Abbreviated Transcript: Rep. Tim Ryan (D-Ohio) in conversation with Tim O’Reilly (O’Reilly Media) and Peter Hirshberg

PETER HIRSHBERG: Well first thank you everybody for coming. This is an extraordinary group. And I think we’re all united by this core conversation going on which is of American renewal, how one creates jobs and how one approaches cautiously moving forward with the economy.Congressman Tim Ryan and I met a few weeks ago after Patrick McKenna who after the election, like many of us, became upset and was like “What are the things that we can do?” And if one looked at the data you kind of realized that there were two Americas. 85 percent of venture capital goes to three states. You have cities that are growing, that are productive and this America that hasn’t been as productive and the America that hasn’t been as productive broke one way politically and productive America broke another way. And it’s not just a cultural thing it really has to do with how does one diffuse job growth and the economy. And so after the election, Patrick and Tim who knew each other, Tim invited a bunch of us out to Youngstown. Patrick’s thesis was that there’s probably an opportunity to invest all over the nation but were not as connected up. We all went to Youngstown and come out here and this has been a couple of days of meeting with companies and building out connections.

One of the key things that’s going to come of all of this is it turns out places like Ireland do a better job of economic development and bringing people over there than even U.S. cities do. You guys are now working on having the upper Midwest of Ohio creating an office out here that can connect, recruit, build and pull talent together.

On why an economic development office for Ohio could be a game changer

TIM RYAN: Yeah. So if you don’t know Ireland have an office here with about 25 people in it that basically made the pitch to companies who are trying to grow that Ireland is a good place to grow. Evidently businesses like not paying taxes so Ireland is a good place for that. And so as I was hearing about this they literally hold your hand make the pitch to you of your interest they concierge you to Ireland. How many square feet do you need what your workforce need to look like. All of those things that businesses are in the dark about if you’re moving to another country. So as I heard this I started thinking well you know we have a lot to offer and in northeast Ohio the mayor of Akron, Dan Horrigan, is here joining us on the trip. And you know when you look at how much it is a square foot here versus 10 bucks or eight bucks a square foot in northeast Ohio pay an engineer a hundred grand a year plus you can get one out of the University of Akron or Youngstown State for 40 grand and they would be loyal to your company for the rest of their lives.

“So why don’t we have any office here?” is what I thought. We’re not here to poach. Someone said don’t say that because you may want to poach. So we’re not here to [poach] because I don’t like when people do that. I don’t think that’s a great strategy for long term development in the country.

We’re here to answer a need that many companies in Silicon Valley may have and Northern California may have that if they want to grow the costs of growing aren’t necessarily in line with your ability to do that.

We’re just encouraging immigration to Ohio.

No passport needed. There will not be a wall between us and Indiana, you’ll be welcome, to set up an office here so the mayor of Akron myself we’re going to include other cities maybe like Toledo or Gary Indiana that are in the same situation economically as us and get some business development people here on the ground knock on some doors plug in to some networks and say this could be a real win win. You want to grow your business. We need help. We’ve got this economic divide the country and let’s just connect it and it’s not like we’re doing this because you feel bad for us it’s because it makes sense for you.

The importance of connecting a hollowed-out community to the innovation economy

PETER HIRSHBERG: There’s an important connection here also when we were in Youngstown one of the things that I think we saw a lot of is after Youngstown lost a lot of jobs it’s most entrepreneurial people moved away. And so you were left with an incredibly capable place, but in a way not a lot of business or entrepreneurial leadership. Not that many connections to markets and to the rest of the country. And that’s one reason that it keeps looking for, “Where’s the plant that’s going to come back or some big company?” And so it’s not just capital it’s connections to markets access to new business models new forms of thinking. In a way, the American economy always diffuses and less productive areas pick up business but that’s happening slowly right now with hollowed out industries. This is about speeding that up and connecting and making those connections.

