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Columbus tops list of growing tech cities

Walker Evans Walker Evans
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indusbusinessjournal.com wrote Chasing Technology

Posted On: 12/8/2008
BY CHRIS NELSON

While no two municipalities are identical, many of America’s top tech cities and regions – San Jose/Silicon Valley, Seattle, Boston, Raleigh-Durham, N.C., Los Angeles, New York City – share a number common characteristics, such as effective leadership, money, a strong higher-education presence and good planning, to name a few. The answer to the second question is less clear. But Philip Auerswald, a professor of public policy at George Mason University, decided to give it a shot.

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21 Responses to Columbus tops list of growing tech cities

  1. columbus December 9, 2008 10:39 pm at 10:39 pm

    Midwesterners are known for their humility, and this is particularly true with Columbus; the people there were very warm and friendly. It was rather disarming. But it can also prove detrimental to a city that wants to promote itself as an up-and-coming technology hub. Some of the officials that I spoke to at TechColumbus suspect this is the reason why Columbus’ expanding tech sector is such a well-kept secret. As Isaac Asimov once said, “It pays to be obvious, especially if you have a reputation for subtlety.”

    ^^So true!

    Otherwise, this article made me extremely proud that I live in Columbus.

  2. columbusdreamer December 9, 2008 11:34 pm at 11:34 pm

    I need a I love columbus t shirt. but then again I need to be more original so someone brain storm with me on how i can express the love for columbus on an article of clothing. ( besides wearing Ohio state things) I have lots of that stuff.

  3. Walker Evans
    Walker December 9, 2008 11:37 pm at 11:37 pm

    columbusdreamer wrote someone brain storm with me on how i can express the love for columbus on an article of clothing.

    http://www.columbusunderground.com/phpBB2/viewtopic.php?t=16809

    ;)

    columbus wrote Otherwise, this article made me extremely proud that I live in Columbus.

    +1

    Was great to read through this writer’s very in-depth tour of our city from the techier side of things. :D

  4. Jason Powell
    jpizzow December 10, 2008 12:07 am at 12:07 am

    That……was……..awesome. This is just what we needed to get the word out and it was much better and more in depth than most articles written about Columbus. It seems he actually took the time to get to know the city.

    The biggest thing that stuck out about the article, which is something I agree with, is the fact that we don’t to enough to educate the nation about what we have going on in the city. I’m not saying the city doesn’t promote itself at all, but I think its time to step it up a notch or two. We have the momentum, let’s build on that. This paragraph should be eye opening:

    Midwesterners are known for their humility, and this is particularly true with Columbus; the people there were very warm and friendly. It was rather disarming. But it can also prove detrimental to a city that wants to promote itself as an up-and-coming technology hub. Some of the officials that I spoke to at TechColumbus suspect this is the reason why Columbus’ expanding tech sector is such a well-kept secret. As Isaac Asimov once said, “It pays to be obvious, especially if you have a reputation for subtlety.”

    This goes for everything beyond the tech sector. i’m talking festivals, corporate headquarters, neighborhoods, etc. After all of the promotional efforts for the city, unfortunately, most people outside of Ohio probably still think of Columbus as a small cowtown city with a good college football team.

  5. columbusdreamer December 10, 2008 7:35 am at 7:35 am

    Thank s walker . i actually read that article once before thanks for the refresher. :D

    I post every article that says anything good about columbus on my facebook page because i know not everyone sees or hears about it. So if everyone would do that the articles could get a lot more traction.

    but don’t tell them where you got it. its a ” secret underground lair” !

  6. MikeReed
    MikeReed December 10, 2008 8:07 am at 8:07 am

    I will say this. I was profoundly disappointed wrt/ TechColumbus and related to the Independents’ Day festival. I sent them a message via their contact form inviting them to participate in the Idea Pavilion part of the event- essentially giving them carte blanche. I never heard back. I wasn’t requesting sponsorship, not was there any fee for any part of the idea pavilion- not to present nor be presented to. I just extended an invite to come and highlight tech/creativity in the region. It would have been really awesome.

    Some of the officials that I spoke to at TechColumbus suspect this is the reason why Columbus’ expanding tech sector is such a well-kept secret. As Isaac Asimov once said, “It pays to be obvious, especially if you have a reputation for subtlety.”

    or… maybe it is a secret because of missed opportunities due to no interest in start up art/creative/tec/idea things like ID?

