If the world is so flat, why are spikes becoming more prominent?
Once again, the early view was that geography doesn’t matter in the age of electronic networks – we were finally going to see “the death of distance.” Tom Friedman captured our imagination with his view of The World Is Flat. But we need to pay attention to the perspectives of Richard Florida, the author of Cities and the Creative Class and The Flight of the Creative Class as well as a provocative Atlantic Monthly article, who keeps focusing on an inconvenient truth: the trend towards coming together in dense urban areas to create spikes of talent is accelerating, rather than disappearing, on a global scale. How to resolve the paradox of greater spike formation in a flat world?
In fact, geography may matter more than ever. The flat world may be making spikes even more necessary, attractive and scalable. Spikes appear to be playing an increasingly important role in talent development. If talent development is becoming more critical to the success of firms, what is the explicit spike strategy of each of our firms?
Just because information flows faster doesn't mean the world is flat because information itself without actors to consume the information and transmute it into production. What would make one think actors are evenly distributed?
son of parnas
July 2nd, 2007 10:50am
So wait, two sentences of that are actually yours, and they're basically rehashing/paraphrasing what's in the linked article?
You're so insightful and edgy, sop.
You two still aren't fooling me.
I KNOW you two are having an illicit Internet affair! Admit it!
Confess, sop and muppet!
July 2nd, 2007 10:57am
> You're so insightful and edgy, sop.
What orifices are oozing today muppet? Clearly your mouth is dripping the same old venom.
son of parnas
July 2nd, 2007 10:58am
So when are you two going to rip each other's clothes off and get with the loving?
Confess, sop and muppet!
July 2nd, 2007 10:59am
"Are you as turned on as I am right now?"
<ripping of clothes>
Yeah, I don't think that's going to happen. Muppet's very happily married, and SoP is too sane.
July 2nd, 2007 11:10am
The quoted text is moronic.
> the trend towards coming together in dense urban areas to create spikes of talent is accelerating, rather than disappearing, on a global scale.
How are these spikes interesting? Professionals in New York, London, Moscow and Hong Kong are more and more alike. Less 'spikey'. The eat sushi and drink Starbucks, watch on their iPods.
> In fact, geography may matter more than ever.
Yeah, it matters which side of the border you're on more today than say in 1945, in 1711, or in 1491? Come on.
July 2nd, 2007 11:47am
I think the 'spikes' reflect local colleges (Stanford, MIT, Berkely) and the government dollars invested in specific technologies that drive local spin-off industries.
This can make apparent "high-tech corridors" have a depth of exertise -- which the naive might say comes from clustered businesses, but the more historically sophisticated would realize the businesses come from grad student's research.
July 2nd, 2007 12:46pm
I have to say I like being in the Raleigh-Durham area (home to 3 major universities and several smaller ones), but at the same time, moving to rural western North Carolina in the mountains with a fiber optic link to the internet is starting to sound attractive too.
July 2nd, 2007 12:53pm
> Rural-sourcing, anyone?
It's not an incubator environment though, but it's good for filling out a team. In the bay area we have tons of potential chaotic events that can lead to innovations in many different areas. There's a lot of opportunity.
son of parnas
July 2nd, 2007 1:20pm
"Professionals in New York, London, Moscow and Hong Kong are more and more alike. Less 'spikey'. The eat sushi and drink Starbucks, watch on their iPods."
Yeah, what happens is those cities the cost of living there shoots through thee roof even to live in the 'bad areas'. Soon only the homogenous wealthy wanna-be-hipsters (aka posers) are there and all the cool people have left. Then, who cares?
No, the cool thing about the world is flat concept is now it doesn't matter where you are. You can have some dude living on Prince Edward Island, another one at a monastery in Bhutan, and a third in a barn in Iowa, all collaborating on the next great Web 2.0 app, meeting once a month in Barbados just to get the face time.
July 2nd, 2007 2:05pm
so why are cities booming and rural communities, not so much?
seems the market still puts a good premium on face time.
July 2nd, 2007 2:17pm
> it doesn't matter where you are.
I think that's more a romantic ideal than anything. People work better when they are working together as a team. And in my job contacts I've noticed a definite trend towards wanting colocated teams. Not that certain people can't be elsewhere, but the bulk of the team being together. Maybe the agile movement has something to do with this change.
son of parnas
July 2nd, 2007 2:19pm
Agreed, the 'face time' is critically important. So much so, that travel costs for enough 'face time' might make it impossible to telecommute from just 'anywhere'.