TIM RYAN: Definitely, you know there’s so many issues… But we’re isolated in a lot of ways and Mayor Oregon and myself will talk about some really positive things that are happening in our communities. The universities are great. We’ve got burgeoning little tech incubators and accelerators and the Bits and Atoms program we’ve got going on in Akron. These are really positive things but they’re still very isolated and it’s not until I come out here and I see the activity the sharpness the speed and tempo of how business gets done in the tech sector the needs it’s trying to fulfill. And then I see it happening in Youngstown. There is a big disconnect.

I said earlier 75 percent of what kids learn is through modeling. We lost in our communities those mentors that would show you how to be creative, how did you know how to be OK with risk taking, how to evaluate risk taking. And so I think it could be a very tangible investment money jobs. But it’s also the intangibles that we’ve lost over the years that happen in the communities like this can help shift the culture. It’s like Michael Jordan you know me Peter Tim Patrick and one of you are you know playing basketball. Take one of us out. Michael Jordan comes in. We all get a little bit better… That’s how I see this if we get good talent to come into our communities. It’s going to raise the town and everybody else is there.

Retraining as a Broken Promise

PETER HIRSHBERG: Your district which includes Youngstown was a state that broke for the other candidate whose vision of the future was actually looking through a rearview mirror. Right it was kind of bringing back the past. And I think one thing that freaks us out or makes us so curious out here is we keep thinking and looking to future industries and it’s almost like there’s a disbelief in that.

It’s almost like a broken promise when people talk about retraining or about the future there’s a lack of belief. Right? because they’ve not seen that model there.

TIM RYAN: Yeah, we have 30 years of people coming to presidential candidates coming to Akron and northeast Ohio and saying “what you need to do is get retrained, start community college or go to eastern gateway community college and get retrained something and then we’ll get you hired.

That’s been like 30 years. And it was total bullshit.

And so after 30 years of that, a candidate comes along and says what we’re going to do is going to open these coal mines back up and open the steel mills back up and we’re going to get you back to work. And after 30 years of hearing both sides they said these guys were all full of it. He’s rich at least. Let’s give it a shot. We got to lose you know.

And unfortunately we were talking about NATO and someone in Youngstown doesn’t care whether or not NATO is upended, that has nothing to do with their lives or worried about getting some meat and potatoes on the table. At the end of the day we have got to provide an adequate vision for the future.

That is very aspirational that people can believe and that is realistic and that will put money in their pockets.

I know we’ll get more into this but to me that’s the top line is we’ve got to have a hopeful message.

Economic Transformation and what it means for Capitalism

PETER HIRSHBERG: So Tim O’Reilly, we’re going through probably the greatest economic transformation certainly since the Great Reconstruction. And this has been an obsession of yours and Silicon Valley’s. And you have a new book coming out and a lot of your premise is that the way we do capitalism or the way that the rules work that favor automation or favor these things. Not technological determinism it’s a set of rules that we write in here we have a democratic leader who challenged Nancy Pelosi and is about changing the rules and putting new ideas on the table so I ‘m interested in a dialogue between the two of you on what some of those ideas are in kind of willful ways we can make the economy we’re heading into work for the rest of the nation.

Algorithms are Everywhere

TIM O’REILLY: You know one thing. Just a quick background. There’s a lot that we learned from tech and one of the things that we learned from tech is that our entire economy is ruled by algorithms. It’s not just Google and Facebook. It’s our financial markets in particular and those algorithms have been told what to do. You know just like Google says, “let’s make search results relevant”. Facebook said “hey let’s make results engaging”, and we saw that led them down the wrong path with fake news. Stock markets and all the incentives we have built into our economy from tax policy through executive compensation and rules governing it, corporate governance being built around the idea that it’s one thing and one thing only to optimize for in corporate America and that is shareholder value.

And so it was interesting. One of the stories that President Trump traded on was the closing closing of the Carrier factory in Indianapolis. That’s kind of interesting because I did a little bit of a back of the napkin analysis on that. And just doing a reasonable estimates. OK this might save the company a hundred million dollars a year.

