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‘Buffalo Billion’ Investment Plan Outlined

The Western New York Regional Economic Development Council (WNYREDC) met Thursday and for the first time released its full report on the Buffalo Billion Investment Development Plan.  The plan, which serves as a roadmap for implementation and details the market analysis, stakeholder interviews and best practices that led to the the Council’s six signature investable initiatives, can be found here.  The move kicks off the Council’s implementation of the Buffalo Billion strategic initiatives.  In the coming weeks, implementation committees will be formed with area stakeholders and Council members.
 
The Governor has committed an historic $1 billion investment in the Buffalo area economy to create thousands of jobs and spur billions in new investment and economic activity over the next several years. This $1 billion commitment to economic excellence in the Buffalo area has the potential to set a new growth trajectory for jobs and the regional economy.
 
aDSC_0877.JPG“It’s implementation time,” said Howard A. Zemsky, Managing Partner at Larkin Development Group and Regional Council Co-chair.
 
The Council will soon launch six implementation councils, represented by a diverse group of area stakeholders who will bring expertise in the council’s areas of concentration (health and life sciences, manufacturing, tourism, workforce, entrepreneurship and revitalization) and will provide guidance on signature initiative design, issue resolution and execution of the signature initiatives.
 
The WNYREDC co-chairs, along with Bruce Katz, Vice President of the Brookings Institution, and his colleagues worked with a group of local institutions–the WNYREDC, University at Buffalo’s Regional Institute, Buffalo Niagara Enterprise, and Empire State Development, among others–to assess the region’s market position, identify distinctive assets and advantages, and lay out a series of investment options in light of the best innovations underway in the U.S. and around the world.
 
The Buffalo Billion’s six signature investable initiatives include:
▪ Buffalo Center for Manufacturing Innovation: a state-of-the-art facility to support the growth of the region’s manufacturing sector. It will be a shared services enterprise that provides support in commercializing applied research, developing more efficient operational processes, enabling entry into new markets, and up-skilling the existing workforce.
▪ The Buffalo Science Productivity and Research Catalyzer (SPaRC): to help bring breakthrough healthcare innovations to market. The Accelerator supports researchers in developing translational research, acquiring patents, and then licensing those patents or developing them into businesses.
▪ Buffalo Niagara Tourism Program: a regional tourism program to leverage the world-class tourism assets in Niagara Falls and the City of Buffalo through a more coordinated and sophisticated marketing strategy; investments and increased programming in the Niagara State Park; investments in other regional tourism assets and amenities; and the creation of regional offerings.
▪ The Buffalo Skills Partnership: a skills broker with initial investments in Rapid Right Skilling. The partnership will make Buffalo’s workforce system the most flexible, diverse and responsive in the nation by aligning education and training behind the skills employers need to expand and workers need for job success.
▪ Buffalo Breakthrough Business Challenge: a world-class business plan competition to catalyze the region’s entrepreneurial ecosystem. Winners will receive initial funding, incubator space, mentorship and introductions to leading venture capital firms.
▪ Better Buffalo Fund: to make targeted investments through a dedicated fund to support high impact economic and community development projects. A competition will determine the best investments, based on overall strategic fit, impact, proven capacity for execution and commitment of additional funds.
 
In the coming weeks a Buffalo Billion website will also be launched.

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Written by Buffalo Rising

Buffalo Rising

Sometimes the authors at Buffalo Rising work on collaborative efforts in order to cover various events and stories. These posts can not be attributed to one single author, as it is a combined effort. Often times a formation of a post gets started by one writer and passed along to one or more writers before completion. At times there are author attributions at the end of one of these posts. Other times, “Buffalo Rising” is simply offered up as the creator of the article. In either case, the writing is original to Buffalo Rising.

5746 posts
  • Chris

    Since this is now spread across multiple years is this any different than what the region would have received no matter what? Glad there is a plan and effort hopefully a defined plan can look to the federal government and private groups for funding an investment as well. The use of seed money locally to attract federal funds have worked in the past.

  • Superman3d

    Personally I hope that Buffalo gets this promised billion dollar investment, but IMO the only future billion dollars we are going to see is in salary, travel expenses, support staff, retirement benefits, etc. of Governor Cuomo and the Western New York Regional Economic Development Council (WNYREDC).
    In fact the Governor and his Attorney General Eric Schneiderman have decided to raise money by making it a policy to fine condos, thereby quashing any potential future investment. Policies like this, coupled with an unfair tax structure, only drive investment away:
    http://therealdeal.com/blog/2011/10/31/sedona-condo-in-east-harlem-at-346-east-119th-street-sues-attorney-general-eric-schneiderman/
    There has already been a $150,000 fine against a condo conversion right here in Buffalo from what I have heard.

  • No_Illusions

    Is the center for manufacturing innovation different from UBs Center for Excellence in Material Informatics?

  • Allentwnguy

    There should be a way that when these ventures become viable that they can put back a little of what they got so that this money can be a perpetual boost. If patents are gained and licensed why can’t some money go back into the “Buffalo Billion Fund” for use again? Why can’t the Better Buffalo Fund be low or no cost loans unless you are possibly a non-profit doing real good to the community? The area will get this money, piss it away and not support/abandon what is created. We all know how misguided the city and council can be. Like putting $406,000 into an ice cream gazebo!

  • flyguy

    Seems like some dollars ought to be pumped into physical infrastructure improvements like road and rail. How about that 219 extension, high speed rail, a high speed rail connection to Canada via Buffalo? a metro line extension to Niagara Falls, the airport? Things that will bring people in and get them moving when they are there? WNY has no good direct north-south interstate type access, its cutoff. How about quality of life improvements throughout the city to make it appear less beat up? Street trees may seem basic but speak volumes and improve corridors, making them more attractive for investment and psychological impressions. Also, something to result in real substantive governmental process streamlining and tax reductions. I think there are too many layers to deal with and the process may be burdensome, keeping outside money away. Why can other snow prone areas do it cheaper? I’m no radical slash and burn anti government tax reformist but something needs to be done to get competitive in that arena. If the state has already become cheaper, so too should the localities.

  • elmdog

    It is nice to hear about a rational approach to this…but, I am not sure that all of these committees can be filled with intelligent people in Buffalo..We already know that the Common Council is a bunch of idiots..If we get past the 5 or 6 influential smart businessmen of Buffalo what do we have left?
    Also, there has to be something wrong here…If any other well run city dangled a nice portion of this billion in front of a major company looking to expand or grow, I imagine they would fall over themselves..Other than the disfunctional gov’t and crappy weather, exodus of people out of Buffalo..What could it be?

  • buffknut

    This is such a joke. There is no billion dollars. The state of NY is broke and already in debt up to its’ eyeballs. Superman’s comment was correct, the only money dispersed will be to a bunch of political hacks doing study after endless study.
    Everything costs more here. As an example, Gas is 50 cents a gallon cheaper in Richmond, 40 cents cheaper in Cleveland and 25 cents cheaper in Erie. Our taxes are absurd here.
    Until that changes, we’re going nowhere.

  • LouisTully

    Agree 100%. Cuomo is pulling one on us. He thinks we’re a bunch of schmucks an it’s as if he’s saying “they’re stupid enough to buy the BS I’m selling them”. And we’re buying it! Have you seen Channel 2’s commercials about the “Buffalo Billion”!? It’s like being stuck in the Matrix.
    Speaking of Channel 2, is anyone else creeped out by their reporters? Dave McKinley with his Croc Dundee hat and the other creeper, name eludes me. And Keven O’Connel reminds me of the blueberry girl in Charlie & Chocolate Factory, he’s gonna explode one day.

