Quantcast

Is Duluth “anti-growth”?

On his DNT blog, Buzz Duluth, Brandon Stahl interviewed St. Scholastica Econ Professor Tony Barrett about the city council’s frequent talk regarding “expanding the tax base,” and what that actually means. In the post, Barrett explains that the only direct way that the council can expand the tax base is to attract new business “through subsidies or TIFs,” or through zoning changes, or “to eliminate steps” involved with business development.

Barrett then goes on to explain that Duluthians are often resistant to this kind of growth.

“Every community has certain groups that oppose growth; environmentalists who don’t want to see trees cut down, or less green space… people who fear that growth is going to require higher taxes,” he said. “Duluth has a strong element of people who just don’t want Duluth to change. They like it the way it is. That’s why they didn’t move away to the Twin Cities, maybe get a better job. Duluth, of all the communities I’ve lived in, has the strongest anti-growth sentiment. And I think it’s really our culture of people liking Duluth just the way it is.”

The comments, of course, blame the DFL and “environmentalists.” But in light of the recent Honking House fiasco, the Lakewalk townhomes, and the debate over the reorganization of Duluth’s schools, it seems that the conflict in opinions is far more complex than some would like to admit.

So what do you think?

51 Comments

Todd Gremmels

about 7 years ago

If we want Duluth to be antigrowth then I would suggest continuing to pump raw sewage into the bay and continue to pump money into downtown condos. Peace

frank nichols

about 7 years ago

The success of Iowa, who brought five major wind manufactureing plant to their state, four or five years ago was because of public financing of some sort. Perhaps you could enlighten me on how TIF districts work. Perhaps It's not about anti-growth but, what kind of growth.Is it necessarily true that you have to grow to be prosperous I think there is a huge amount of pent up desire in people to do something that would help our country and theirselves and family out of the mess we're in. Most people today try to do something green. We all would like to eat good food and breathe clean air and drink clean water because most of would like to hang out for as long as we can for a variety of reasons. What we do to achieve that goal will dictate the outcome and also if anybody comes along for the ride.

Flex

about 7 years ago

I think Duluth is very anti-growth. I think Mr. Barrett got it perfectly when he said people just don't want to change. I think that attitude is much more common than the environmental or higher taxes viewpoints. I don't think Duluth's solution lies is condos or zoning new areas, but more in working with what we have. Personally, I think we need to use one of our biggest assets, the numerous colleges in the area, and keep those students who graduate in the area, or the students wo are going there living in the area so we can tax them. I have noticed that people seem to like the colleges, but dislike the students so to speak. Now, this is just what I seem to have noticed so take it with a grain of salt. The general populance seems to like having all these higher education facilities in the area, but do not want to take the nessesary steps to get students into the area so we can generate the income from them. I guess that is my opinion on the anti-growth sentiment. Any other opinions?

Karasu

about 7 years ago

I wonder what kinds of growth things he sees as possibilities that would require deforestation and removal of greenspace in town. We have plenty of superfund sites they can take care of. As for the rest (and aside from the cruddy job situation), why is it bad to want to keep Duluth the way it is? If it does change, where can I move to re-find this?

Tomasz

about 7 years ago

I think Tony is dead-on with his assessment of sentiments in Duluth. Tony was one of my profs at CSS and I can tell you that he's a very smart man and one who does not make statements like that lightly. A lot of thought went into that opinion.

The Big E

about 7 years ago

Absent any compelling evidence of its existence, I'm inclined to suspect that the "Duluth is anti-growth" refrain is primarily a mantra repeated by developers and their allies in an effort to shape the public discourse--they've said it enough that people now assume it's true. I'm curious as to how much of the energy behind this dates back to the 1930s capture of city government by the local left. That had to be rather upsetting for the powers-that-were.

