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Sunday, June 19, 2011

Learning from Pontiac - App hub

I was glad to read in the News about an app development hub coming to the area (http://detnews.com/article/20110618/BIZ04/106180321/1001/Firm-opens-shared-workspace-for-app-developers-in-Pontiac). It seems like demand for apps is only increasing, and that work can happen anywhere, so why not here? The MEDC even calculates mobile-app jobs have a 3.9x multiplier in job creation.
Since observing the rise of billion-dollar Web 2.0 (or is it 3.0 now?) firms like GroupOn out of nothing from outside of Silicon Valley, I've felt we should nurture similar start-ups here. Pontiac is doing it, offering a workspace to incubate mobile technology developers...Detroit should follow suit. We have local talent that currently goes out West to work for such developers, but if we have the facilities here, given the low cost of living, perhaps some of them will catch the entrepreneurial bug and start some innovative ventures.

Monday, June 6, 2011

Drive around and locked doors

I was driving around Detroit last week, showing a visiting scholar some of the highs and lows (on a side note, he is interested in re-locating here from California to help catalyze some grassroots progress in our City). He was particularly interested in visiting with the community of the slain Imam Luqman to see how they are doing. I had never been to that particular mosque, Masjid al-Haqq, or that part of town, so it was a very new experience for me. The community was forced out of its previous building over some administrative issues, and had moved into a house in the neighborhood. The entire experience was interesting, but there is one observation I wanted to share...Imam Luqman's son noted that Masjid al-Haqq was never locked, that it was open 24 hours all year round. This, in ostensibly the most dangerous city in America (though this neighborhood actually felt quite safe). In comparison, mosques in the "safer" suburbs are often locked and certainly close for the night. This dynamic says quite a bit about how differently the suburbs and City communities think about issues like safety and houses of worship.