    Their clients might raise an eyebrow to that considering that a large part of the spirit behind ID (and IAC) is the creative interpretation of economic development via creativity since they (clients) are probably clients due to an interest in economic growth.

    Who kows? I don’t know if that is because they didn’t receive my message, I missed the response somehow, or because they didn’t see value in the collaboration. Either way, I was pretty disappointed. I felt the synergy between tech/creative and potential for growth and regional exposure would been in line with TC’s goal – “works to support the growth of the region’s tech economy”

    The missed opportunity makes me feel that feeling I get when I think some locals here just “don’t get it” wrt/ art, geeks, creatives, and economic development. Austin get’s it.

    As I mentioned, though, it might have been a simple bug in a web form or some overly aggressive span filtering. One never knows… nonetheless, pretty disappointing.

  7. Andrew Hall
    Andrew Hall December 10, 2008 8:59 am at 8:59 am

    MikeReed wrote As I mentioned, though, it might have been a simple bug in a web form or some overly aggressive span filtering. One never knows… nonetheless, pretty disappointing.

    I ran across this problem way too many times when I was working on a project. I understand that spam is annoying, but the web form contact has got to go in about 99% of cases. Spam is annoying but if you are working with the public, it is a fact of life you need to accept in order to not impinge on legitimate access. I found that the web forms had an almost zero rate of response as opposed to email contacts.

    Good article. Gave me some thoughts.

    A.

  8. MikeReed
    MikeReed December 10, 2008 9:13 am at 9:13 am

    Andrew Hall wrote
    MikeReed wrote As I mentioned, though, it might have been a simple bug in a web form or some overly aggressive span filtering. One never knows… nonetheless, pretty disappointing.

    I ran across this problem way too many times when I was working on a project. I understand that spam is annoying, but the web form contact has got to go in about 99% of cases. Spam is annoying but if you are working with the public, it is a fact of life you need to accept in order to not impinge on legitimate access. I found that the web forms had an almost zero rate of response as opposed to email contacts.

    Good article. Gave me some thoughts.

    A.

    Lest anyone think these comments are intended to be very critical of TC. I’m just expressing disappointment at a missed opportunity more so than criticism. I gave it some thought after expressing this and there is no doubt I could have done more to make the contact.

    Large events are pretty demanding. One has little time to circle back around to every loose end- unfortunate, but true. I had a great conversation about this the other day- about just how much of the effort for a large event goes into logistics and event overhead. This is without exception energy that is drained away from the concept and execution of the event (and things like having time to double back and/or explore multiple avenues of contact and engagement with potential partners and collaborators).

    A point about usability. If web forms for contact have near zero efficacy- they should be removed from a web property. The user has an expectation when using a tool- if that expectation can’t be met… then the tool is not only spurious, but damaging. (This is a general comment, not a Tech Columbus comment).

    Leaving up tools that don’t “work” for the expressed or implied purpose, or worse… hinder the user would be like packaging a peripheral and cable w/ a laptop that it won’t/can’t connect to or putting a rearview mirror that doesn’t reflect in a car. Frustrating for the consumer.

  9. Walker Evans
    Walker December 10, 2008 10:09 am at 10:09 am

    I’m willing to bet that TechColumbus (and any other potential partners) will be more likely to want to participate in ID2. I guess that sort of goes against what a company like TechColumbus was meant for, but it seems to be the way things go with event planning.

  10. chrisgillespie
    chrisgillespie December 10, 2008 10:24 am at 10:24 am

    MikeReed wrote

    Leaving up tools that don’t “work” for the expressed or implied purpose, or worse… hinder the user would be like packaging a peripheral and cable w/ a laptop that it won’t/can’t connect to or putting a rearview mirror that doesn’t reflect in a car. Frustrating for the consumer.

    Only since this is a discussion about Columbus being tech savvy. The way a form “works” depends on what it does behind the scenes. Most commonly, it might send an email to someone and/or put your information into a database. If the form generated an email to a person to handle it, then they may have dropped the ball or simply chosen not to respond. If the data is in a database, then reports to indicate outstanding replies may not have been worked or may not have been adequate.

    I can’t say why you didn’t make your contact. You admitted the response may have been missed by you in your spam. Additionally, it may have been intentionally or accidentally overlooked by the person who was supposed to respond to your inquiry. Or, perhaps, there was an actual bug in the form itself.