The parent company United Technologies spent 12 billion dollars that year on stock buybacks to prop up their stock price. 12 billion dollars. And you know that is I think something that isn’t really understood enough we are no longer optimizing business to produce profits to produce jobs and we could. After World War II, this the interesting thing, we always learn the wrong lesson of history.

If you go back right after World War I the veterans all came back and there were no jobs for them. It was a huge near uprising. And you may remember there was a giant camp out of veterans on the mall in Washington. It was put down. They were shot with machine guns by later General MacArthur, a young officer at the time. After World War II, they were like they were really worried about that. So we want all these returning veterans to have jobs and full employment was the target and then somehow in the 70s and 80s we kind of got off of that.

We kneecapped the power of labor to organize. We create incentives. We create this whole idea that companies should optimized for their shareholders. And we’re now in the end game of that instruction set for our economy.

So when I think about policy there is definitely a lot around retraining which needs to be rethought in a very deep way. There’s a lot about you know one of the things that I think is really interesting is the way that we’re deconstructing the job. If you look at the On-Demand economy there’s a lot that’s really wrong with the way that’s playing out. But there is a lot that is really interesting and right. I think that’s worth talking about.

But the biggest thing that we’re doing is we’re not focusing anymore on work. What I mean by work is things that need doing in our society. Because companies are no longer incented to invest in the real economy. Why would you invest in training your workers? Why would you invest in a new speculative product. If you can actually improve your stock price which is the measure of your success by simply buying back the stock. So ended up with an economy where people are buying and selling these financial assets rather than taking those profits and putting it in the real economy. If you look at a company like Amazon or Elon Musk what’s so interesting is they’re using the financial markets the way they’re supposed to be used, which is they’re basically saying, “We’re doing this really of our amazing thing trusted us.” And invest in the real economy and they actually are creating jobs and they’re transforming their various segments of the economy sometimes in ways that are disruptive and challenging but at least they’re investing in making something, doing something.

Again I think the biggest thing we do is change the incentives for financial engineering.

So what are the what are the policy prescriptions for preventing that.

Policy Ideas Consistent with Financial Engineering

Well for me one of things that I would totally do is a financial transactions tax. I would, again I’m not sure what policy interventions you need to decouple executive compensation from share price. I think obviously that those incentives were put in place originally you know by government so we figured out how to unind those things. I think some of it is also in the narrative, we have to stop talking about who are the heroes of our economy and this is something even in Silicon Valley I think we get wrong.

I had a meeting with a White House staffer before Obama Obama’s President Obama’s Global Entrepreneurship Summit and she say, “Which Silicon Valley entrepreneur should we have on stage with President Obama, what’s your opinion?” I said, “we’re sitting here in Oakland which is where I live, in a fabulous restaurant. It’s one of three created by this great local restaurant entrepreneur. And you know people like him are why people now say Oakland is a great place to live and we need thousands, tens of thousands of people like him; more than we need another Mark Zuckerberg because Zuck’s running a winner takes all business is not that many of them are going to win. So tell everybody oh you wanna be like Zuck is actually not a very good message for our economy. I think we need to actually celebrate and reward small businesses. I would tried to find ways to change tax policy to favor small businesses over big ones.

On Disrupting Government

PETER HIRSHBERG: Tim last night when we were talking you were making some points that clearly America’s is in a mood to disrupt things because we kind of got rid of the positions of both parties and then we brought a disruptor in. And you were suggesting there were ways that your party actually might put ideas on the table that would be kind of new and disruptive including, do we change taxes on business. So let me to talk a little bit about some of those ideas and the role of the disruptor from the democratic world that would kind of recapture small business enterprises for your party.