  • LouisTully

    Agree 100%. Cuomo is pulling one on us. He thinks we’re a bunch of schmucks an it’s as if he’s saying “they’re stupid enough to buy the BS I’m selling them”. And we’re buying it! Have you seen Channel 2’s commercials about the “Buffalo Billion”!? It’s like being stuck in the Matrix.
    Speaking of Channel 2, is anyone else creeped out by their reporters? Dave McKinley with his Croc Dundee hat and the other creeper, name eludes me. And Keven O’Connel reminds me of the blueberry girl in Charlie & Chocolate Factory, he’s gonna explode one day.

  • Buffalogni

    I like the intent, but I wonder about how some of these initiatives duplicate other state, county and local efforts.
    For instance, how is the Buffalo Skills Partnership different than what UB, Buff State, Medaille, Canisius etc. try to do every day? If they aren’t doing a good job with the public money they get, then why haven’t we taken the public money away from them? If they are doing a good job but more effort is needed then why not just give the money directly to them? If you tell me they are doing a good job, but we need a different approach too, I find that hard to believe because each of the schools has a different niche; somebody is doing what you want.
    I don’t know enough about the proposal so I am really asking the question, “How is this different?”

  • Buffalogni

    I like the intent, but I wonder about how some of these initiatives duplicate other state, county and local efforts.
    For instance, how is the Buffalo Skills Partnership different than what UB, Buff State, Medaille, Canisius etc. try to do every day? If they aren’t doing a good job with the public money they get, then why haven’t we taken the public money away from them? If they are doing a good job but more effort is needed then why not just give the money directly to them? If you tell me they are doing a good job, but we need a different approach too, I find that hard to believe because each of the schools has a different niche; somebody is doing what you want.
    I don’t know enough about the proposal so I am really asking the question, “How is this different?”

  • ex-716

    Many good skeptical comments above. I agree that the money will be likely be wasted and will go to either politcally connected cronies or bureaucratic hacks. But for a second, let’s hope not and assume the best.
    Even so, the real question is where does this money come from? The answer is obviously taxes. taxes, Taxes, TaXeS, TAXES. Western New York as the HIGHEST property taxes in the nation, and for what in return? (Ho-hum schools, snarly, inept public services). New York State has the second HIGHEST income taxes in the nation, and for what? (Endless Medicaid spending and countless agencies, bureaus, and authorities). Who in the world would locate in Buffalo if they aren’t already there?
    The billion should be split up and returned to those who paid the taxes.

  • elmdog

    Thank you for talking about the Channel 2 people…They are all creeps…Kevin Oconnel drives me nuts with his embarrassingly bad corny humor, talk of food constantly and the fact that he loves his face on cam…..Cant people just do the news and not be corny or creepy……He is just the beginning of the mess that they have

  • elmdog

    Thank you for talking about the Channel 2 people…They are all creeps…Kevin Oconnel drives me nuts with his embarrassingly bad corny humor, talk of food constantly and the fact that he loves his face on cam…..Cant people just do the news and not be corny or creepy……He is just the beginning of the mess that they have

  • paulsobo

    The cost differential between upstate and downstate is huge.
    Upstate simply cannot afford the taxes and regulation for a government that is big enough to serve downstate.
    NYS is just another dead liberal state, a behomoth that upstate cannot afford run by government civil service unions and immigrants and the financials in downstate.
    NYC is just another sanctuary city for legal/illegal immigrants that keeps the politicians in power

  • paulsobo

    The cost differential between upstate and downstate is huge.
    Upstate simply cannot afford the taxes and regulation for a government that is big enough to serve downstate.
    NYS is just another dead liberal state, a behomoth that upstate cannot afford run by government civil service unions and immigrants and the financials in downstate.
    NYC is just another sanctuary city for legal/illegal immigrants that keeps the politicians in power

  • Rand503

    I understand that they are trying to build an innovation ecosystem in Buffalo with several of these projects. It’s a step in the right direction, but woefully inadequate, and unlikely to accomplish much.
    First, there is no shortage of innovation in Buffalo or anywhere in the US. So there is no need to pump more money into any thing promoting that. Where we have a huge shortage is in funding new companies. It’s a joke that they will “introduce companies to leading venture capitalists.” There is no more venture capital left in the US — two thirds of all VCs that existed five years ago are either out of business or no longer investing. The very fact that they would say that indicates that they are 100% clueless on how innovation works in the US today. Not a good sign.
    The other issue is that they want to help grow the companies. Again, a laudable goal, but the only people who can really do that are serial entrepreneurs. Accelerators and incubators are notoriously bad at getting companies off the ground. The reason is because the startups don’t get good advice on how to do it. They get, instead, advice from professors and consultants and other service provders who really don’t give a damn whether you succeed or not, or have no experience in actually launching a company.
    There are many places in America that are doing exactly what this proposes, but those places are just as much a failure as these will be. Just doing what everyone else is doint isn’t good enough — you have to look at who is actually producing real outcomes, and assess how they are doing that.
    there is no formula, of course, but we already know what works and what doesn’t. I’m not hopeful that this wi produce any real outcomes.

  • longgone

    In typical Buffalo fashion..instead of implementing something innovative…you create a study or “Center of Excellence” to study, talk, dream about innovation. This is nothing but a waste of money to line the pockets of connected people.
    You want innovation….
    Revoke the monopoly for cable and phone ISP providers in the downtown core and spend $250M on laying down a fiber network similar to what Google is doing in KC.
    Take another $100M and start a non-profit run by an expert from the tech sector/VC arena (who is not in NYS right now) and fund 200 start ups for 3 years at $500K each.
    In year 4, you take another $50M and fund 25-50 of the companies in the 3 year lab with another $1M – $2M each.
    All the while, the non-profit gets a % of ownership in return for the funding…to be used to fund more companies.
    Rules are simple. You have to be 95% based in Buffalo, including key team members.
    Take the rest and put it towards lowering taxes or not spending it.

  • longgone

    In typical Buffalo fashion..instead of implementing something innovative…you create a study or “Center of Excellence” to study, talk, dream about innovation. This is nothing but a waste of money to line the pockets of connected people.
    You want innovation….
    Revoke the monopoly for cable and phone ISP providers in the downtown core and spend $250M on laying down a fiber network similar to what Google is doing in KC.
    Take another $100M and start a non-profit run by an expert from the tech sector/VC arena (who is not in NYS right now) and fund 200 start ups for 3 years at $500K each.
    In year 4, you take another $50M and fund 25-50 of the companies in the 3 year lab with another $1M – $2M each.
    All the while, the non-profit gets a % of ownership in return for the funding…to be used to fund more companies.
    Rules are simple. You have to be 95% based in Buffalo, including key team members.
    Take the rest and put it towards lowering taxes or not spending it.

  • Yo Yeah

    Wow, you people just spend all of your lives walking around without hope, that nothing can ever happen to slightly improve Buffalo, New York, huh? Every politician dishonest, every government program a waste, and WNY doomed to eventual complete depopulation and a complete lack of any economic prospects.
    Even if this is just a concentration of existing resources, even if this is only half successful, we finally have what so many in the town have been asking for – namely, a state government and a governor who cares about the land mass that exists north of the Bronx. Further, he has placed the money in the hands of the Regional Council, not in the hands of the Assembly or some unaccountable agency in Albany – and y’all are still hating.
    I for one, cannot wait for you people to move away from my city. Go retire in the South or something. You aren’t part of the solution, with your everything is destined to fail attitudes, with your “OMG, thats just another silver bullet that will never happen!” small town attitude. Big, successful cities take risks, think big and invest. They don’t endlessly stammer on about how things aren’t feasible.
    Think and dream big once in a while, people. Ugh.

