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Sunday, July 8, 2012

Rah rah siss boom bah, cont'd

Here's a glowing tribute to Portland's current crop of high-tech startups, some of which are now getting city handouts. It's a fun story, but the number of jobs these outfits support is minuscule. They are to an actual economy what food carts are to a restaurant scene.

Comments (19)

A stork...delivering the "baby startups" or is that a bag full o' money?

I saw that article too. Anything can be a "success" if enough fools will subsidize it. Hurray! We're the greatest! Let's get t-shirts printed.


The tech industry remains the darling of the green and sustainable set. The industry is seen as clean, intellectually challenging, creative, needs educated workers, has high wages. We like the people, we like the cachet, we like their money. But without a research university and a critical mass of tech businesses and investors, then the tech industry will always be small, and the bulk of jobs relegated to the parts that need labor, space, and cheap energy. The incubator money should go into funding grad level tech education in a big way and experimental venture projects.

Are there other industries that Oregon should be perusing for stable, family-wage jobs? What would these be?

Playing with percentages...

Would be nice to see some actual numbers. Salaries, jobs created, etc.

Are any evil VC part of the picture?

That should be pursuing, not perusing. Darn auto spelling!

Current Portland leadership seems so badly to want to emulate the USSR it's ludicrous, even to the point of wanting to brag to the world about it's "successes" while hobbling its population with the necessary subsidies to keep them afloat and even create them in the first place.

I could go on, but I needn't digress.

I've got no problem with us focusing on this part of the economy. I did a cyber-interview with the Silicon Florist himself, Rick Turoczy, for Neighborhood Notes. He was selected as Armchair Mayor for June. That's a distinguished group including you Jack, Phil Stanford, Scott Fernandez... Some say being Armchair Mayor of Portland is an honor that only comes along once in a lifetime.

I thought Rick's best answer was about the next trend: "In a world where everyone and anyone can create content, we’ll need some way of effectively managing that content. The same way Google came along and helped us search the web. And Wikipedia came along and helped us organize information. That’s the next thing."

I stumbled into high-tech in the mid-eighties. There is definitely a place for those kind of jobs in Portland.

Private Equity and selling off America are the two biggest reasons why the industry has not become larger.

Even if the business is located here, a company often wants to employ an H-1 Visa worker from India - or ship off a whole project to the land of the third eye.

In addition to PIE, PSU has its own Business Accellerator lab with lab and office spaces available to select science and technology start-ups. I assume there is some synergy that occurs when these companies work in the same building, but the office rents aren't special except that they are a bargain in the downtown market. Suburban markets are more affordable.

Since PIE is privately funded, I say more power to them. More enterprises should be mentors for young entrepreneurs - it is a daunting task and so many people with good ideas and talent fail because of their lack of business skills.

Oregon's high state income tax will all but gurantee that if any of these companies goes public or are acquired by a larger buyer/competitor (Jive Software, for example) their HQ will be located to either a more tax favorable state or to a region with deeper access to human capital and investors (Bay area). Doing the same thing and expecting different results is meshugenah.

Nolo, Oregon's perceived high corporate income tax rate is just that. Perceived. Regardless if that truly was the case (high state corporate tax rates scaring off businesses) then why are there so many successful start ups in California which does have very high corporate tax rates? Cost of living is significantly less in Oregon and the quality of life is better as well. Start ups can do just fine here.

Canucken: challenge is high personal income tax (not corp tax). Income tax is not perceived: it is second highest in country besides Hawaii.

1.Hawaii: top rate of 11 percent on taxable income greater than $200,000 per single filer, $400,000 per married couple
2.Oregon: top rate of 11 percent on taxable income greater than $250,000 per single filer, $500,000 per married couple

3.California: top rate of 10.3 percent on taxable income greater than $1 million for all filers

4.Iowa: top rate of 8.98 percent on taxable income greater than $64,755 for all filers

5.New Jersey: top rate of 8.97 percent on taxable income greater than $500,000 for all filers

6.New York: top rate of 8.97 percent on taxable income greater than $500,000 for all filers

7.Vermont: top rate of 8.95 percent on taxable income greater than $379,150 for all filers

8.Maine: top rate of 8.5 percent on taxable income greater than $19,750 per single filer, $39,550 per married couple

9.Washington, D.C.: top rate of 8.5 percent on taxable income greater than $40,000 for all filers

10.Minnesota: top rate of 7.85 percent on taxable income greater than $74,780 per single filer, $132,220 per married couple

The higher cost of living in CA is offset big time by deep pool of talent and billions of VC dollars. PDX's 2,300 employees in start ups is great but does not move the needle on a national basis. Our start up high tech is the tallest midget at the circus locally. I hope and pray that it will continue to grow and will become 10% or more of our employment base. Regrettably,government employees is way to high a portion of our local jobs.

The reason Cali has the startups inspite of high taxes and costa-living is because they have massive capital, both intellectual and financial. Ptown has minimal financials and their IP is inside the heads of the SamRand twins.

We frequently hear new home buyers and slick Green builders talking about how having an "earth friendly" or green home is really important to them.

So they tear town a 90 year old structure and build a new one, with two or three times the square footage.

Want to know a even more sustainable way to provide housing for you and your precious snowflakes? Buy an existing home that simply needs a new HVAC and hot water heating system.

Lots of CO2 emissions can be saved on all the concrete you don't consume. Lots of diesel will be saved not hauling your exotic materials from across the globe.

The cork can stay on the cork trees, the granite can stay in the earth, and all the low VOC paint can stay on the shelf and sustainably harvested bullshit can be consumed by some other faux greenie.

Buy an existing home that simply needs a new HVAC and hot water heating system.

Or better yet, forego the A/C. We lived for many years without air conditioning...the eco-goody-shoes should be the first to admit that the mass adoption of modern air conditioning systems have played a large part of dramatically increasing electric consumption, which in turn has meant increases in the consumption of coal, natural gas and nuclear fuel.

Next, comes the plethora of electronic gadgets. Do we need four computers per household, with 300 watt power supplies, four televisions each with CATV boxes, DVD players and stereo receivers? How about the sixteen transformers to charge the cell phones, the handheld game systems, the MP3 players, the tablets...?

The eco-goody-shooes should be the very first people to admit that our own consumerism actions have led us to where we are...and they should be the first to shun it all.

I'm not an electrical engineer Erik, but I've long wondered why there isn't some kind of centralized high-performance AC-DC converter in every house and standardized 12V DC plugs.

Aaron, I've wondered that, too. I'm not sure lights require the same conversion but it seems like everything else does. Eliminating the power bricks would seem like it's safer and requires less energy.

A few years ago there was talk of California requiring transformer bricks to draw no or almost no electricity when not being used. I haven't heard anything further about that. But that seemed like a great idea. It would cost another $1 or whatever to implement when manufacturing but could easily pay for itself over a few years.

They are to an actual economy what food carts are to a restaurant scene.

Meaning providing new ideas, inspiring new entrepreneurs, and creating a huge buzz around Portland?

Or something else?

Here's the next wave Portland can crest on with opportunistic start-ups, taking advantage of an imported and established local urban natural resource, using currently idle hipster harvesters even! --

Opossum protein neutralizes nearly all poisons, could have benefits for humans


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