Making Savannah our new home, I got to think a lot about: What actually makes a city attractive a good place to live? Besides climate and proximity to family members, the second being our main reason for moving to Savannah, the economy and future prosperity of a region should be on top of the list for deciding where to live.
How do you know whether a region will be successful going forward?
Richard Florida has built his career around answering that question. He shows that the cities that are able to attract and retain creative people are the ones that will succeed in our new world. Check out his book: The rise of the creative class.
But how can you tell? You narrowed down the search for your future hometown to a handful of regions, which one will be the prosperous one going forward?
Let me propose half serious a new economic law:
Finnern’s 1st law of a regions future economic success:
A region’s TEDx activity is a leading indicator for its future economic prosperity.
The TED conference is an exclusive yearly gathering around Ideas worth spreading. They came up with a concept of letting people organize their own TED conference as long as they adhere to a format that ensures success: Short inspirational presentations of ideas worth spreading ideally without slides, with long breaks for interaction, interwoven with some live music and visual art. These local organized events are called TEDx. From their web site:
Created in the spirit of TED’s mission, “ideas worth spreading,” the TEDx program is designed to give communities, organizations and individuals the opportunity to stimulate dialogue through TED-like experiences at the local level. TEDx events are fully planned and coordinated independently, on a community-by-community basis. Learn more »
In the San Francisco Bay Area, you almost can’t go out the door without stumbling over another TEDx gathering: San Francisco, Silicon Valley, Berkeley, Palo Alto, San Jose all have often more than one per year. Future economic prosperity ensured.
I was super excited when I found out that there was a TEDx happening in Savannah, even though it was the Friday before Sapphire, I had to check it out and it was amazing.
When I started the Future Salon in the Bay Area over 8 years ago modeled after John Smart’s LA Futurists gatherings, one of the hopes we had was, that others would see the value and create their own Future Salon all over the world. It being a side project, we never got beyond a handful of cities.
In good old LazyWeb tradition I am so excited, that TEDx is fulfilling that promise and did the heavy lifting.
Check whether your city/region has a TEDx and if not, be the driving force to make it happen. You will not regret it and my firm believe is, it will be a catalyst for future economic activity.
Magic will happen, you can hear it in the conversations during the breaks where new connections are formed and new ideas are born from the coming together of the different background of the diverse people present. TEDx audiences are doers, folks that want to make things.
I talked to Susan Isaacs one of the organizers and she told me that 10 years ago students from Savannah College of Art and Design SCAD, would have to leave Savannah after finishing college, as there were no jobs. Now things are changing in part through the help of an organization called The Creative Coast who was the driving force behind TEDxCC.
Even though I was not able to participate the whole TEDxCC, I thoroughly enjoyed it. Many new connections where formed that make me excited to come to Savannah and explore new [ad]ventures.
Soon someone will write a thesis around the above law and carefully measure and proof the impact that TEDx has on the economic prosperity of a region. Even though the law has not been proven, that should not stop you to use a regions TEDx activity level now as one deciding factor for choosing where to live. Activity level can be measured by the number of participants in relation to the population of a region, how often per year it is happening, how many years in a row, number of sponsors, Twitter/Blog activity, was it sold out?
You can get a pretty good picture of the buzz around a region’s TEDx. There should be a sharing session at the beginning of the TEDx day where people can stand up and briefly talk about the concrete difference that last one made in their life.
TEDx is a world wide phenomena and is also a driving force uniting us, the joy of sharing ideas worth spreading is universal. Through TEDx ideas spread via videos coming from all over the world we realize our connectedness. Theme for another post.
Finnern’s 2nd law of a regions future economic success
A region’s hackerspace/makerspace activity level is a leading indicator for its future economic prosperity.
From Wikipedia: A hackerspace or hackspace (also referred to as a hacklab, makerspace or creative space) is a location where people with common interests, usually in computers, technology, science or digital or electronic art can meet, socialise and/or collaborate. A hackerspace can be viewed as an open community labs incorporating elements of machine shops, workshops and/or studios where hackers can come together to share resources and knowledge to build and make things.
Unfortunately the word hacker is a negative word for many, so I prefer makerspace.
What would kick start that movement is if the Maker Faire would develop a TEDx like DIY model for their amazing events to spread globally and locally faster. Will explore that in a future post.
I am keen on helping to develop a maker space in Savannah. With the successful and buzzing Savannah College of Art and Design in town, and the great people I met at TEDxCC it probably will happen. Ping me if you live in or around Savannah and want to join.