TIM O’RYAN: Yeah. I think Democrats we shy away… You know this is all part of my mission to try to rebrand the Democratic Party of which you may know this doesn’t have a very good brand right now. So part of it is thinking about what’s actually going to try to solve some of these problems. And if you take the issue of taxes Democrats and never play offense on taxes we always play defense on taxes and you know we can’t even come to the point where we say, “boy the tax code is really complicated. Maybe we should simplify it” you know because people get bent out of shape and say well that’s for the rich well wait a minute it’s not for the rich. And we have a couple of ideas that we’re massaging right now and I’ve seen liberal economists talk about you know getting rid of the corporate tax. I’m not going to get rid of the revenue. We have to find another another way to tax capital to generate the same amount of revenue that we’re getting. But in many ways that the corporate tax is a huge burden for small businesses they don’t have a team of lawyers that can figure out how to access all of the loopholes.

I just started sponsoring a micro-business caucus with Anna Eshoo who’s not far from here and a couple of other Republicans businesses from 1 to nine people one of the things we’re talking about often is a 2 to 3 year tax holiday for micro-businesses like it we’re trying to start up businesses and happen in Youngstown.

What in the hell are we trying to strangle them for? We want ten thousand dollars in federal taxes in their first year. That guy that wants to start the restaurant or the coffee shop next to the business to the tech business.

But if I walk into a room like I guess I’m doing right now I’d say to a roomful of people, as a Democrat saying, “Democrats are for getting rid of the corporate tax.” If I went on CNBC and said that or Fox Business, Barney would fall out of this chair. But those are the kind of things that are disruptive. But I think make sense. It’s not patronizing. Everyone needs to pay their fair share, but let’s do it in a way that’s going to incentivize investments into start up small businesses and help them make sure they get ahead and create businesses.

I think there are some power not just in tax rates but accounting rules. So I remember when I started my company and Dale, who I saw in the back you’ll remember this, we were originally a consulting shop and then we became a publisher. And once we became a publisher and had inventory we had to go to accrual and then all the sudden we went “Oh my gosh we’re paying taxes on money we haven’t gotten yet” And that would kills us in our earlier years when suddenly we were you know again it makes sense if you’re a big business and the accounting rules on cash accounting vs accrual but the change is really painful. When you hit that that point where you suddenly have to start paying taxes on you actually haven’t gotten in the door yet.

PETER HIRSHBERG: here have been some interesting connections in your caucus with ideas bubbling up. And I think people are kind of hungry for ideas bubbling up talk a little bit about your relationship with Ro Khana and some of his ideas. Ro is our congressman from the peninsula, Silicon Valley, who has been out to your district you’ve been out here and that’s becoming an interesting collaboration.

TIM RYAN: Yeah. Ro’s become fast friends and we sit on the House floor and while there’s people throwing stuff at each other we’re talking about, what are we going to do to help the part?

What are the new ideas? He worked for President Obama’s Department of Commerce for a few years and he’s a big idea guy. And another idea that he has is to increase the Earned Income Tax Credit and a trillion dollar earned income tax credit and that’s gonna life millions of people out of poverty. It rewards work. It does everything that we want from our value system. That work is not just money it’s dignity. And all the rest that come with it. So that’s a that’s a big idea.

And then we’ve got a couple other. And again this is all in the end the idea of how do we get government to run efficiently and as Democrats that want to defend these programs how do we make them run efficiently.

So a couple other ones who just are dropping a bill to do a commission to study federal government employees systems in Washington D.C.. There’s about 300000 federal employees in Washington D.C.. So say you take 10 percent of them again back of the envelop kinda stuff. So you take 10 percent and take 30 thousand.

Say you take 1000 segments??? and put them in 30 different communities, a thousand in Youngstown, thousand in Akron, a thousand in Gary, a thousands in Biloxi. In the military they call it a force multiplier. You’re taking tax dollars that are hiring people and you’re putting them in a community that’s going to have the biggest bang for the box. Now in downtown Akron you have a thousand workers that are making $60000 a year, you rent space, you maybe lease space, you hire somebody to sell your coffee. The restaurants around benefit so somebody now starts a restaurant the shoes get shined the whole the whole ripple effect of the economy.