Barrett Chase

about 7 years ago

I also know Tony Barrett and agree that he's a smart guy, and a nice guy for that matter. But I wouldn't agree with his idea the root cause of anti-growth sentiments has to do with Duluthians being descended from people who didn't take risks. Moving away from Duluth is not a risk. Taking a middle-management job in the Cities and living in Maple Grove is not exactly wrestling lions in the Serengeti. It's actually the exact opposite of taking risks. It's the safest thing you can do with your life. I think that most Duluthians -- native or otherwise -- have chosen to live here in spite of the fragile local economy. They want to live here for reasons completely unrelated to their jobs, as opposed to in similar-sized, expanding communities like Rochester or Sioux Falls, where people choose to live primarily because of employment opportunities with little care for natural beauty, history, or culture. When people come in and want to "develop" Duluth, Duluthians are skeptical. We don't want to turn the city into a huge strip mall just to have more jobs in town. If that is what we wanted, we would have chosen to live elsewhere. There are plenty of cities like that in Minnesota.

mk

about 7 years ago

Karasu- I didn't interpret Mr. Barret's statements (in the whole article by Stahl) as suggesting using green spaces for development. It was merely an example of one kind of group and their possible oppositions. I really do believe that Duluth needs to move forward. I love this town for a lot of reasons. Changes are never easy. But as a 30-something that chooses to be self-employed so she can stay here, I don't know if I would be able to live here if my employment situation were different. I have been here 15 years and while there have been some great things that have changed in this city, there are some definite issues with what I feel is anti- business. Business brings jobs and keeps people from leaving via the Brain Drain. Sustainable and smart growth is what strengthens a community and makes it even more amazing to live here. I think we could have "growth" and still maintain the core elements that connect us to the community. As Flex said, we could do a lot with what we already have.

frank nichols

about 7 years ago

Karasu. I believe that it would possible to do development and still retain and even enhance our physical surrounding. Unfortunately if you do that they will come. Probably because they couldn't do it where they come from. We do have old man winter on our side. Your second paragraph has so much to it. I'm not gone to bs you I think one of the ways out of this is the green path.Jobs, unfortunity this present administration bailed out alot of other people before they started thinking about working people. The unions and I have a card, are getting help from the stimulus package but what about people that aren't. Flex, I am going to hear my daughter play and see some robot muscian at Pizza luce , go to my facebook and if you can figure how to post this site on wind power jobs I would greatly appreciate it and I will post something for you students to do .

dinkhole

about 7 years ago

Oh, I thought that's why we had Perfect Duluth Day and The DuSu The city is like the music scene here. Good Ol' Boys stay New People Out!

Sean

about 7 years ago

I think any honest discourse about whether Duluth is pro-growth or anti-growth has to start by admitting that the entire argument is something of a red herring. Duluth is a small to medium sized city in a state that is economically vibrant, in a nation that is economically vibrant. It has a thriving tourism sector and various other sectors that are doing great. But being pro-growth or anti-growth isn't what it's all about. It's about national, and even international flows of capital. Had the Panama Canal not been constructed, Duluth would be a far different city today. Same for the changes that happened internationally in the steel market in the 60s and 70s. The market does these things on its own - it has nothing to do with whether people trend pro or anti-growth. The government can try to seed the market by using TIF, having good zoning regulations, etc - but the government, no matter how hard it tries, cannot force the market. So what is it that people are so mad about? Is it lack of opportunity? I'd argue that it isn't, because the unemployment rate is low. This is tied closely to labor mobility - people aren't stuck in Duluth, they can go to Minneapolis and find a higher paying job with greater ease - but it also means that people are employed in Duluth. I think the bottom line is that government needs to focus more on what governments are for; that is, on making sure Duluth is a quality place to be, and that things are happening in a way that makes sense. The market would get that, and maybe put the city in a better position to shape growth - rather than react or try to reach for any sort of growth (or call it economic development, whatever) it can get.