    I just don’t want us sounding a little less than tech savvy about forms in a thread about technology. Even the best technology cannot force people to respond to you or for you to open the email. I think you needed to do a little more leg work in making your connection. Then you could have mentioned the lack of response to them, and an investigation could have determined the cause (human or programming), so that steps could be taken to address it in the future :idea:

    And, yes, there are lots of examples of bad code around, but I’m not sure that was the cause here. A technology savvy response is to create test scenarios, rather than jump to conclusions :wink:

  11. MikeReed
    MikeReed December 10, 2008 10:44 am at 10:44 am

    chrisgillespie wrote
    MikeReed wrote

    Leaving up tools that don’t “work” for the expressed or implied purpose, or worse… hinder the user would be like packaging a peripheral and cable w/ a laptop that it won’t/can’t connect to or putting a rearview mirror that doesn’t reflect in a car. Frustrating for the consumer.

    Only since this is a discussion about Columbus being tech savvy. The way a form “works” depends on what it does behind the scenes. Most commonly, it might send an email to someone and/or put your information into a database. If the form generated an email to a person to handle it, then they may have dropped the ball or simply chosen not to respond. If the data is in a database, then reports to indicate outstanding replies may not have been worked or may not have been adequate.

    I can’t say why you didn’t make your contact. You admitted the response may have been missed by you in your spam. Additionally, it may have been intentionally or accidentally overlooked by the person who was supposed to respond to your inquiry. Or, perhaps, there was an actual bug in the form itself.

    I just don’t want us sounding a little less than tech savvy about forms in a thread about technology. Even the best technology cannot force people to respond to you or for you to open the email. I think you needed to do a little more leg work in making your connection. Then you could have mentioned the lack of response to them, and an investigation could have determined the cause (human or programming), so that steps could be taken to address it in the future :idea:

    And, yes, there are lots of examples of bad code around, but I’m not sure that was the cause here. A technology savvy response is to create test scenarios, rather than jump to conclusions :wink:

    Actually, I parenthetically said

    (This is a general comment, not a Tech Columbus comment).

    I was responding more to Andrew’s comment that these forms, generally, don’t do what appears to be their purpose- create a connection or channel for communication. If they don’t “work” (conceptually, not code-wise) then offering them is like building a staircase to a brick wall. (and while people might enjoy the aesthetics of something like this in deconstruction & architecture… not so much on the web).

  12. chrisgillespie
    chrisgillespie December 10, 2008 11:02 am at 11:02 am

    MikeReed wrote

    I was responding more to Andrew’s comment that these forms, generally, don’t do what appears to be their purpose- create a connection or channel for communication. If they don’t “work” (conceptually, not code-wise) then offering them is like building a staircase to a brick wall. (and while people might enjoy the aesthetics of something like this in deconstruction & architecture… not so much on the web).

    They do work for creating a connection. They just don’t force people to take action on those connections. In some advanced contact management systems, you can create a number of bells and whistles to let you know just about everything you’d want to know about when you were first contacted, when you followed up, etc. It still won’t make you send a reply or otherwise followup (other than an auto generated email, which wouldn’t result in a human connection, just an aknowledgement or status).

  13. bjboose
    bjboose December 10, 2008 1:25 pm at 1:25 pm

    How about a shout out for resource interactive? Tons of tech work and websites for companies like Victoria Secret, HP, Bath and Body Works, Wendys, Pantene, Pink, Scotts, etc.

    Also named by Wall Street Journal as one of the 15 best small workplaces in the country. (near bottom of link)

  14. chrisgillespie
    chrisgillespie December 10, 2008 2:03 pm at 2:03 pm

    bjboose wrote How about a shout out for resource interactive? Tons of tech work and websites for companies like Victoria Secret, HP, Bath and Body Works, Wendys, Pantene, Pink, Wendys, etc.

    Also named by Wall Street Journal as one of the 15 best small workplaces in the country. (near bottom of link)

    Wow! Sounds like a great technology company for lots of reasons. How nice it was recognized and covered in the WSJ.

    And to get off topic slightly, it’s even started and lead by a woman. Yea! Speaking as a woman in technology, women have not necessarily been encouraged to be in technology in this country. Despite Grace Murray Hopper, for years it was not uncommon for me to be the ony woman in the room at training courses and conferences. Things are changing, although the growth of women in technology is being led more by women from other countries. LOVE to see a woman led technology company started right here. Anyway, again, that’s off topic, and perhaps a discussion for a different thread sometime.

    Nice coverage. Way to go, Resource Interactive!

  15. Roland
    Roland December 10, 2008 2:20 pm at 2:20 pm

    The ratio of woman to men in the computer sciences field is still abysmal.