  • Yo Yeah

    Wow, you people just spend all of your lives walking around without hope, that nothing can ever happen to slightly improve Buffalo, New York, huh? Every politician dishonest, every government program a waste, and WNY doomed to eventual complete depopulation and a complete lack of any economic prospects.
    Even if this is just a concentration of existing resources, even if this is only half successful, we finally have what so many in the town have been asking for – namely, a state government and a governor who cares about the land mass that exists north of the Bronx. Further, he has placed the money in the hands of the Regional Council, not in the hands of the Assembly or some unaccountable agency in Albany – and y’all are still hating.
    I for one, cannot wait for you people to move away from my city. Go retire in the South or something. You aren’t part of the solution, with your everything is destined to fail attitudes, with your “OMG, thats just another silver bullet that will never happen!” small town attitude. Big, successful cities take risks, think big and invest. They don’t endlessly stammer on about how things aren’t feasible.
    Think and dream big once in a while, people. Ugh.

  • Buffalogni

    We aren’t saying everything is destined to fail; we are saying this is destined to fail. Several people have made suggestions for other ways to improve things.

  • Buffalogni

    We aren’t saying everything is destined to fail; we are saying this is destined to fail. Several people have made suggestions for other ways to improve things.

  • LouisTully

    “my city”
    Pardon my opinions. I didn’t realize paying property taxes prohibits me from being critical of YOUR city.

  • buffknut

    Sorry Yo Yeah, but you are dead nuts wrong. It’s very nice of you to be such an optimist and diss those of us who don’t see things the way you do, but that doesn’t do one damn thing to ensure that the Billion dollars, half of it, or any of it, is actually real money that will actually accomplish anything.
    I don’t want the city or state to “invest” in anything. I want them to cut spending and cut taxes and let real people with real money do the investing. Attitudes like yours just perpetuate the idiotic notion that our government “leaders” (which they aren’t) have any clue how to make this city better.

  • buffknut

    Sorry Yo Yeah, but you are dead nuts wrong. It’s very nice of you to be such an optimist and diss those of us who don’t see things the way you do, but that doesn’t do one damn thing to ensure that the Billion dollars, half of it, or any of it, is actually real money that will actually accomplish anything.
    I don’t want the city or state to “invest” in anything. I want them to cut spending and cut taxes and let real people with real money do the investing. Attitudes like yours just perpetuate the idiotic notion that our government “leaders” (which they aren’t) have any clue how to make this city better.

  • LouisTully

    What makes you optimistic of NYS government?
    “a governor who cares about the land mass that exists north of the Bronx”
    He doesn’t care about Buffalo. He’s got a stick that doesn’t even have a carrot tied to it and he’s pulling a magic trick on us.

  • LouisTully

    What makes you optimistic of NYS government?
    “a governor who cares about the land mass that exists north of the Bronx”
    He doesn’t care about Buffalo. He’s got a stick that doesn’t even have a carrot tied to it and he’s pulling a magic trick on us.

  • Yo Yeah

    Well, perhaps my tone is too familiar, and I’m not to sure why you are taking anonymous internet comments as being personally aimed at you (the “you” was the royal “you”).and not all of the criticism of the $1B is invalid.. but yeah, congratulations on being a taxpayer. Everyone in the city is, renters and owners alike. It still doesn’t change the fact that this town’s mentality is poisonous and depressing, and in reality, is part of the reason its hard to keep people here. And this is in most facets of City life, not just the economic development game.

  • Yo Yeah

    He actually does care about Buffalo, and has since his HUD and Help USA days. The man isn’t perfect, but is certainly more concerned with WNY and Upstate than any statewide politician in a long time. And I’m not gonna even comment on the “government shouldn’t invest” and “politicians are clueless” crap. Yes it should and some of them are, but that doesn’t change the fact that a progressive government (not saying that is whats in place with Byron) would, should and can be a positive factor in development and growth.

  • Yo Yeah

    He actually does care about Buffalo, and has since his HUD and Help USA days. The man isn’t perfect, but is certainly more concerned with WNY and Upstate than any statewide politician in a long time. And I’m not gonna even comment on the “government shouldn’t invest” and “politicians are clueless” crap. Yes it should and some of them are, but that doesn’t change the fact that a progressive government (not saying that is whats in place with Byron) would, should and can be a positive factor in development and growth.

  • MikeN

    Haven’t you heard, NYC is more than that. They have by far the best bagels, delis and pizza. Apparently its so superior that no one has been able to replicate it here. Perhaps part of the Billion should be focused on exporting these desparately needed items here.

  • MikeN

    Haven’t you heard, NYC is more than that. They have by far the best bagels, delis and pizza. Apparently its so superior that no one has been able to replicate it here. Perhaps part of the Billion should be focused on exporting these desparately needed items here.

  • Buffalogni

    Yo Yeah,
    Yes, Cuomo does care about Buffalo more than most statewide politicians; everything else you wrote is completely wrong.
    The state is $63.3 Billion (with a B) in debt. That is just the stated debt, the promises make it even worse. This debt exists despite the highest property taxes in the nation.
    New York State will never pay this debt. Ever. It is impossible. And I doubt the state will be able to stop it from getting worse. I can go through the cases of mismanagement and corruption in the various level of New York State government that leads to this but stating the bottom line debt is a good enough summary.
    So yes, government shouldn’t invest and politicians are clueless.

  • Yo Yeah

    Let’s see.. NYS debt is rated somewhere between AAA and AA.. so perhaps we are highly leveraged, but your cries of insolvency are ridiculous. If you want to live in a low service state that does nothing for its citizens, there is always South Carolina and Mississippi. The schools are poor, the population has no upward mobility and the infrastructure is terrible. But the taxes are low, so the mass affluent and nouveau rich keep the money the make on the backs of their underpaid, unionless workforce. Yeah, let’s follow that model and we can all assemble Toyotas for 13 bucks an hour!

  • Yo Yeah

    Let’s see.. NYS debt is rated somewhere between AAA and AA.. so perhaps we are highly leveraged, but your cries of insolvency are ridiculous. If you want to live in a low service state that does nothing for its citizens, there is always South Carolina and Mississippi. The schools are poor, the population has no upward mobility and the infrastructure is terrible. But the taxes are low, so the mass affluent and nouveau rich keep the money the make on the backs of their underpaid, unionless workforce. Yeah, let’s follow that model and we can all assemble Toyotas for 13 bucks an hour!

  • rockpile

    Longgone your ideas are ingenius especially the part about keeping all investment and reinvestment in the city!But just the same I feel that false promise feeling that some of the others have so intelligently expressed being a political publicity stunt,infighting,and poor vision and city planning.I’m no college grad[I actually learn alot from BR and being a passionate Buffalonian]but I feel that we should use this money mostly for high tech manufacturing and health/life sciences both with 2 to 3 large silver bullet industries complemented by a number of smaller industries,start ups,and spin off jobs such as commerce,city jobs,construction,information/finance,education,retail,preservation,
    and tourism!Clean up NF and turn it into a modern tourist destination[hey a guy can dream can’t he].Have the whole Buffalo Niagara area jump on board on this reinvestment plan for the city and reap the benifits from smart growth,regional comrodity and sustainability.Then have the state superfund a seperate economic plan for huge transportaion projects such as tearing down the Skyway replacing it with best proposed bridge plan,solving the Peace Bridge problem with preservation strongly incorperated,downgrading expressways,connecting North and South campuses underground,expanding our Metrorail everywhere using our already rail line infastucture including my wild idea of tearing down the Scajaquada and turning from that part of the expressway down the 198 then the 33 into a At-Grade blvd with light rail running through the center all the way Downtown and Medical Corridor then on top of that redevelop all of Buffalo’s main arteries,Broadway,Gennesse,Clinton,Niagara ect. for exactly that main arteries because of the city’s revitalization and their proxcimity for residential/business,and the access to downtown and throughout the city connecting all neighborhoods.All this with the comitment to world class city services,safety and security! Mind you some of these are long term plans obviously,but a wise city plan in yearly stages of growth and major construction projects underway is where you start!