Tim K

about 7 years ago

I think the claim that Duluthians are too risk-averse and don't want change is way too general. I was born and raised here, lots of relatives in local cemmetaries, got my edumacation in our heyday before the steel plant closed, etc. I love change. Just not change for its own sake. Canal Park was an industrial waste land when I was a kid. Now it's a thriving retail and lodging center. Most of that was done with private money and some zoning adjustments. Now, it ain't all perfect- that Hampton Inn thing still burns me up. But overall, it's an improvement. There's also geography to consider. The shape and topography of Duluth has some development limitations. Only a really rich bastard could drill through all that bedrock to put in a well for their McMansion/Skyline Destroyer and I'm sure no one thought anybody would be rich enough AND stupid enough to do it. But now it's done and we have to think of better ways to address these issues. We could certainly do with more light manufacturing- and I agree with Frank, green manufacturing would be awesome. As for the local colleges, I know why those kids leave. They came here for the easy degree and to drink- a lot. They didn't come to hang around and there are damn too few jobs to keep 'em here. UMD needs to stop cranking out the graphic designers with no hope of landing a job that will come anywhere near covering their student loans. And the leadership at our local institutions seems to be the ones who like things the way they are. I love all the transplants who've come here and started small businesses and contributed to our growing culture. I also like the native die-hards who have slogged it out through the economic roller coaster that is capitalism in the US. It isn't all so black and white to me, but the whiners just seem to get more column inches than the actual do-ers.

frank nichols

about 7 years ago

I think we can rip it up

Dave Sorensen

about 7 years ago

Growth for the sake of growth is the ideology of a cancer cell. Unlimited growth with limited resources is also what we're bumping into on a global scale with climate change, peak oil, etc. Like others here have pointed out, growth vs anti-growth and change vs no change are false dichotomies. Developers want it all and anyone who questions that will be labeled with insulting names. It seems conservatives only want to conserve the financial status quo, not the land or our quality of life. The low-wage corporate franchise hell that is Central Entrance is their blueprint for growth. Yuck!

O.G.Duluthian

about 7 years ago

I am all for any new business that addresses ways to preserve our planet and not trash our environment. But could someone explain why everybody automatically assumes that the "green jobs" that we all want to come to our community will be higher paying positions? Most of these new green job companies will be start up companies who will have limited funds and most likely offer lower wages/benefits until their product/service is viable and up and running for several years.. These new companies will not be able to afford the union wages that will most likely be expected if they want to do business in Duluth. I would like to point out that I am a card carrying union electrician, and have been for the past 32 years, so I am well versed on this issue.

@ndy

about 7 years ago

Sean, the unemployment rate is low? Duluth is sitting at 8.8% unemployment while St. Cloud is at 7.3%, Rochester is at 6.1%, the Twin Cities metro area is at 7.7%, Mankato is at 6.7%, La Crosse is at 6.5%, Fargo/Moorhead is at 4.1% and Grand Forks/East Grand Forks is at 5%. There has to be a reason why Duluth has the highest unemployment rate among eight regional metropolitan areas aside from the weather. When you consider our strategic location in terms of transportation as well as our educational resources, there is no apparent reason why we should lag behind all other metropolitan areas of a similar size in this region. I don't mind Mr. Barrett saying we are anti-growth, if in saying that he means that we don't want to become St. Cloud, Fargo/Moorhead, the Twin Cities, etc. The number of people who move here (as well as the people who stay here despite other opportunities) is a testament to the value folks place on Duluth, and if that means that we resist growth for growth's sake, so be it. I'm not convinced that we have to sacrifice our financial interests for the quality of live we enjoy here in the northland but clearly a lot of communities have sacrificed their quality of life for financial opportunism and I'm glad Duluth hasn't followed the same path.

Chester Dark

about 7 years ago

Just a note about UMD students (I work there)... Students are here because they like the smaller class sizes and more personal attention from faculty than at larger schools. UMD churns out more engineers and scientists than graphic designers. There is some truly fascinating research being done here in science and engineering that involves our local situation (mining, lakes, geology, etc). If the community could absorb jobs for even 10% of the graduates, it would be a huge boon.

Jesse

about 7 years ago

Doesn't it seem a red herring, the entire "expand the tax base" thing? Every community talks about that, from small to humongous cities; you'd think, somewhere, a community would finally have expanded it's tax base, and be happy, right? Problem is, when you expand your tax base, you also expand the cost of services; rather a zero-sum game, and some types of development (lower-density residential in particular) actually costs more in services than a community typically gets back in tax revenue. So, this "expand the tax base" meme is useless, unless you look on the other side of the balance sheet. I appreciate that the city and it's leaders are really working on infill development around the community. This "tax base expansion" comes with little increase in cost of services, because the services are already there, for the most part. I'm also leery of TIF, because you're giving someone a tax break, in exchange for some unknown, but promised, increase in "tax base," without factoring in the extra costs.

