My attention in September was spent on reading and talking to people who know about economic development. Briefly, those conversations were:
Macy Leung is an affordable housing developer and senior economist in the East Bay. We connected through a local Harvard group on Facebook. She made the point that there’s not enough VC interest in the East Bay. None of the Sand Hill firms have offices here. To get those, we either need a concentration of small tech firms or a couple of really big ones. We also need more housing close to our walkable downtowns.
Ben Reno-Weber is the executive director of the Louisville Future of Work initiative. His group looks a lot like us, but instead of DVC behind them, they have Microsoft. They developed a “Covid-19 respelling initiative” that provides FREE programs for Louisville residents to learn data analysis, digital marketing, software development, and UI development. We went to the Harvard Kennedy School together. Microsoft chose Louisville and much of the work there is driven by Microsoft’s vision. Still, it's interesting to follow what else they do.
Carlyn Orbinger is a DVTI member and Councilmember in Concord. She and I discussed East Bay Economic Development Association and East Bay Leadership Council and where DVTI might supplement what both orgs already do. We agreed that the Diablo Valley region doesn’t get as much attention as Alameda County and the Tri-valley.
Candace Andersen is the County Supervisor for District 2, where I live. We talked about Bishop Ranch in the south county and GoMentum Station in the north. She emphasized that there’s a lot of interest in the general idea of tech economic development and has already made introductions to other economic development leaders. I’ll have those conversations this month.
Finally, Lindy Lavender is a DVTI member and Policy Director at East Bay Leadership Council. She also gave me the rundown on all the orgs and acronyms and we talked about housing development and transportation. We discussed EBLC's policy work and why they make endorsements of propositions but not of candidates. It got me thinking that perhaps next cycle we might want to design a process we can follow to also make endorsements.
I also migrated our website off the custom Ruby on Rails platform and onto Wix so others can take it on going forward.