  • rockpile

    Longgone your ideas are ingenius especially the part about keeping all investment and reinvestment in the city!But just the same I feel that false promise feeling that some of the others have so intelligently expressed being a political publicity stunt,infighting,and poor vision and city planning.I’m no college grad[I actually learn alot from BR and being a passionate Buffalonian]but I feel that we should use this money mostly for high tech manufacturing and health/life sciences both with 2 to 3 large silver bullet industries complemented by a number of smaller industries,start ups,and spin off jobs such as commerce,city jobs,construction,information/finance,education,retail,preservation,
    and tourism!Clean up NF and turn it into a modern tourist destination[hey a guy can dream can’t he].Have the whole Buffalo Niagara area jump on board on this reinvestment plan for the city and reap the benifits from smart growth,regional comrodity and sustainability.Then have the state superfund a seperate economic plan for huge transportaion projects such as tearing down the Skyway replacing it with best proposed bridge plan,solving the Peace Bridge problem with preservation strongly incorperated,downgrading expressways,connecting North and South campuses underground,expanding our Metrorail everywhere using our already rail line infastucture including my wild idea of tearing down the Scajaquada and turning from that part of the expressway down the 198 then the 33 into a At-Grade blvd with light rail running through the center all the way Downtown and Medical Corridor then on top of that redevelop all of Buffalo’s main arteries,Broadway,Gennesse,Clinton,Niagara ect. for exactly that main arteries because of the city’s revitalization and their proxcimity for residential/business,and the access to downtown and throughout the city connecting all neighborhoods.All this with the comitment to world class city services,safety and security! Mind you some of these are long term plans obviously,but a wise city plan in yearly stages of growth and major construction projects underway is where you start!

  • rockpile

    I also don’t want leave out strong support and growth for our wonderful culturals!

  • rockpile

    I also don’t want leave out strong support and growth for our wonderful culturals!

  • ladyinwhite

    Hmmm, tough call. The other option is to work at a debt collection agency, Seneca gaming table or Wilson Farms in Buffalo for 7-9 bucks an hour. With higher taxes to boot.
    Buffalo NY – Median income 30,230 Below povery level 29%
    Charlston SC – Median income $50,930 Below poverty level 18.8%
    Biloxi MS – Median income $42,529 Below poverty level 17.6%

  • ladyinwhite

    Hmmm, tough call. The other option is to work at a debt collection agency, Seneca gaming table or Wilson Farms in Buffalo for 7-9 bucks an hour. With higher taxes to boot.
    Buffalo NY – Median income 30,230 Below povery level 29%
    Charlston SC – Median income $50,930 Below poverty level 18.8%
    Biloxi MS – Median income $42,529 Below poverty level 17.6%

  • Yo Yeah

    Seriously? Wow.

  • Yo Yeah

    Seriously? Wow.

  • Rand503

    Exactly — this is what I’ve been trying to say for years. Startups don’t need free real estate and a fax machine. What they need is funding.
    So which companies should get funding? Who decides? That’s the hard part. 98% of all startups are junk – they won’t go anywhere no matter how much funding they get. So you need expertise to select which companies will get it. Just throwing money around won’t do anything.
    Who ever selects the companies must be compelled to put their own money into the company as well. That’s the only way they will look long and hard at whether the company is deserving of money. If they have skin in the game, then they will only select the very best companies, and once selected, they will do everything they can to make sure those companies succeed.
    This is the only way the game can be played and won. Otherwise, you are just selecting companies based on criteria other than business success, and that ain’t good.

  • Rand503

    Exactly — this is what I’ve been trying to say for years. Startups don’t need free real estate and a fax machine. What they need is funding.
    So which companies should get funding? Who decides? That’s the hard part. 98% of all startups are junk – they won’t go anywhere no matter how much funding they get. So you need expertise to select which companies will get it. Just throwing money around won’t do anything.
    Who ever selects the companies must be compelled to put their own money into the company as well. That’s the only way they will look long and hard at whether the company is deserving of money. If they have skin in the game, then they will only select the very best companies, and once selected, they will do everything they can to make sure those companies succeed.
    This is the only way the game can be played and won. Otherwise, you are just selecting companies based on criteria other than business success, and that ain’t good.

  • Rand503

    We aren’t against plans to advance the city. It’s just that I’ve seen this exact sort of thing happen in other cities, and it doesn’t breed the success that people hope for. In the long run, that’s rather destructive. It breeds more cycnism, and is a waste of money.
    This could have been done better. I contact Bruce Katz’s office several times, offering to bring in leading venture capitalists and angel investors from around the country to explain to him what Buffalo really needs to build an innovation ecosystem. I myself had a contract with the World Bank to do exactly that. We personally know the best people in the US who actually are spinning off companies and recreating silicon valley in places such as Miami, Salt Lake City, Austin and others.
    He never returned any phone calls or emails. I guess he knows better than the professionals who are actually creating innovation ecosystems.
    The fact that he had no interest whatsoever in even learning how an innovation ecosystem is created, or meeting the leaders of the regions in the US (One of our team members is a venture capitlalist who started the whole VC system in Silicon Valley 30 years ago), shows me that this was all just poliitcal theater. They aren’t interested in really developing the economy — rather, they just want to throw money around for political reasons.
    It’s all a joke and has nothing to do with actually jumpstarting the economy.

  • Rand503

    We aren’t against plans to advance the city. It’s just that I’ve seen this exact sort of thing happen in other cities, and it doesn’t breed the success that people hope for. In the long run, that’s rather destructive. It breeds more cycnism, and is a waste of money.
    This could have been done better. I contact Bruce Katz’s office several times, offering to bring in leading venture capitalists and angel investors from around the country to explain to him what Buffalo really needs to build an innovation ecosystem. I myself had a contract with the World Bank to do exactly that. We personally know the best people in the US who actually are spinning off companies and recreating silicon valley in places such as Miami, Salt Lake City, Austin and others.
    He never returned any phone calls or emails. I guess he knows better than the professionals who are actually creating innovation ecosystems.
    The fact that he had no interest whatsoever in even learning how an innovation ecosystem is created, or meeting the leaders of the regions in the US (One of our team members is a venture capitlalist who started the whole VC system in Silicon Valley 30 years ago), shows me that this was all just poliitcal theater. They aren’t interested in really developing the economy — rather, they just want to throw money around for political reasons.
    It’s all a joke and has nothing to do with actually jumpstarting the economy.