How do you think of new ways to do it and one other one I’ll share with you as Democrats it gets frustrating is I think a lot of times we have Republicans say the biggest problem with our deficit is entitlements primarily Medicare and Medicaid account about a third of our budget deficit two health care programs. So Republicans have got to cut Medicare and Medicaid.

And Democrats say no you can’t touch them these are for poor people these are for old people don’t touch them.

Well true. I mean you have to be careful. These are important programs. Medicare wastes 50 billion dollars a year.

That’s a billion a week in double payments, overpayments, wrong payments, people cheating the system; a billion a week. So we dropped a bill to boost the budget for that in the area of an agency that we have to penalize people who are cheating on Medicare hire US attorneys and put them in the States where people are cheating.

Hard to believe Florida. Texas. Oklahoma. I think Michigan but let’s put U.S. attorney, as democrats, U.S. attorneys. If you cheat on Medicare we’re going bust you. You’re going to jail. And I’m going to take the 50 billion and in all honesty and give it back to the tax cuts for the top 1 percent. That 50 billion is going to go back in the program extend the life of the Medicare program if you extend services and preventative care on and on. But this is a way for Democrats to I guess disrupt I didn’t really think of it that way til I spent two days in silicon valley.

How Code for America is Disrupting Government Technology

TIM O’REILLY: Can I give you another one and this really is a tech play. The typical way government builds technology is badly broken. And I’ve done a lot of work with this through my wife’s nonprofit, Code for America, and she helped start something called the United States Digital Services as part of the White House. One of the key ideas we work with is something I wrote about seven or eight years ago about the idea that the government needs to think of yourself as a platform. The example I used at the time was Apple with the App Store. Remember how phones used to be first there was 20 apps and now there’s millions. Now how did that happen? It’s because Apple basically said, “OK we’re going to build some facilities to store a set of API so that outside developers could build apps.” So what’s the equivalent for government?

One example of this is something we worked on with one of the startups with my venture partners involved in it. So it’s basically an app for helping people reserve campgrounds. And it turns out the United States park service runs recreation.gov. The vendor who has that contract gets this 10 year contract.

They got a I think D-minus rating from the Better Business Bureau. They’re locked in and we basically work very hard to get a requirement into the renewal RFP that they actually had to offer an API so that there could be third party offerings. You don’t have to go to United to get an airline you can go to Travelocity or Kayak. Could we start to build a third party platform for access to various kinds of government services. Same kind of thing.

And we’ve actually been doing this a related thing in Code for America. It’s actually not with the support of an internal program and we we basically building an alternate interface for people to apply for SNAP benefits and the reason we’ve done that.

Code for America was originally just a fellowship program we’d get these start up teams and cities were apply to bring them in to work on a particular problem. In 2013 the team came into work with city and county of San Francisco around the low participation rate in SNAP. California’s the second most in the country despite having lots of people who need it. The particular problem that San Francisco presented initially was that people would sign up for the program and in some way and then they would fall off the rolls inexplicably. And then they would immediately reapply.Snap is Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program.

And so yeah go to work and tell us about the of research and they found that you know a couple of months in there was this letter that was going out that nobody knew what to do, how to respond to it.

And they showed it to the staff and they were like now what does this mean, they didn’t know what to do with it. So they had a problem in their pipeline. So we built an alternate application process that allowed us to do what any Silicon Valley company does which is to follow it’s users and learn about them. We found all kinds of problems, letters were going out late for the dates of peoples appointments so they would miss the point and go back to square one. They would get letters in the language. We had one fellow who got his letter in chinese crazy crazy stuff and feed them back into the system so they can fix it. And I think that is a lot of work to be done to make the government programs work better. One of the ways we can take a lot of the process learnings from Silicon Valley. It’s not just tech, it’s how you do tech. Same thing at the federal level. One of the situations, the CTO of the V.A. was part of this U.S. Digital Services initiative was incredibly frustrated because they were saying they were getting the sense that veterans were not able to get it through the process and that wasn’t simply action many young people in the wild were able to show oh yes your acceptance tests said that the software works. But it only works for a particular combination of the Microsoft Internet Explorer and Adobe Reader. These homeless veterans are in libraries working on old computers and that combination of software is not available to them. Look here’s the video proof.