Chester Dark

about 7 years ago

Jesse - excellent points about infill. So much potential for that in this town. And the concept of development being industry, strip malls and such is very outdated in a (god, I hate this term) 'cyber' world/

adam

about 7 years ago

I think once we get Duluth skateboarders to GTFO, everything will be right as rain.

pH

about 7 years ago

I mostly agree with Mr. Barrett. Mobile populations are self-selecting (think suburban flight), acting upon a balance of perceived risks and rewards. Duluth has distilled a population that is averse to changes in physical environment; and one that also values social connections above economic opportunity. This isn't necessarily bad, actually nice in many ways, but it definitely works against progress and new pursuits. I suppose after a few wrenching boom-bust cycles, it's not surprising those who stayed behind aren't in a gambling mood. We do have to work on the timing: the business community hesitates to jump on board until a trend is peaking (condos, dot-com incubators, ect). Higher ed and health care might also be peaking: ever more reason to look ahead. The lack of change here is ironically an invigorating radical change to Sprawlville ex-pats. At least the staunchly-defended status quo has the appearance of progressivism.

huitz

about 7 years ago

Having lived elsewhere, I can honestly say (without feeling bad) that most of the Duluth community is out of modern times; a little bit of puritan blood still boiling in their veins. Kids here don't go to secondary school for a cheep degree. They go to UMD and Scholastica and DBU because they pretty much can't go anywhere else (yes, that is an insult, but with sugar). There are exceptions of course. Higher ed in Duluth? If we had half a brain, we'd know that it is pretty much a joke right now. With my apologies to the hard working profs at the local institutions, I'll ask just this... How many published theses have we seen from you? Duluth can't turn students into local professionals because, very simply, the simple things are not shining in their eyes at that age. Let me give you a small example, my buddy's step dad worked for LHB and had no idea -- as an engineer -- what "head" in a line meant. I didn't say anything, but internally shook my head in disgust.

@ndy

about 7 years ago

huitz, what does "head" in a line mean (do you mean front of the line or is it some sort of technical term)? Why in the heck does it matter whether local professors have produced published theses considering none of them work at a research university? also, I think you are completely wrong as to why students go to UMD, Scholastica and DBU. First, it is a lot cheaper to stay in Duluth for school than it is to leave and that is a consideration for a lot of students I know (myself included). Second, if you can get into UMD or Scholastica you can get into a lot of other schools throughout the region. Third, a majority of the students at UMD and Scholastica aren't from Duluth, so why do they come here? Because they couldn't go anywhere else?

Calk

about 7 years ago

Huitz, I went for grad school to one of the finest public research universities in the country -- UNC Chapel Hill. I studied under some world-renowned professors who'd published their dissertations and lots of other books besides. But some of them couldn't teach their way out of a paper bag. Just because a professor hasn't published, doesn't mean squat. I know a lot of the faculty at all the universities around here, and they are some amazing people who are aces in the classroom. I don't think you know what you are talking about when you disparage faculty at the local universities.

huitz

about 7 years ago

Surely a few comments I made would make some more blood boil. So I'll preface this with the opinion that the high ed in this region is sub-standard, but we seem to churn out smart people anyways. @ @ndy, Yes, technical. Pressure differential. @ Calk, I agree with you. I was simply making a point that good ed, if it exists in the northland, seems to be lacking. I've had bad professors elsewhere, but I've also had great ones. I'm sure it's the same all over. When I meet, however, somebody educated from Duluth, all I see are glassy eyes with what they think is mental brawn. I don't want to be mean, but seriously, the culture that we so boldly cling to is an Achilles heal in the long run. Do we want it that way? Hey, I'm up for it. But, let's see it for what it is, and not pretend it's something profound. With all that said, I still think people from this general region have character (i.e. the real deal). And that is probably more important than anything else.

