Tacoma doesn’t need PhDs to see a Tech Boom.

If you’re follow the ‘Cascadia’ discussion, you certainly know that Tacoma is being left out: https://blogs.microsoft.com/on-the-issues/2016/09/20/idea-whose-time-come-new-cascadia-innovation-corridor-connecting-vancouver-seattle/

What stands out to me if that Tacoma is just a 30 minute drive from Seattle, give or take traffic conditions.  The city is wedged between two, rather strong startup and tech ecosystems, in Portland and Seattle.  However, no one is talking about Tacoma.

There are lots of perspectives about why Tacoma isn’t benefiting from the growth Seattle is having.  You can certainly make the case that Tacoma is benefiting from some individuals who are moving south, but the people aren’t moving in droves.  In fact, the Economic Development Director at the City of Tacoma is putting all of his chips on the table; he’s convinced that Seattle’s over priced apartments, houses, office space, and cost of living will drive people to Tacoma.  He’s wrong and his strategy of ‘lets sell them on Tacoma because it’s cheaper’ isn’t working.  If you live by price, you’ll die by price.

The other argument that’s now on the table – Tacoma needs PhDs in order to see a tech boom of its own.  I don’t buy that argument either.  Quite frankly, it doesn’t hold water.

PhD’s are helpful in driving research-based technologies but they aren’t essential to entrepreneurship, so I also give a shrug to that. I don’t think there is correlation to business success, either.

(Credit to Evan Brubaker, Founder and CEO of Accumula, a Tacoma based technology startup)

I (we) could be wrong, but I’ve never seen a correlation between PhDs and business success…..I could certainly point you in the direction of several tech startups managed by men and women without PhDs.

Tacoma needs leadership – Tacoma needs the City of Tacoma to get out of its own way.  From my perspective, and take it for what it’s worth, Tacoma needs a Venture Catalyst.

In conjunction with Eli Moreno, Amber Moreno, Shadrach White, Lynda Lopez, and a few others, we’ve put the wheels in motion on Startup253.

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