Monthly Archives: December 2008

Chrysler “Thank You” ads provoke outrage

I’m speechless.  And I’m saddened that a corporate management team is so inept at understanding public opinion.

FROM THE DAILY BEAST: Chrysler could just have taken the bailout money and run, but the company’s chronic politeness is setting off fierce criticism. The company purchased full page ads this week in The New York Times, Wall Street Journal, Washington Post, Atlanta Journal-Constitution, and USA Today thanking Americans for “investing” (their words) in ChryslerRead more.

MARK CUBAN BLOG:    … is there anything more idiotic than spending more than 100k dollars on a full page ad “thanks for letting me waste your money ” ad ? Does it make it worse that its a business publication where the readers might just recognize the stupidity of wasting money on ad dollars that doesn’t even try to sell the product ?  How does it make the next unemployed Chrysler worker feel that  their entire year’s salary just went for  a single, ridiculous ad ?Just one more example of how poorly run the car companies are …. Read his complete blog.

GAWKER:  Can we take back the auto bailout? Chrysler, which will receive a $4 million loan from the U.S. government on Monday, has already spent $100,000 of that cash on a full-page ad in USA TodayRead more.

CHRYSLER:    Read more and see the ad.  More.  You can also tell Chrysler how you feel.

Personal Goal-Setting Retreat

It’s the time of the year for planning. I’m getting ready for my personal goal-setting retreat, at which time I take some time to reflect on the previous year and look ahead to 2009.

This year I’m also putting together a couple of goal-setting retreats for groups of individuals who want to do the same thing.  It begins with a day of guided discussion and goal-setting, followed by monthly follow-up.  Groups are limited to 12 individuals who want to set and implement goals for 2009.  My experience has been that the goal SETTING is more fun that goal IMPLEMENTATION, so my retreats are not really one-day events, but one year events.  Goals are implemented when there is responsibility and accountability.  If you are interested in being part of a group, watch this blog for the next couple of days.

Renasant Center for IDEAs earns Community Innovation Leadership Award

The Mississippi Technology Alliance (MTA) recently presented the John I. Rucker Community Innovation Leadership Award to Wayne Averett and the Renasant Center for IDEAs.

MTA presents the award to recognize outstanding innovation-based economic development organizations that have been formed in partnership with government, academia and the private sector with the primary mission to drive innovation-led economic development efforts that benefit high growth companies and communities.

“Wayne Averett, vice president for entrepreneurship and small business development for the Community Development Foundation and the board and partners of the Renasant Center for IDEAs have done an outstanding job in helping to drive innovation-led economic development in the Tupelo/Lee County community and North Mississippi region,” said Dr. Randy Goldsmith, president and CEO of MTA. “With state-of-the-art training and networking opportunities for companies and service providers, a growing local Angel investor group and assistance with new product development for existing industry, the Renasant Center for IDEAs is living up to its name to put innovation, development and entrepreneurship into action.”

The award is named in honor of the late John I. Rucker who served a decade as the executive director of the Oktibbeha County Economic Development Authority and was credited with helping lay the ground work for several innovation-led economic development projects in the greater Starkville community. He was a visionary economic developer and a good friend to MTA. The award was presented during the 9th Annual Conference on High Technology in Jackson.

Past recipients of the John I. Rucker Award include the Natchez-Adams County Development Authority, the Mississippi Gulf Coast Technology Council, the Mississippi Delta Technology Council, and the Economic Development Authority of Jones County.

The Mississippi Technology Alliance is a non-profit organization with the mission to drive innovation and technology-based economic development for the State of Mississippi. For more information about MTA, visit http://www.technologyalliance.ms.

Seven Ways to Market Your Community

The essence of community economic development is to bring in more money from outside. Most communities spend considerable time recruiting new companies and the jobs they bring.  But there are other ways to bring in outside money.

1. Have a book, television or movie set in your town.  Examples: Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil (books);  CSI Miami (television); The Firm (movie)

2. Capitalize on famous local businesses.  Fame of course is a relative term, but there are many businesses that attract outsiders and encourage them to spend money. Example: Boaz, AL Alabama  (outlet  stores)

3. Notorious events.  Example: Bonnie and Clyde museum in Jena, Louisiana

4. Festivals and events.  There are hundred of these all across the world, from the Johnny Cash Festival in Starkville, MS to the to the Mozart Festival in Salzberg, Austria.

5.  Location – many cities are not taking advantage of their locations.   Put signs on the interstate; by the way the “historic downtown” is losing its meaning. I stop at the so-called historic downtowns and can’t find anybody who knows why it is historic.

