We need a better measuring stick

It surprises me to see so many cities — especially across the Midwest — still trying to lure large, existing companies to come open new offices. As if we’re still in the pre-Internet era of depending on huge factories or large offices to create the majority of our jobs.

But I get why they do it.

In the past, it was easy to measure the economic impact of a company by how many people it employed, how much money it made or how many square feet of physical space it occupied.

Then the internet came along.

The internet enabled people to make things that you couldn’t physically touch.

The internet enabled people to sell things to people anywhere on the planet.

The internet enabled companies to earn more revenue with fewer employees.

The internet enabled companies to grow as big as their global addressable market.

The internet enabled companies to do all of this from anywhere.

That’s why we can’t measure the economic impact of today’s tech-enabled companies — especially in smaller cities — using yesterday’s measuring stick.


Also published on Medium.