  • Rand503

    We aren’t against plans to advance the city. It’s just that I’ve seen this exact sort of thing happen in other cities, and it doesn’t breed the success that people hope for. In the long run, that’s rather destructive. It breeds more cycnism, and is a waste of money.
    This could have been done better. I contact Bruce Katz’s office several times, offering to bring in leading venture capitalists and angel investors from around the country to explain to him what Buffalo really needs to build an innovation ecosystem. I myself had a contract with the World Bank to do exactly that. We personally know the best people in the US who actually are spinning off companies and recreating silicon valley in places such as Miami, Salt Lake City, Austin and others.
    He never returned any phone calls or emails. I guess he knows better than the professionals who are actually creating innovation ecosystems.
    The fact that he had no interest whatsoever in even learning how an innovation ecosystem is created, or meeting the leaders of the regions in the US (One of our team members is a venture capitlalist who started the whole VC system in Silicon Valley 30 years ago), shows me that this was all just poliitcal theater. They aren’t interested in really developing the economy — rather, they just want to throw money around for political reasons.
    It’s all a joke and has nothing to do with actually jumpstarting the economy.

  • Rand503

    We aren’t against plans to advance the city. It’s just that I’ve seen this exact sort of thing happen in other cities, and it doesn’t breed the success that people hope for. In the long run, that’s rather destructive. It breeds more cycnism, and is a waste of money.
    This could have been done better. I contact Bruce Katz’s office several times, offering to bring in leading venture capitalists and angel investors from around the country to explain to him what Buffalo really needs to build an innovation ecosystem. I myself had a contract with the World Bank to do exactly that. We personally know the best people in the US who actually are spinning off companies and recreating silicon valley in places such as Miami, Salt Lake City, Austin and others.
    He never returned any phone calls or emails. I guess he knows better than the professionals who are actually creating innovation ecosystems.
    The fact that he had no interest whatsoever in even learning how an innovation ecosystem is created, or meeting the leaders of the regions in the US (One of our team members is a venture capitlalist who started the whole VC system in Silicon Valley 30 years ago), shows me that this was all just poliitcal theater. They aren’t interested in really developing the economy — rather, they just want to throw money around for political reasons.
    It’s all a joke and has nothing to do with actually jumpstarting the economy.

  • No_Illusions

    Biloxi is a city of 50,000…

  • No_Illusions

    Biloxi is a city of 50,000…

  • Buffalogni

    So my only choices are New York, South Carolina or Mississippi? Ok, South Carolina please. Their Debt to GDP level is 2.3 versus 5.4 in New York. Their bond ratings are Aaa/AA+ versus Aa2/AA for New York. And companies move to South Carolina, like Boeing that just opened a plant near Charleston. Could you imagine Boeing moving to Buffalo?
    New York has a lot to offer, but the politicians should support private enterprise, not try to be private enterprise. They aren’t good at it, and when they try, they just rack up debt from their failures.

  • Buffalogni

    So my only choices are New York, South Carolina or Mississippi? Ok, South Carolina please. Their Debt to GDP level is 2.3 versus 5.4 in New York. Their bond ratings are Aaa/AA+ versus Aa2/AA for New York. And companies move to South Carolina, like Boeing that just opened a plant near Charleston. Could you imagine Boeing moving to Buffalo?
    New York has a lot to offer, but the politicians should support private enterprise, not try to be private enterprise. They aren’t good at it, and when they try, they just rack up debt from their failures.

  • No_Illusions

    Um…how do illegal immigrants vote exactly?
    Also you claim its the poor looking for handouts also keep these politicians in power…yet they have the lowest voter turnout rate of any demographic.
    Turn off Fox News, don’t turn on CNN or CNBC, go and do your own research.
    The current Republican platform is more unsustainable than anything the Democrats put out there. This isn’t 1995 when Republicans were champion Obamacare style health reform and Democrats wanted a European style single payer system. Both parties have heavily shifted to the right in a very short amount of time. Get with the times.

  • Yo Yeah

    South Carolina stole the plant from Washington State to bust a union a to pay workers a lot less…Boeing made $4 Billion in profits last year. Paying real wages to its existing workers would have cost tiny millions. I, for one, think we should be innovators and create a knowledge based economy rather than selling out ourselves, our countrymen and our standard of living in a race to the lowest possible wages.

  • Yo Yeah

    It seems to me, if you were serious, that you would not need Brookings to pull this plan of yours off.

  • Yo Yeah

    It seems to me, if you were serious, that you would not need Brookings to pull this plan of yours off.

  • sonyactivision

    A billion doesn’t go as far as it used to. Especially a billion government dollars. In b4 endless squabbles over who gets what and which union gets the job. Buffalo will be lucky to get new streetlights out of all this.

  • sonyactivision

    A billion doesn’t go as far as it used to. Especially a billion government dollars. In b4 endless squabbles over who gets what and which union gets the job. Buffalo will be lucky to get new streetlights out of all this.

  • whatever

    Looks like 3 separate issues getting mixed together in some comments…
    apples – whether or not Cuomo or any politician personally ‘cares’ enough about a city/area such as Buffalo/WNY
    oranges – whether or not he/she proposes a govt spending program for it such as Cuomo’s Buffalo Billion
    pears – such a program’s ultimate real effectiveness vs. wastefulness or hype.
    About the 3rd of those – there’s very good points in this thread by ex-716, Louis, Buffalogni, and buffknut – so I’ll just compliment them for well said thoughts.
    Rand’s views on this are interesting too, even if I don’t quite agree 100% with those.
    About the ‘cares’ thing – no way to know for sure and it shouldn’t matter.
    But if caring=Billion4Buffalo, then would that imply Cuomo cares less about Rochester and Syracuse, both of whose city & metro rates of poverty and job growth have often been even worse than Buffalo’s?

  • whatever

    Looks like 3 separate issues getting mixed together in some comments…
    apples – whether or not Cuomo or any politician personally ‘cares’ enough about a city/area such as Buffalo/WNY
    oranges – whether or not he/she proposes a govt spending program for it such as Cuomo’s Buffalo Billion
    pears – such a program’s ultimate real effectiveness vs. wastefulness or hype.
    About the 3rd of those – there’s very good points in this thread by ex-716, Louis, Buffalogni, and buffknut – so I’ll just compliment them for well said thoughts.
    Rand’s views on this are interesting too, even if I don’t quite agree 100% with those.
    About the ‘cares’ thing – no way to know for sure and it shouldn’t matter.
    But if caring=Billion4Buffalo, then would that imply Cuomo cares less about Rochester and Syracuse, both of whose city & metro rates of poverty and job growth have often been even worse than Buffalo’s?

  • whatever

    fly – I agree with about half or so – yea for quality-of-life improvements, streamlining, & tax reductions – nay for rail ideas – and very skeptical about Route 219 widening.
    But can I ask one question?
    What did you mean at the end by “If the state has already become cheaper”?
    How & when did NYS already become cheaper for anything?

  • bfrankvs1

    Yo Yeah: I’m not sure why you gave up so easily. You were making some excellent points re: low-tax, low-service America’s race to the bottom. All of the people with no faith in a social contract model of state government should try out SC or MS for a time, and report back to us how they like the crime, the sub-par schools, the poverty (higher than NY’s as a whole), and the none-too-subtle bigotry. Or who knows, maybe these commenters dig those things.
    ladyinwhite points out that Buffalo has a lower median income and higher poverty rates than Charleston or Biloxi (when those cities aren’t even all that representative of their states). Those cities are A) considerably smaller than Buffalo, and thus not really comparable; B) wealthy cities in their respective states, whereas nobody would claim Buffalo is a wealthy NY city; and C) located in states where wealth tends to be clustered in cities, whereas in upstate NY, wealth tends to cluster in suburbs and certain rural pockets. Citing fresh-from-Wikipedia statistics like these in no way “proves” that SC or MS are somehow “better” than NY.
    Will the “Buffalo Billion” work for the city, and for western NY in general? I have no idea, and none of you do either. I can understand a degree of cynicism after all the setbacks the region has seen since its glory days, but as Yo Yeah tried to point out, maybe its best to hold the judgment until you know the answer. If you really don’t like government investment, vote with your feet and leave. Why on Earth would you torture yourself in Buffalo, when you obviously have absolutely no faith in the place’s future?