Barrett Chase

about 7 years ago

I'm not going to say it. I'm just going to think it.

Chester Dark

about 7 years ago

huitz - wow...have you been at UMD in the last 10 years? Come on up and get an idea of the talent here - students and faculty. I worked at the Twin Cities campus for 8 years before coming here and see much more focus and talent here.

Calk

about 7 years ago

Huitz, maybe if you got out of the dive bars, and met people elsewhere who are sober instead of drunk off their asses -- at readings, art shows, plays, lectures, concerts, for instance. . . you'd realize there are some absolutely brilliant people who live here. While not all of them have been educated here, I can think off the top of my head many who came here for college, stayed, and do incredible things. And I truly believe these are people who would succeed wherever they lived. I've lived in a lot of places, and I've never encountered elsewhere the inferiority complex about his/her town Huitz displays. While they say no one is a hero in his or her hometown, I think it's sometimes particularly true in Duluth. And it's sad. Because if you believe something like that, it becomes your reality.

Paul Lundgren

about 7 years ago

Calk, you are right on, except for your assertion that people at readings, art shows, plays, lectures and concerts are "sober."

chadp

about 7 years ago

I am an instructor in the College of Science and Engineering at UMD and can't begin to describe what a mischaracterization the statement that nobody publishes. I can't keep track of all the publications in my own department (Math/Stat) let alone across the sciences. Throw in the Natural Resources Research Institute, Large Lakes Observatory and the new Transportation Research Programs and you can get the picture. The Chemical Engineering Department is ranked 4th nationwide (2nd for public institutions) and has an amazing record of quality undergraduate research projects.

Calk

about 7 years ago

Paul, good point, I've gotten pleasantly inebriated at many art openings and readings around town. But never to the point where my eyes get all "glassy" like these people Huitz refers to.

adam

about 7 years ago

There needs to be a distinction between the younger undergrad chair sniffers who are in school (13th grade) here to par-tay and get a McEducationâ„¢ (read: a chunk of my high school graduating class who came up from the suburbs for just that), versus NRRI, Transportation, Engineering and similar work.

huitz

about 7 years ago

Chester, yes, I've been there. The ME department is laughable. Calk, get a grip. The people here are great, some of them bright, even. But, the secondary education is mediocre at best. In my off-time, as another example, I was excited about taking some online DIY courses, requiring me to purchase/lend some really cool textbooks. The libraries are empty I tell you. The bookstore as well. I'll do my shopping in Madison thank you very much. (I do like the setup of the main library, though). But, like I said, I'm not totally pissed. I'm probably spoiled after living in Boulder for so long. (I know, I know, "go back there then"). Thing is, I love Duluth. So my angst is here to stay.

