In 2011, Marc Andreessen said, “More and more major businesses and industries are being run on software and delivered as online services – from movies to agriculture to national defense.”
The observation seems ever more prophetic each day. As Alex Rampell, a general partner at venture capital firm Andreessen Horowitz, alluded to in this interview, it is the business models made possible by technology that are beginning to methodically chip away at every industry, including banking and finance, that have enormous implications.
Economic developers once did and still do fear the local plant or headquarters closing. In watching the launch of the new Boeing Dreamliner last week, I was reminded that Charleston, South Carolina’s economy was nearly obliterated in 1993 when the Naval base was closed and over 22,000 jobs were lost. The community embraced the change, went to work and just three years later it was recovering, as this article from 1997 cites.
But what do you do when technology is eating away at your companies and industries like the proverbial frog in a pot? I believe the first thing is to accept the premise that ALL industries will be transformed in the next five years – not in the next 20. Some current jobs will be made obsolete, while others have not been created yet. This includes positions in retail, healthcare and government, not only manufacturing and information technology.
The No. 1 competency an economic developer needs to succeed in this environment is curiosity. We must have insatiable appetite to research and interview existing businesses about what is next and prepare our communities for the coming changes.
One Columbus Update
- This week, the One Columbus team is in Phoenix and Los Angeles as well as China to meet with companies and consultants. Back home, we’ll be hosting companies considering the Columbus Region for expansion.
- Speaker announced: CoverMyMeds co-founder and CEO Matt Scantland will join us at the One Columbus Investor Update on March 2 to share what the company’s $1.1 billion acquisition means for the company and the Columbus Region. This week is the last chance to register!