They’re not unqualified they just can’t get through the process so that use of research and feedback into the system is another thing that you can bring form Silicon Valley back into the government.

PETER HIRSHBERG: Can I bring up a domain where this reinvention might be really important. This is the whole area of retraining and workforce development. You point out the fact that people say workforce development feels like a lie. Because it’s not necessarily connected to jobs or there’s a very bad feedback loop in terms of what to do or it takes a long time. This is an area that is has to be right because we know so many of the jobs in the future are going to be more tech-oriented. So I’m interested in your experience with what works and your thoughts on what doesn’t work and how to disrupt things and what that might suggest for a more hopeful answer to that?

TIM RYAN: I’m convinced now after hearing a lot of examples coming out of tech. When Ro Khana actually went to eastern Kentucky. An acquaintance from Louisville went to eastern Kentucky to start some coding business.

So when he got a thousand people to apply for 50 jobs and did testing to knock out people couldn’t do it. So he had 50 people they show up on day one with a folder, they open the folder up there’s a check for five hundred bucks. They got 500 bucks a week for three months as an apprentice style to learn the coding that they had to learn. They maintained 35 or 37 of the 50 and now they’re making 40 or 50 thousand dollars a year. So I think the psychology of saying there’s a job right there are 50 jobs. I passed this test. I’m in line. All I got to do is do the training. So now you’re motivated.

PETER HIRSHBERG: This is the code academy model.

TIM RYAN: Yeah.

PETER HIRSHBERG: I looked at the film of that and it was amazing and there were these people in Appalachia and they’re like we’re from Kentucky. Generally no one brings us anything. And one of the guys said, “we thought it was a fraud we thought it was like some scam” because someone generally doesn’t show up with here’s a check and learn something and then they have such self confidence and delight when it worked out. One of the problems with that is that still took kind of a grant from the Appalachian Regional Commission and a grant from the federal government and I forget the money you $30000 a person you know the average Academy is maybe 17. So it strikes me as it’s not there yet but it suggests something that works so I mean one of the interesting questions.

TIM RYAN: If I can just add real quick a lot of Democrats say “oh yeah, you’re taking public money you’re going to give it to this corporation. that’s great. Another corporate subsidy.” and I’m thinking to myself No. This is going to result in a job and if it’s 300000 bucks for you know 50 jobs that are going to get paid 50 thousand a year in the most distressed part of the country and the intangibles of that.

Now these old coal miners are going wait a minute, Larry learned how to computer code? We were just making fun of them the other day and now he’s making 50 grand, where do I sign up? And to not factor into me as Democrats just were so sometimes obtuse about wanting to change because we’re going to have that old argument that we’ve been having for 30 years. Take a look. The economy has changed it’s about using these dollars as force multipliers to stimulate. And then guess what. In two years don’t have to do anything these companies are going to be flooding in here with venture capital money and everything else and they’re going to be able to take it.

TIM O’REILLY: One thing that I think is really worth adding to that is companies obviously you know they’re hire for. And the question is can you actually get to use tax policy where you give a tax credit that would offset the cost of the training to actually be offered and funded by company itself, specifically for the jobs that they have to offer.