Resolutionary

about 7 years ago

Is Duluth Anti-Growth? I have enjoyed other's thought-provoking responses to that great question. I'd like to weigh in, but please allow me to apologize for length. On the stretch of I-35 from Hinckley to Minneapolis the freeway exits all have some mix of corporate stores and franchises. Hinckley has a Burger King, Taco Bell, Hardees, and Subway. By the time you get to Forest Lake there's hundreds of franchises and corporate stores. In addition to the fast food regulars, you have rarer fast food, chain restaurants, and Big Box stores. All of the other towns have some pared down mix of the offerings found in Forest Lake. If soulless Forest Lake is an example of pro-growth development, then I'm not interested in that type of success. One thing that bothers me about this type of central entrance-style development is its generic version of place. A strip mall is a strip mall is a strip mall. When I travel, as some of you who have traveled with me know, I make a concerted effort to frequent locally owned businesses rather than corporate or franchise locations. This has enhanced my traveling experiences by forcing me out of the freeway-exit-developments and into the real towns, off the freeways and onto the highways, out of the generic and to the real places that gives a town or city its character. Duluth has managed to keep its unique identity intact more than most places. I suspect this can be attributed to: 1) Duluth citizens: who are protective and proud of their unique city, 2) Duluth's tourist economy: people come to Duluth because our city and our history is different from their own town and other places they've been, 3) Duluth's geography: as Duluth is defined just as much by what it hasn't developed as it has. I'd point to the wild western hillside, numerous creeks, and the shores of Lake Superior. And the natural shape of our city we have developed, with the steep avenues and steaming sewers, 4) Duluth's history: Duluth's early designers, living in a wealthy up-and-coming place more than a century ago, built a grand, one-of a-kind, and historic city that begs to be considered as we redevelop. There's little doubt Duluth has benefited by containing the most egregious development up on top of the hill which has granted some rare reprieve to the more majestic and historic parts of our city. If developer's (who are trying to bring more cookie-cutter McMansions and condos, new chain restaurants, and ever bigger big box stores with their parking lots feeding Miller Creek) run into citizen resistance and call Duluth anti-development, that is a low price to pay to maintain the uniqueness of our city . These pop-up businesses don't pay well, they generally only have a superficial interest in the community, the money spent at them doesn't stay here, and they mitigate our advantage of being a place that is one of a kind. People don't travel here, move here, or stay living here because of Miller Hill Mall or the many surrounding strip malls, they don't move here because we have an Applebees. No, the draw is Lake Superior, our parks, the one-of-a-kind buildings downtown, and the mansions of Congden and the history they tell. So redevelop Clyde Iron, give the LaFarge cement terminal a new life for a new century. A developer could build a condo tower in tried and true design that would work anywhere in the world and add little value. Or they could build one in the hundred year old ruins of a burnt down flour mill, and then include a museum so we can learn why Minnesotans built there camp at the St. Anthony Falls so long ago. This is the type of development that will sustain us and build prosperity. Perhaps we could be known to support development that seeks to enhance our sense of place and oppose those projects that erodes it.

huitz

about 7 years ago

Calk, "glassy" means ignorant, not inebriated. Show me a UMD engineer that knows what he or she is talking about, and I will recant everything I've said.

Calk

about 7 years ago

Huitz, you and I definitely move in different circles. I know all the artists, writers, and actors in town, I can't think of a single engineer I've met here. So you may be right, but then so might I.

Chester Dark

about 7 years ago

Calk, I can guarantee you're right! Interesting solar energy thin-film research going on the "joke" UMD ME department, amongst many other cool things. But then, we're not Boulder....

Jason

about 7 years ago

My 2 cents. I started a small company with a friend in January of this year. We're getting close to enough revenue to cover both of our salaries, and so we, and the company, are moving to Austin, TX. There's zero incentive to run a tech company here, but it would be an easy sell if the city wanted to. Look at some great places to run a tech company -- Austin, Portland, Boulder. All very Duluth-ey if you ask me.

Resolutionary

about 7 years ago

Jason, what advantages does Austin have over Duluth for running a tech company?

Jason

about 7 years ago

Well, the reasoning is rather circular, but it has a lot to do with the fact that Austin is a great place to start a tech company :-). When it gets out that your town is good for some tech industry that is experiencing heavy growth, professionals and investors in that industry congregate there looking for opportunities. In our case, we use a development platform called Ruby on Rails, and Austin has a nice convergence of low cost of living and a hefty supply of RoR developers. Unfortunately, Duluth just doesn't have a big market for RoR, and as such that provides a pretty small hiring pool for us. Usually the only places that can really achieve this are places that have a very high per capita culture. Anyone who has lived in Duluth long enough knows that this place has an extraordinary amount of culture. Furthermore, every year we graduate quite a few ambitious, young software developers from UMD every year. I've said for several years that Duluth is ripe to be the next Boulder, if we could just get organized enough to build the right brand for this city.

huitz

about 7 years ago

Boulder is ripe with all the weirdness that accompanies people jumping in from pretty much anywhere, making a figurative alchemy of people into gold. A few problems bother me, and, believe it or not, one of them is the weather. As much as most people hate cold and darkness, when you spend time in constant sunny weather with intermittent thunderstorms and immediate snowstorms in their wake, you start to prefer the four seasons. I'm not much on econ, but one thing I noticed with Boulder is that small biz was volatile, whereas local shops/restaurants "dug in" were terribly stable. The engineering base was great simply because you have NOAA, NIST, and NASA setting up there -- or at least, close by -- most of them in cahoots with CU. Nice competition with the school of mines going on too. Off topic. Though RoR is great and has a huge recent agilent dev following, I don't think that's the future of Ruby as a tool in web dev, with all due respect. But, that's simply a matter of opinion.