  • bfrankvs1

    Yo Yeah: I’m not sure why you gave up so easily. You were making some excellent points re: low-tax, low-service America’s race to the bottom. All of the people with no faith in a social contract model of state government should try out SC or MS for a time, and report back to us how they like the crime, the sub-par schools, the poverty (higher than NY’s as a whole), and the none-too-subtle bigotry. Or who knows, maybe these commenters dig those things.
    ladyinwhite points out that Buffalo has a lower median income and higher poverty rates than Charleston or Biloxi (when those cities aren’t even all that representative of their states). Those cities are A) considerably smaller than Buffalo, and thus not really comparable; B) wealthy cities in their respective states, whereas nobody would claim Buffalo is a wealthy NY city; and C) located in states where wealth tends to be clustered in cities, whereas in upstate NY, wealth tends to cluster in suburbs and certain rural pockets. Citing fresh-from-Wikipedia statistics like these in no way “proves” that SC or MS are somehow “better” than NY.
    Will the “Buffalo Billion” work for the city, and for western NY in general? I have no idea, and none of you do either. I can understand a degree of cynicism after all the setbacks the region has seen since its glory days, but as Yo Yeah tried to point out, maybe its best to hold the judgment until you know the answer. If you really don’t like government investment, vote with your feet and leave. Why on Earth would you torture yourself in Buffalo, when you obviously have absolutely no faith in the place’s future?

  • cool

    Innovation, the medical corridor, inventions, money spent on deciding how to spend this billion dollars. Ok I get it……
    But, there is absolutely no mentions that a penny if that money will be allocated for the arts. Why is that. Our Buffalo culture deserves to have more funding to the fine arts, design, culinary, theater, spoken word and music industry.

  • cool

    Innovation, the medical corridor, inventions, money spent on deciding how to spend this billion dollars. Ok I get it……
    But, there is absolutely no mentions that a penny if that money will be allocated for the arts. Why is that. Our Buffalo culture deserves to have more funding to the fine arts, design, culinary, theater, spoken word and music industry.

  • Freethrow

    Rand,
    This has been an issue for the last six years since I moved back. There are some very good people working on this issue. I would be happy to put you in touch with the main contact point at the medical campus who has working this issue hard. What you are saying is absolutely correct, with the addition of the need of management guidance. It’s not just the money that is needed.

  • Freethrow

    Rand,
    This has been an issue for the last six years since I moved back. There are some very good people working on this issue. I would be happy to put you in touch with the main contact point at the medical campus who has working this issue hard. What you are saying is absolutely correct, with the addition of the need of management guidance. It’s not just the money that is needed.

  • Rand503

    Thanks. IT is true that money is only a part of the problem. And frankly, you do NOT need tons of money. To build an actual working innovation ecosystem, you really only need perhaps $10 million.
    Rather, it’s about bringing the right people together at the right times. If you don’t, it’s the blind leading the blind. I saw one program at the Niagara Medical complex where they were having JD and MBA students offering advice to startups! That’s just ridiculous.
    The only people who can and should give advice are serial entrepreneurs. That’s the real key issue here. People who have successfully led a minimum of five startups to exit. In the entire US, there are probably about 2000 of these people. In Buffalo, I have no idea, but not more than two or three at most. Maybe none, for all I know. So we need to bring those people to Buffalo, find the best companies, those with the best chance of becoming a billion dollar global company, work with the CEO and then push them to exit within two years. The serial entrepreneur doesn’t get paid for this (You can’t pay them enough). Instead, what you do is give them a piece of the action. If they really believe the company has legs, they will gladly work closely with the company for a small salary and a percentage of the company. this way, they have an incentive to actually get it right and build the company’s valuation.
    Consultants, no matter how good (and few of them are), are mainly interested in upfront fees. So they don’t really care if your company goes bust.
    Of course, if we had some real funding, like a $100 million fund, it’s much easier to do this. You just search the US and Canada for the best startups, and with startup funds, you bring them to Buffalo. With $100 million dollars, we could bring at perhaps 20 of the best newest biotech companies to Buffalo within a year, making it the one of the leading center for biotech in the world. But you have to have those same serial entreprenuers choosing the companies.
    Yes, it’s actually pretty simple. Better yet, it works. And it’s cheaper than continually building new real estate, which is all a new building really is, just real estate. And it creates real jobs and wealth, and a new generation of technology. At that point, Buffalo becomes a magnet for innovation — the best investors, serial entrepreneurs and researchers will come to Buffalo because that’s where the action is. That is what a real innovation ecosystem is.
    The very best innovation ecosystem in the world is Silicon Valley. Guess how many Centers for Excellence the have? None. Accelerators? Not many. Incubators? A few. None of them produce much of value anyway. But if you have a great new idea, where do you go for funding and the expertise to make your company grow? You go there, because they have it all. That’s why it works. They have the money and the talent to make it happen for you.
    Buffalo doesn’t have much of either, and no amount of shiny new buildings is ever going to solve that problem. Or incubators or accerlators, or CoEs. Good lord, if it were that easy, EVERY city would be a Silicon Valley!
    I will be in Buffalo later this month. Please shoot me an email at zltd@earthlink.net Would love to talk!

  • Rand503

    Excellent point. Last year I attened a conference on IT outsourcing in China. I’ve been doing this regularly for at least 12 years or so, and I personally know all the heads of all the major IT outsourcing companies in China.
    I moderated a panel discussion in the city of Wuhan about the future of outsourcing in China. Since there were a lot of students in the audience, my last question was this: If there was one thing more you would like to see from your job applicants and new hires, what would it be? Is there a degree, a personality trait, or a skill that you would like to see more what? what should job applicants be doing that they are not currently doing?
    The very first person to answer said, “We want more students with a musical background.”
    I was floored. This I did NOT expect. why I said? He elaborated: We have plenty of students who will do exactly what they are told to do. But we want to go up the value chain for our clients, and to do that we need to do more than just the task at hand. We need people who will think creatively about a task, come up with better solutions for the client, anticipate their needs, think outside the box, challenge their supervisor and so on. We find that those who have a music background make the very best employees.”
    I asked the others, and they all agreed: Those wil creative arts backgrounds make better employees, and those with music make the very best.
    I have never once mentioned to anyone in China that I happen to teach piano, and have many students who work at tech companies. So I was interested in pursuing this idea.
    Turns out there is a ton of research in the past five years on how music education at an early age reconfigures the brain permanently and creates connections with all the various parts of the brain in a way that only speech and language do. Students who study music are better at math, science and reading than those who do not. (This is really solidly researched, btw).
    More: When you are in your 20s, you think much more creatively than those who do not. the benefits go on and on, and there is no downside.
    At this point, I am advocating that music is a STEM class as much as science or math. (In fact, for about 1000 years, the traditional college curriculum in medieval universities was to study math and then music, then geometry and then astronomy, the Quadrivium, because music was considered a daughter of math, as was architecture.).
    So — music should be taught to all students if you want them to be better at math and science. The proof is actually pretty solid at this point. If we want to educate students to solve the problems of the 21st century, we could do no better than to have everyone learn to play the piano.
    IF our leaders understood this, Buffalo could be the world leader in this type of applied research.