July 2nd, 2007 2:19pm
"why are cities booming and rural communities, not so much?"
1. The internet has only been around long enough for this shift to start, not for redistribution of populations to happen.
2. The creative class involved here is so small anyway that where they live doesn't change populations in a statistically significant way. Remember, 98% of the population does NOT create new things.
3. Who is to say that the rural communities would not be much smaller now, rather than staying the same size due to influx of creatives.
4. Creatives are 1 in a thousand or less. So communities with only 10,000 or fewer people are not going to be statistically affected by creatives moving in, but you will, over a span of decades, see things like arts festivals suddenly appear in some remote farming town, art galleries, etc. Santa Fe, New Mexico is one prototype. It went from cattle ranchers to arts community over a period of 40 years, all because of ONE painter who moved there originally.
July 2nd, 2007 2:49pm
PE, that explains why creatives don't move to rural places. it doesn't explain why they move to cities. there's enough Internet era data .. why do programmers still move to cities? Don't say 'that's where the jobs are' as that's cheating ... why? .. "now it doesn't matter where you are" then why are there jobs more in cities? maybe it does matter.
July 2nd, 2007 3:00pm
That's where the colleges/Universities are, in or near cities.
July 2nd, 2007 3:46pm
Location matters because all this electronic shit doesn't. Yes, I do some cool collaborations online. But I need face time with people to really make things happen. When I can meet face to face with a customer we can get done in an hour what would take one or more days worth of emails. Also because it's a bad idea to do business with people that you haven't met face to face.
I've got a part-time job where most of my work is done from my home. I still meet face to face with most of my coworkers once a week. I got the job not via email and a phone interview, but by going on a road trip with my boss to drink beer (good beer at that--I want to go back).
you're saying creatives stay in the city where they went to school? That accounts for Austin and Madison (along with being capital cities) but not for say Ithaca, NY (ie, it's not a big mecca for business) or Northhampton/Amherst, MA (lots of colleges, no tech though) or almost all college towns.
it seems all those small college towns (College Station, TX, University Park, PN, etc) .. they're always sending their grads onto NYC, and Chicago and LA.
July 2nd, 2007 4:22pm
Ithaca NY is the home of IBM. I think that kind of explains that, no?
And no, I'm not saying everybody STAYs in the city they went to school at. Just as I'm not saying every business ever started succeeds.
What I AM saying is, occasionally there's a start-up company, doing a spin-off of a technology developed by students at a school. That spin-off does tend to be close to the school. And that school does tend (I don't know why) to be in or near a city. Like Boston, LA, San Francisco, Silicon Valley, or Atlanta.
July 2nd, 2007 4:49pm
I guess I'm saying that the college <=> industry correlation isn't strong enough.
Lots of booming large cities have quite low student/population ratios (NYC, LA, Atlanta). Some large cities have great centers for learning (Pittsburgh, St Louis, New Orleans) but are not booming at all.
Boston has lots more college students than Atlanta or Minneapolis or Phoenix but all three have done remarkably well in the last generation. But two smaller cities in Massachusetts with larger college student proportions and the same liberal climate .. Springfield and Worcester .. are in the dumps.
So ... if geography doesn't matter, one would expect less bunching up in expensive urban centers, maybe more bunching up in places of cheap inventory production (ie, 'college degrees') or recycling (ie, 'retirement'). But that's not happening. Geography does matter. At least, cities still matter.
July 2nd, 2007 5:08pm
"that explains why creatives don't move to rural places"
Oh! I was trying to explain the opposite. Some of them ARE doing that, but creatives aren't enough people to actually force much of a 'giant population increase', unless they are there long enough and hip enough to attract other artists, followed by people who want to live in a funky art town. The transformation takes 30-50 yrs.
"it doesn't explain why they move to cities"
Some people prefer to live in cities, others don't.
July 2nd, 2007 8:14pm
""now it doesn't matter where you are" then why are there jobs more in cities?"
There are more jobs in cities because cities have more people. Or do you mean 'there is a preponderance of tech jobs in big cities'. Well large corporations have to locate in big cities just to find enough people to staff with. And some cities are more interesting than others, like the bay area, so they can achieve critical mass, also the universities, as was said.
But there's plenty of people doing amazing stuff tucked away into tiny towns, and with the internet and mail system, it's possible to be far more successful doing this now than ever before.
Is Microsoft going to open a development center in Bumpkin, South Carolina? No. But that doesn't mean there aren't lots of creative artists and developers that might be hiding there.
July 2nd, 2007 8:18pm