Thursday, October 11, 2012

Telecom Corridor, Meet Tulsa

Matthew Yglesias of Slate had reason to spend a few days in Tulsa, Oklahoma, and came away with a few compliments and a few cautions for Tulsa and cities like it all across the country.

Tulsa was a boom city of the 1930s oil industry. Lately, Tulsa is trying to reinvent itself as a high tech startup haven. Yglesias finds it "lamentable" that Tulsa is trying to lure high tech startups through public investment in a supercomputer. Yglesias argues that cities make a mistake by focusing on high tech. That's just one sector of the economy and it's far from being where all the growth is.

You really should read Yglesias' whole article. It's short. But if you don't have the time, or interest, at least read his conclusion. After the jump.

Here is what Yglesias calls the moral of the story:
Becoming a friendly place for successful startups is mostly about the fundamentals. Startups come in all kinds of sectors, and the biggest driver of startup success is a deep local pool of skilled labor. That means being a great place to launch a business and being a nice place to live are deeply related goals. Good schools, solid infrastructure, appealing cultural amenities, and a reasonable balance between taxes and public services mean more than a supercomputer.
Source: Slate.
There's something to learn from Yglesias' article, both for city leaders in Richardson, a city that knows a little something about high tech (Telecom Corridor, anyone?) and for residents who think cultural "amenity" is a dirty word.

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