    To my dismay!

  16. JonMyers December 10, 2008 2:23 pm at 2:23 pm

    Not a fan of TechColumbus and I don’t see them as a technology leader in the city. I’ve heard numerous reports of entrepreneurs being charged for the ‘privilege’ of presenting their business summary to their board. Their investment focus meaning the types of businesses (advanced materials, high tech manufacturing, bio-technology etc.) they are trying to fund seem seriously out of sync with the average placement size (100 – 250k) – not to mention I don’t think many of these that do get money will get the follow on cash to survive.

    Lastly, I’m not an infrastructure expert, but it seems like the 10 million that was dumped into building out their technology infrastructure could have probably been accomplished through cloud computing at a fraction of the cost.

    I thought their showing and involvement with startup weekend was cool, but it seems more marketing related rather than having the intention of spurring more development in web application development.

  17. Drew December 10, 2008 3:35 pm at 3:35 pm

    bjboose wrote How about a shout out for resource interactive? Tons of tech work and websites for companies like Victoria Secret, HP, Bath and Body Works, Wendys, Pantene, Pink, Scotts, etc.

    Yep, they’re shout-out worthy for sure.

    Another Columbus tech company that doesn’t seem to get much local press in spite of it’s international rep is AutoDesSys, makers of FormZ (a very competitive 3d modeling and rendering application).

  18. MikeReed
    MikeReed December 10, 2008 4:07 pm at 4:07 pm

    JonMyers wrote Not a fan of TechColumbus and I don’t see them as a technology leader in the city. I’ve heard numerous reports of entrepreneurs being charged for the ‘privilege’ of presenting their business summary to their board. Their investment focus meaning the types of businesses (advanced materials, high tech manufacturing, bio-technology etc.) they are trying to fund seem seriously out of sync with the average placement size (100 – 250k) – not to mention I don’t think many of these that do get money will get the follow on cash to survive.

    Lastly, I’m not an infrastructure expert, but it seems like the 10 million that was dumped into building out their technology infrastructure could have probably been accomplished through cloud computing at a fraction of the cost.

    I thought their showing and involvement with startup weekend was cool, but it seems more marketing related rather than having the intention of spurring more development in web application development.

    I’m absolutely amazed by this stuff. I just (moments ago) had a conversation about building a database abstraction layer for cloud stored data where applications could do opperations like fseek() and fputs() – specifically we were talking about biomedical informatics applications where there are typically very large datasets and the paradigm us upload 100%, download 100%, process, repeat…

    RE: Infrastructure- $10 million dollars buys a lot more abstraction than it does fibre channel storage arrays and 15K SAS drives.

    $22.5 in start up money isn’t much when you look at the fact that Twitter alone has raised 20mil between series A and series B funding. So… for your 22.5mil you get 1 twitter- for that level of investment. Sounds like alot to a layman- to real players in the innovation game is isn’t much. Don’t even get me started on stuff like free411.com who has received 75mil in VC for… ahem… free directory assistance.

    Or, the more realistic hulu.com round A 100mil.

  19. roy
    roy December 10, 2008 4:19 pm at 4:19 pm

    JonMyers wrote I’ve heard numerous reports of entrepreneurs being charged for the ‘privilege’ of presenting their business summary to their board.

    If any of those alleging they were charged money to present their proposal are willing to be named, please let me know.

  20. JonMyers December 11, 2008 1:07 am at 1:07 am

    roy wrote
    JonMyers wrote I’ve heard numerous reports of entrepreneurs being charged for the ‘privilege’ of presenting their business summary to their board.

    If any of those alleging they were charged money to present their proposal are willing to be named, please let me know.

    I’m not presently in touch with some of the people I heard it from. Some have moved out of town. I hope this isn’t a standard practice.

  21. Walker Evans
    Walker February 9, 2009 9:37 am at 9:37 am

    More young area companies in health care, IT attract more money

    Central Ohio’s reputation as a hub for good tech-business ideas — think less-invasive medical devices or a clever mix that keeps cargo cold longer — helped venture investments in the region’s companies grow by about 9 percent last year.

    Fifty-seven central Ohio companies received $172 million in 2008, up from 37 firms receiving $158 million in 2007, according to the 2008 Innovation Capital Report for Central Ohio.

    “Frankly, I think central Ohio is becoming a known location for those innovations that are fundable,” said Will Indest, vice president of capital access and formation for TechColumbus. “Outside funders are stopping in Columbus now, looking for companies.”

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