innovation State of the Union

    President Obama made mention in his state of the union address that he wishes to expand the National Netowrk for Manufacturing Innovation concept. I wholly applaud the idea, AND, there might be a more fundamental challenge that needs addressed first. I’ve made the acquaintance of a thought leader with her finger on the pulse of where the nation sits in terms of technological readiness to innovate. Her name is Pamela Menges, and she’s President of a high-tech start up in Cincinnati. She’s also a professor at the University of Cincinnati in their Engineering department. Steve Jobs once challenged Obama to find him 30,000 engineers so he could build a plant in California. That challenge remains a big one, and again,




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    Detroit Soup — Serving Hope & Innovation

    As a Michigander I’m always looking for some good vibes on the economy. I found it last night on NBC Nightly News, an inspirational story about Detroit Soup.  It’s not a restaurant, but it does serve soup — and something a lot more precious for down-on-its-luck-Motown — hope. Here’s the concept: Detroit Soup is a monthly dinner to fund creative and entrepreneurial projects. Micro grants are awarded at the dinner. Five dollars ($5.00) is the entry fee and it gets you a simple meal — soup, salad, bread — and a vote. They hold the dinner in an old warehouse. Click over to their site and read their backstory, it’s interesting. Apparently this concept has been happening for over three years.




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