You have to see it all the way through. Right now we spend money on training that doesn’t work. And there’s an incentive to people to game the system to sell training that doesn’t work and many of the training that do work can’t be bothered to qualify for government funding… You look at a place like General Assembly and I asked Jake Schwartz the CEO I said you taking any federal money? He said “No, we’re just trying to get people into the jobs.” I think simplifying the way that some of this gets paid for, reimbursed, and supported is is worth taking look at.[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][vc_column column_padding=”no-extra-padding” column_padding_position=”all” background_color_opacity=”1" background_hover_color_opacity=”1" width=”1/1" tablet_text_alignment=”default” phone_text_alignment=”default”]

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Welcome

[/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row type=”in_container” full_screen_row_position=”middle” scene_position=”center” text_color=”dark” text_align=”left” overlay_strength=”0.3"][vc_column column_padding=”no-extra-padding” column_padding_position=”all” background_color_opacity=”1" background_hover_color_opacity=”1" width=”1/1" tablet_text_alignment=”default” phone_text_alignment=”default”][vc_column_text][mpc_callout content_width=”100"][/mpc_callout][/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row type=”in_container” full_screen_row_position=”middle” scene_position=”center” text_color=”dark” text_align=”left” overlay_strength=”0.3"][vc_column column_padding=”no-extra-padding” column_padding_position=”all” background_color_opacity=”1" background_hover_color_opacity=”1" width=”1/1" tablet_text_alignment=”default” phone_text_alignment=”default”][vc_column_text]In May, 2017 Ohio congressman Tim Ryan visited San Francisco to continue a dialogue we began in Youngstown on connecting the middle of the country to Silicon Valley for growth.

Tim joined Maker City co-founder Peter Hirshberg in conversation with Tim O’Reilly, founder of O’Rielly media and author of the forthcoming book, WTF:What’s the Futurewhich examines how companies, policies and incentives must change at a time of rapid technological and economic change.[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row type=”in_container” full_screen_row_position=”middle” scene_position=”center” text_color=”dark” text_align=”left” overlay_strength=”0.3"][vc_column column_padding=”no-extra-padding” column_padding_position=”all” background_color_opacity=”1" background_hover_color_opacity=”1" width=”1/1" tablet_text_alignment=”default” phone_text_alignment=”default”][vc_text_separator title=”Welcome and Backdrop to the Meeting”][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row type=”in_container” full_screen_row_position=”middle” scene_position=”center” text_color=”dark” text_align=”left” overlay_strength=”0.3"][vc_column column_padding=”no-extra-padding” column_padding_position=”all” background_color_opacity=”1" background_hover_color_opacity=”1" width=”1/1" tablet_text_alignment=”default” phone_text_alignment=”default”][vc_column_text]PETER HIRSHBERG:
Well first thank you everybody for coming. This is an extraordinary group. And I think we’re all united by this core conversation going on which is of American renewal, how one creates jobs and how one approaches cautiously moving forward with the economy.Congressman Tim Ryan and I met a few weeks ago after Patrick McKenna who after the election, like many of us, became upset and was like “What are the things that we can do?” And if one looked at the data you kind of realized that there were two Americas. 85 percent of venture capital goes to three states. You have cities that are growing, that are productive and this America that hasn’t been as productive and the America that hasn’t been as productive broke one way politically and productive America broke another way. And it’s not just a cultural thing it really has to do with how does one diffuse job growth and the economy. And so after the election, Patrick and Tim who knew each other, Tim invited a bunch of us out to Youngstown. Patrick’s thesis was that there’s probably an opportunity to invest all over the nation but were not as connected up. We all went to Youngstown and come out here and this has been a couple of days of meeting with companies and building out connections.

One of the key things that’s going to come of all of this is it turns out places like Ireland do a better job of economic development and bringing people over there than even U.S. cities do. You guys are now working on having the upper Midwest of Ohio creating an office out here that can connect, recruit, build and pull talent together.[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row]

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Marcia Kadanoff

Marcia Kadanoff

Change agent, digital marketer, best-selling author, social enterprise and nonprofit leader; moved from San Francisco to Portland, Oregon. Person with diabetes.