  • Rand503

    Excellent point. Last year I attened a conference on IT outsourcing in China. I’ve been doing this regularly for at least 12 years or so, and I personally know all the heads of all the major IT outsourcing companies in China.
    I moderated a panel discussion in the city of Wuhan about the future of outsourcing in China. Since there were a lot of students in the audience, my last question was this: If there was one thing more you would like to see from your job applicants and new hires, what would it be? Is there a degree, a personality trait, or a skill that you would like to see more what? what should job applicants be doing that they are not currently doing?
    The very first person to answer said, “We want more students with a musical background.”
    I was floored. This I did NOT expect. why I said? He elaborated: We have plenty of students who will do exactly what they are told to do. But we want to go up the value chain for our clients, and to do that we need to do more than just the task at hand. We need people who will think creatively about a task, come up with better solutions for the client, anticipate their needs, think outside the box, challenge their supervisor and so on. We find that those who have a music background make the very best employees.”
    I asked the others, and they all agreed: Those wil creative arts backgrounds make better employees, and those with music make the very best.
    I have never once mentioned to anyone in China that I happen to teach piano, and have many students who work at tech companies. So I was interested in pursuing this idea.
    Turns out there is a ton of research in the past five years on how music education at an early age reconfigures the brain permanently and creates connections with all the various parts of the brain in a way that only speech and language do. Students who study music are better at math, science and reading than those who do not. (This is really solidly researched, btw).
    More: When you are in your 20s, you think much more creatively than those who do not. the benefits go on and on, and there is no downside.
    At this point, I am advocating that music is a STEM class as much as science or math. (In fact, for about 1000 years, the traditional college curriculum in medieval universities was to study math and then music, then geometry and then astronomy, the Quadrivium, because music was considered a daughter of math, as was architecture.).
    So — music should be taught to all students if you want them to be better at math and science. The proof is actually pretty solid at this point. If we want to educate students to solve the problems of the 21st century, we could do no better than to have everyone learn to play the piano.
    IF our leaders understood this, Buffalo could be the world leader in this type of applied research.

  • Rand503

    You certianly don’t need any think tank to pull this off. Heck, even $5 million would probably suffice. within two years, we could have Buffalo leap to the top ranks of biotech industry.
    But it is a lot of work for a few people to do. The work must be focused and sustained for two years. AFter that, it should be self sustaining. One model for this is In-Q-tel, for those who want to do a bit of digging.
    Here’s why whatever I will try is doomed to failure, though. As I said, 98% of all startups are junk. They aren’t going anywhere. So in the entire Buffalo area, there are perhaps just five or so companies worth investing in. (This is true for every region in the country). yet everyone swallows the koolaid and boosterism and insists that most of the startups are great new companies, and if you jus spent ten minutes with them you’ll see that you can invest in them and make a ton of money.
    After we find those five, what next? We need to look outside of Buffalo to the rest of the world to find really good companies and bring them to Buffalo if you want a critical mass of high quality companies. you can do that by investing in the early.
    No one wants to hear that. “You mean we should use New York money and invest it in a Utah company? are you nuts?” “Yes, that is exactly what you do — you find that company and you bring it to Buffalo.” “But Buffalo already has dozens of great companies — they are already here, and they are Buffalonians.” “Yes, but they are junk — they do not have all the elements to succeed.” “Then you don’t understand this, and we will not trust you with our money.”
    So they kick us out the door, and they give the money to a local yokel who will promise to only invest in Buffalo area companies. Within five years, most of those companies are kaput, and the money is all gone. Then the real accusations of political favoritism fly, and everyone vows that they will NEVER do this again. Or, some company gets massive infusions of cash to keep it alive, even though it produces junk technology. So now we have to see results, so all the local governments buy the crap technology to give them contracts and it earns the CEO a hefty salary. So more taxpayer money goes to support a crappy company that can’t sell it’s product to anyone except the locals who invested so much money in it. This will be deemed a huge “success.” The could produce crappy shoes that the gov’t buys to give away because no one will buy them. It employs people who produce the crappy shoes, it builds a huge new factory, and the CEO earns a hefty salary, but it’s all taxpayer money used to keep the game going. This is how countries such as Egypt, Jordan, Bahrain, Ghana, Vietnam and other places do it, and they actually believe they have a real innovation economy, but it’s all just a ponzi scheme using taxpayer money. And by that, I mean US taxpayer money, because it’s us to pay for all that.
    Yes, I’ve seen this happen in many regions around the country. It will likely happen in Buffalo. So much easier than doing it correctly.

  • Rand503

    You certianly don’t need any think tank to pull this off. Heck, even $5 million would probably suffice. within two years, we could have Buffalo leap to the top ranks of biotech industry.
    But it is a lot of work for a few people to do. The work must be focused and sustained for two years. AFter that, it should be self sustaining. One model for this is In-Q-tel, for those who want to do a bit of digging.
    Here’s why whatever I will try is doomed to failure, though. As I said, 98% of all startups are junk. They aren’t going anywhere. So in the entire Buffalo area, there are perhaps just five or so companies worth investing in. (This is true for every region in the country). yet everyone swallows the koolaid and boosterism and insists that most of the startups are great new companies, and if you jus spent ten minutes with them you’ll see that you can invest in them and make a ton of money.
    After we find those five, what next? We need to look outside of Buffalo to the rest of the world to find really good companies and bring them to Buffalo if you want a critical mass of high quality companies. you can do that by investing in the early.
    No one wants to hear that. “You mean we should use New York money and invest it in a Utah company? are you nuts?” “Yes, that is exactly what you do — you find that company and you bring it to Buffalo.” “But Buffalo already has dozens of great companies — they are already here, and they are Buffalonians.” “Yes, but they are junk — they do not have all the elements to succeed.” “Then you don’t understand this, and we will not trust you with our money.”
    So they kick us out the door, and they give the money to a local yokel who will promise to only invest in Buffalo area companies. Within five years, most of those companies are kaput, and the money is all gone. Then the real accusations of political favoritism fly, and everyone vows that they will NEVER do this again. Or, some company gets massive infusions of cash to keep it alive, even though it produces junk technology. So now we have to see results, so all the local governments buy the crap technology to give them contracts and it earns the CEO a hefty salary. So more taxpayer money goes to support a crappy company that can’t sell it’s product to anyone except the locals who invested so much money in it. This will be deemed a huge “success.” The could produce crappy shoes that the gov’t buys to give away because no one will buy them. It employs people who produce the crappy shoes, it builds a huge new factory, and the CEO earns a hefty salary, but it’s all taxpayer money used to keep the game going. This is how countries such as Egypt, Jordan, Bahrain, Ghana, Vietnam and other places do it, and they actually believe they have a real innovation economy, but it’s all just a ponzi scheme using taxpayer money. And by that, I mean US taxpayer money, because it’s us to pay for all that.
    Yes, I’ve seen this happen in many regions around the country. It will likely happen in Buffalo. So much easier than doing it correctly.

  • whatever

    Rand>“98% of all startups are junk. They aren’t going anywhere. So in the entire Buffalo area, there are perhaps just five or so companies worth investing in.

    After we find those five, what next?”

