Friday, April 14, 2006

Pittsblog pondering: Too many cooks in terms of biz development

This is part 1 of 2 on this topic.
Pittsblog 'Pittsburgh has a 'too many cooks' problem when it comes to tech strategy.' I heard from a number of people that personal history gets in the way of forward economic progress in Pittsburgh. There are egos, and historical associations and present commitments, that are obstacles to success. I'm not sold on this idea. Can you name an economically vibrant urban area that isn't filled with big egos and complicated histories? I wonder whether the 'too many cooks' concern is an excuse more than a real obstacle.
I think that there are too many cooks. I think that they all should be starved.

These cooks live off of lunch money from the politicians. Too many rely upon tax money, grants, soft-money, and other generous hand-outs. Too many were formed so as to build clout.

Follow the money. Look at the history of each group.

I'd say that the egos are less of an issue -- but the strings and wire-pulling that is expected from these groups from their funding buddies.

Let's make a list of community groups in the city that would hold a mayor debate in 2001 when Bob and Tom each spent $1-million in the Dem primary. Here is a hint: ZERO. NONE of the groups, and there are 40 at the top of my head, would dare to go out on limb and host such a forum. They all didn't want to bite the hand that feeds them. And, if they were fed up with Tom Murphy, they didn't want to rock the boat, just in case Bob would win anyway.

Same today with Ed Rendell. Do you think that the Digital Greenhouse would have sponsored anything but a ribbon cutting for ex-Gov Ridge? No way. Who is going to speak up against corporate welfare -- American Eagle? Does the Pgh Technology Center NOT want its parking garages?

There are too many groups because there have been too many handouts for the wrong reasons. And, the leadership in each group needs to walk on egg shells (Hoppy Easter).

And, many of these groups are just shells of an organization. They've lived on fumes. The money trail is getting dry. But, they can't put a fork in themselves. That is what the leadership needs to do -- but being honest and zapping a bit of political clout is hard to do.

Many of these groups stink and should go away. But, who is going to pull the trigger?

Stay tuned....

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