Sharks Along the Mohawk

“Convince my why this isn’t the worst idea I’ve ever seen.” – Robert Herjavec

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I just recently started watching Shark Tank and think that  it should be required viewing for anyone involved in making policy on economic development or in discussing it.

Sure, there’s an element of un-reality to reality TV on Shark Tank but the common theme to economic success is quite real: you need to have a strategy and you need to have a fundamental grasp of business to execute and focus around that strategy.

What you do not find in starting a business or salvaging a business is the focus on the wrong things. You need to focus on the right things.

Turning to our local economics, it should be more than clear that we are not focused on the right things. Not even close.

It’s discouraging to see a strategy that does nothing to bring success to the city and even worse, merely hastens the likelihood of failure of the city.

If you read this excellent opinion piece by Tim Becker , you will see how just how wrongheaded and misguided the focus is on getting the city on track. Now, it’s easy to merely blame the political class — not to say they do not a large share of the blame — but it’s also necessary to look at the private sector and the general public’s share of the blame too.

Let’s face it: many people are simply wrong about how to solve the city’s problems. It makes no business or economic sense to focus on cutting costs as the solution. It has not worked, it is not working and it will never work to revive the city. If you read the comments to Tim Becker’s piece, you realize how much energy and effort are going into expenses that are inconsequential to the viability and success of the city. They are not merely distractions; they are a disastrous waste of resources and energy.

Unfortunately, this disastrous waste of resources and energy is championed by a number of people here and politicians merely reflect what this faction demands. Indeed, the push is for more of this , not less. Incredibly this somehow gets cast as “running things like a business”. I can assure you no successful business runs this way. Ever.

It’s unfortunate that there is not a public sector Shark Tank where these folks would have to pitch and defend their strategies in front of the sharks. I do not think they would last too long.

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