Jason

about 7 years ago

"A few problems bother me, and, believe it or not, one of them is the weather." I actually think Duluth could be a "beter" Boulder. But that's just me. I know swathes of geeks who would love the winter sports in the area. "I don't think that's the future of Ruby as a tool in web dev, with all due respect." Really? You're entitled to your opinion, of course, but Ruby is a beautiful language. It was the language that made lambda-calculus practical for me. You can't match Rails or Merb for development speed and agility (except perhaps with Python and Django), RSpec is a dream for test coverage... If you've never done a project in Rails, it's worth it.

huitz

about 7 years ago

Jason, I agree it is a stable development platform (speaking of Rails), but it depends on the application. It seems a bit bloated, especially with ActiveRecord. The DSL is awesome, but also allows your hiring pool to do things that are really stupid. RSpec is really good, though. Uh oh, I think we may have hijacked this thread.

huitz

about 7 years ago

I forgot to preface that with Ruby is my favorite language.

Jason

about 7 years ago

One more hijack and then I'll quit -- We're actually on Merb, it's lighter and faster than Rails but built with the same rigor and high test coverage. Almost no one's ever heard of it, and Rails developers usually make good Merb developers so I usually just say, "RoR developer" in conversation. And, if you hate ActiveRecord, DataMapper will rock your world :-). Jason

zra

about 7 years ago

If you move to The Next Biggest City because it's supposedly a great place to run a tech biz, then you're in competition with everyone else who's moved there to do the same thing. Why leave an area when you have already established yourself as being one of a handful and started making money to throw yourself into a situation where you're just another face in the crowd?

Jason

about 7 years ago

Zra, It depends on what market you're going after. We're a software development company, so our potential client base is all over the country (maybe even the world, someday). So our company is directly competing against every other company in our space regardless of whether we're physically located in the same place. In that case, the best thing we can do is put the company in a place where we can get the best developers because having good developers gives you a competitive advantage. When we started this company, the idea of staying in Duluth never entered the picture. I love this place and have lived here all my life, but one of the first conversations we had was, "Well, we're going to have to leave Duluth." Although we could find developers to do what we need, Duluth is not an employer's market for the type of developers we're looking for. Austin is. My original point is, I think Duluth COULD be such a place. It comes naturally with every bit of culture that attracts developers to places like Austin. One could come-up with a lot theories as to why we haven't pursued that goal (I tend to agree with the assessment that Duluthians are anti-growth, but I'm no expert); I'm just bringing up a concrete example of a practical side-effect of our stagnancy. Jason

adam

about 7 years ago

I thought Duluth was the "Digital Harbor" or "Internet Port" or "Electronic Gateway" or — jesus those Technology Village cheerleaders were so boundlessly fucking stupid. Or maybe it was the citizenry? I think it's less anti-growth, and maybe more that people in this town need to stop acting like rubes: Aquarium, really? "Technology Village," really? Close schools and plan for a future that won't happen, really? Spirit Mountain slide?? Boondoggle. Boondoggle. Boondoggle. I know where to sell snake oil in this state. So what does Duluth have? Poop lake and a penchant for buying into outdated, useless gimmicks that in one way or another are supposed to "save" us. Instead of, say, STFU and get to work.

zra

about 7 years ago

monorail! monorail! monorail!

zra

about 7 years ago

gee, adam...when you put it *that* way, Duluth is poised to be the Dells of the north. all's we needs is us some of them Tommy Bartlett shows.

Barrett Chase

about 7 years ago

Whoa whoa whoa. Slow down. You mean we aren't getting Skyweb Express?

Leave a Comment

Only registered members can post a comment , Login / Register Here

Read previous post:
Peace Cabaret

Peace Cabaret Mississippi Civil Rights Project Fundraiser: Music and Performance

Close