Monday, September 24, 2012 Valley to Detroit!

The Detroit tech movement continues to pick up significant steam, with the lastest news being the relocation of from San Francisco to Detroit. Stik, which allows users to provide and seek business referrals via Facebook, was started by two Michiganders (one of whom was a friend of Brian Emeott's at Harvard!) and will be moving into the Madison building, bringing six employees and plans to hire more.

 I'm excited to have them in town. I had a chance to go to lunch last week with one of the founders, Nathan, and enjoyed hearing about their business as well as the thought that went into the decision to move to Detroit. From what I gathered, moving their company to Detroit wasn't simply a "I want to move back to my home state" decision, though that obviously played a role. Detroit indeed offered significant advantages over the hectic pace of San Francisco, particularly in finding and holding onto talent, and that advantage (especially if it bears fruit for bodes well for Detroit's startup community. Welcome to Detroit, Stik!

Check out their site to gather referrals from your friends for just about any professional service: Doctors, real estate agents, insurance agents, financial planners. And be sure to keep an eye on them as they grow their business in Detroit!

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Dequindre Cut Extension

Good news for the Dequindre Cut - a plan to extend the pathway through Eastern Market and onto Midtown and Hamtramck will move forward in the City Council and has a $10 million federal grant to help pay for the costs. I don't known anything about real estate development but something tells me that a complex plan like this would have been already executed upon in a more progressive city. Nonetheless, if this plan comes to fruition the cut will be one of the coolest parts of the city.

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Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Techonomy Detroit

Techonomy Detroit takes place tomorrow. It is Techonomy's first one day event designed to look at how technology can help address the US's most challenging problems and featuring a keynote address by the founder of Twitter and Square, Jack Dorsey. I really enjoyed this Forbes article answering why Techonomy decided upon Detroit as the host city, "We created Techonomy Detroit because we see a set of urgent issues for this city and the country that all of us need to better understand."
But we at Techonomy—and our speakers—believe we are in an era of technology breakthroughs that can enable any community to make rapid progress—if it embraces them. These tools can absolutely be applied in Detroit, or anywhere, to make a dramatic difference—faster than most recognize. That’s the message we hope to convey this coming Wednesday at the conference at Wayne State University. We see promising advances in education, health care, manufacturing, business structure and management, finance, entrepreneurship, urban planning, and yes even in transportation, Detroit’s historic strength.
While working in Africa, I was inspired by the amount of innovation using new technologies to address the continent's most urgent problems, particularly the problems of those at the bottom of the pyramid. It's disappointing to not see that as much in the states. Maybe it's happening here more than I think but probably not. The author makes a good point that even within the platforms and dialogues of our political parties there's a worrying lack of focus on technology and its capacity to rapidly solve problems. I'm happy to find a conference highlighting this; especially in Detroit, where the nation's most complex problems so clearly reveal themselves.