6. Internet and Technology – I was at a town meeting where a individual stood up and said that the town was a great place for young people to start a business when a young man in his 20’s got up and asked why the entrance to the city said “Certified retirement community.”

7.  Word of mouth – Ah, the best form of advertising – ambassadors of goodwill.  The creative class.

Downtown Jackson gets Writers’ Block

writers-blockOn a foggy and chilly Tuesday, December 16, three new residents were added to downtown Jackson, Mississippi.  The newbies were in the form of statues of Mississippi writers William Faulkner, Eudora Welty and Richard Wright.  They are put in place on the corner of Capitol and Lamar Streets in front of the new Pinnacle Office Building, which will hold its grand opening on Thursday, December 18.

What a nice Christmas present to the downtown community.   Thank you Parkway Properties and Eastover Group.

Mississippi Senate Elections Committee will meet to discuss Voter ID and other parts of 2009 legislative agenda.

The Senate Elections Committee will meet at 11 a.m., on Wednesday, December 17, in room 216 of the Capitol to discuss voter ID and other items that could be presented during the 2009 legislative session.

Elections Committee Chairman Senator Terry Burton, R-Newton, said data to be shared at the meeting will lay out the public sentiment toward issues like voter ID, which failed to gain the needed support to pass during the 2008 session.

“We will hear from the Election Reform Review Panel that met around the state throughout the summer getting ideas,” Burton said. “Voter ID will be discussed along with excused voting or early voting.”

Secretary of State Delbert Hosemann will make the first presentation at 11 a.m., and senate members will meet throughout the early afternoon, Burton said.

The media is invited to attend and hear what the senate’s 2009 elections related agenda will consist of.

For further information please contact Arnold Lindsay, 601-359-4067

Eelection Turnout Hits 40-Year High

FROM THE ASSOCIATED PRESS:  Final figures from nearly every state and the District of Columbia showed that more than 131 million people voted, the most ever for a presidential election. A little more than 122 million voted in 2004.

This year’s total is 61.6 percent of the nation’s eligible voters, the highest turnout rate since 1968, when Republican Richard M. Nixon defeated Democrat Hubert Humphrey, said Michael McDonald, a political science professor at George Mason University.  Click here to read the article.

My problem with economic incentives

My problem with economic incentives is that they are sometimes used to support projects that are not financially and/or economically feasible.

Most economic development professionals confess that they do not like economic incentives, but that they must use them to be competitive.  No argument here.  The problem is that some communities are so desperate for any project that will create jobs that they will make loans, provide infrastructure and give tax breaks to companies that would not make it without those incentives.  So what good does it do a community to provide incentives only to have the company go bankrupt after a couple of years?

Fortunately, communities have gotten wise to this situation and now are requiring clawback provisions or performance bonds.  Nevertheless, if a company can’t make it without incentives it is probably not going to be around very long – especially in this economy.

Internet Hits 1.5 Billion Users

This from  http://www.internetworldstats.com:

Internet Hits 1.5 Billion Users

Internet had a fantastic expansion during 2008. All world regions show growth, however, at very different rates. This is quite normal due to cultural, social, and economic factors prevailing in each part of the world as well as the already existing number of users.

The following table, displayed for the first time, gives the yearly growth rates (2007 to 2008) for each region of the world, estimated according to the Internet World Stats database.

Internet Usage Growth 2007 – 2008
Year-to-date by World Regions

Region

2008

2007

Growth (%)

Africa

54,374,130

44,361,940

25.2 %

America, Caribbean

7,994,300

5,985,209

33.6 %

America, Central

28,639,500

25,997,600

10.2 %

America, North

249,367,592

238,015,529

4.8 %

America, South

108,925,884

77,978,800

39.7 %

Asia

601,354,674

510,478,743

17.8 %

Europe

390,499,251

348,125,847

12.2 %

Middle East

43,317,200

33,510,500

29.9 %

Oceania, Australia

20,204,306

19,175,836

5.4 %

Total World

1,504,027,504

1,319,872,109

14.1 %

Source: Internet World Stats Database, accessed on December 3, 2008. Comparison figures are 2007 year-end data and 2008 Third Quarter data. Please Note: Mexico is included in Central America, and Turkey is included in Europe. Copyright © 2008, Miniwatts Marketing Group.

Happiness can be contagious, study finds.

A new study about social network analysis published in the British Medical Journal found that happiness can spread from one person to another to another.  The researchers, “… investigated the new and intriguing hypothesis that people’s happiness is influenced by, among other things, the happiness of their acquaintances, particularly first degree relatives, close friends, neighbours, and coworkers,” according to a commentary in the publication.

It just goes to show that who you hang out with can make a big difference.  Of course, our parents told us that, didn’t they?