    Well, even about finding those 5…
    Isn’t a big issue that regardless of geography, the NYS govt (just like anyone), or whomever the govt hires to do the choosing, would almost always fail in trying to proactively guess which 2% won’t turn out to be junk?
    To use Buffalo examples – not too very long ago SmartPill was thought by some investors to be in the “2%” worth investing in. Then after some hopefulness for a while, eventually it failed and was sold for a pretty small price to a foreign co who moved its remaining operations to there – the investors lost almost all of their $.
    A few years before that, Nanodynamics was supposedly a hot well-thought-of startup nearing it’s IPO stage (which they even had scheduled at least once), then that started struggling, collapsed and investors lost a lot.
    A successful one to the IPO stage was Synacor. Although since IPO their stock value has had ups and downs, at one pint fallen a lot from $17 to around $5 now – but for sake of discussion let’s say that’s a success. Clearly it’s been much more successful than SmartPill or Nanodynamics. Many investors made a lot of $ if they bought and sold at good times.
    All that is looking backward, but at some point several years ago let’s suppose some investors were deciding among early stage SmartPIll, Nanodynamics, and Synacor – what portion would’ve been brilliant enough to guess perfectly about all 3, that Synacor would end up in the 2% while SmartPIll and Nanodynamics end up in the 98%?
    For private investors, that’s life, but if NYS govt were to use taxpayer $ trying to guess at winners/losers that way… is that a smart thing for govt to be trying to do?

  • whatever

    Rand>“98% of all startups are junk. They aren’t going anywhere. So in the entire Buffalo area, there are perhaps just five or so companies worth investing in.

    After we find those five, what next?”

    Well, even about finding those 5…
    Isn’t a big issue that regardless of geography, the NYS govt (just like anyone), or whomever the govt hires to do the choosing, would almost always fail in trying to proactively guess which 2% won’t turn out to be junk?
    To use Buffalo examples – not too very long ago SmartPill was thought by some investors to be in the “2%” worth investing in. Then after some hopefulness for a while, eventually it failed and was sold for a pretty small price to a foreign co who moved its remaining operations to there – the investors lost almost all of their $.
    A few years before that, Nanodynamics was supposedly a hot well-thought-of startup nearing it’s IPO stage (which they even had scheduled at least once), then that started struggling, collapsed and investors lost a lot.
    A successful one to the IPO stage was Synacor. Although since IPO their stock value has had ups and downs, at one pint fallen a lot from $17 to around $5 now – but for sake of discussion let’s say that’s a success. Clearly it’s been much more successful than SmartPill or Nanodynamics. Many investors made a lot of $ if they bought and sold at good times.
    All that is looking backward, but at some point several years ago let’s suppose some investors were deciding among early stage SmartPIll, Nanodynamics, and Synacor – what portion would’ve been brilliant enough to guess perfectly about all 3, that Synacor would end up in the 2% while SmartPIll and Nanodynamics end up in the 98%?
    For private investors, that’s life, but if NYS govt were to use taxpayer $ trying to guess at winners/losers that way… is that a smart thing for govt to be trying to do?

  • benfranklin

    Wonder what your thought is on Z-80 in Buffalo. I’ve gone to a few functions to see what’s up.
    They apparently have 5 million from an Innovate NY Fund…now, maybe I’m incorrect, but to participate in the Z-80 program, you need to give them 5% equity.
    If to get access to some small part of the Innovate NY 5 million you need to give 5% to a private interest, well…. that doesn’t smell quite right.
    As for start ups in general, I think you’d agree that the company has to hit on so many different levels, that predicting future success is almost impossible. It’s not necessarily the best technology that wins, but a simpler idea that can scale up using cash flow that may never have to turn to capital markets, that makes for some of today’s successes.

  • benfranklin

    Wonder what your thought is on Z-80 in Buffalo. I’ve gone to a few functions to see what’s up.
    They apparently have 5 million from an Innovate NY Fund…now, maybe I’m incorrect, but to participate in the Z-80 program, you need to give them 5% equity.
    If to get access to some small part of the Innovate NY 5 million you need to give 5% to a private interest, well…. that doesn’t smell quite right.
    As for start ups in general, I think you’d agree that the company has to hit on so many different levels, that predicting future success is almost impossible. It’s not necessarily the best technology that wins, but a simpler idea that can scale up using cash flow that may never have to turn to capital markets, that makes for some of today’s successes.

  • Travelrrr

    I have often wondered about that arrangement as well–how does a private enterprise benefit from state subsidies.
    Oh wait–that happens all the time (particularly in Buffalo).
    The state should set up the fund, which makes investments, and reaps the rewards (and replenishes the fund). Pay the incubator for its “services”.

  • Freethrow

    Can’t say I can argue against a single point you raise. Will reach out.

  • Freethrow

    Can’t say I can argue against a single point you raise. Will reach out.

  • https://me.yahoo.com/a/MmKedt8pnYyKx__hc0VBwhGLOhqF#f8920

    Some interesting comments regarding this plan by the state. I understand the cynicism. These days good governance has become a fairly rare commodity in many places. The thing that struck me while reading the comments……..is that many of you sound like you are powerless. I understand the regional council that will implement the plan is in Buffalo. What are you doing to influence the implementation of the plan by reaching out to the council? The only way citizens get what they want is by demanding it of their leaders. And when those leaders ignore them, getting new ones to take their place. Its really that simple in a democracy.

  • https://me.yahoo.com/a/MmKedt8pnYyKx__hc0VBwhGLOhqF#f8920

    Some interesting comments regarding this plan by the state. I understand the cynicism. These days good governance has become a fairly rare commodity in many places. The thing that struck me while reading the comments……..is that many of you sound like you are powerless. I understand the regional council that will implement the plan is in Buffalo. What are you doing to influence the implementation of the plan by reaching out to the council? The only way citizens get what they want is by demanding it of their leaders. And when those leaders ignore them, getting new ones to take their place. Its really that simple in a democracy.

  • sonyactivision

    A city that can’t wean itself from the federal/state umbilical cord will never succeed. Already the usual suspects are scratching for their cut like battery chickens in cages.

  • bfrankvs1

    Washington, DC has a higher per capita income, higher percentage of college-educated residents, and higher population growth rate than any state in the country. By any measure, it has the wealthiest and best educated metropolitan region in America. Tens of thousands of ambitious young people move to the Washington area each year, all looking for jobs that directly or indirectly come from the federal government.
    Huntsville, Alabama used to be a washed-up backwater town, known only for growing cotton and watercress. In World War II, the federal government started locating army facilities there, and then later, NASA. Today, Huntsville is a major center for US government aerospace and defense contracting, and a business-friendly high-tech hub.
    If only places like Washington and Huntsville could “wean” themselves from the federal umbilical cord, all of their economic problems would be solved, right?
    A lot of people seem to use the comments forum here to push their political opinions. This site is about Buffalo, not whether you think government taxing and spending is the root of all evil. The reason that Buffalo has struggled has almost everything to do with a shifting economic structure, and very little to do with the fact that the city occasionally receives government funds.
    If you want to say that mis-spending of these funds is a problem (and you did imply that in your second sentence), or that Buffalo simply doesn’t currently have the human or physical capital necessary to succeed, I suppose you might have a point. But to say that the city is somehow crippled by government spending is pretty silly. Step back from the Fox News and look at the evidence.

  • bfrankvs1

    Washington, DC has a higher per capita income, higher percentage of college-educated residents, and higher population growth rate than any state in the country. By any measure, it has the wealthiest and best educated metropolitan region in America. Tens of thousands of ambitious young people move to the Washington area each year, all looking for jobs that directly or indirectly come from the federal government.
    Huntsville, Alabama used to be a washed-up backwater town, known only for growing cotton and watercress. In World War II, the federal government started locating army facilities there, and then later, NASA. Today, Huntsville is a major center for US government aerospace and defense contracting, and a business-friendly high-tech hub.
    If only places like Washington and Huntsville could “wean” themselves from the federal umbilical cord, all of their economic problems would be solved, right?
    A lot of people seem to use the comments forum here to push their political opinions. This site is about Buffalo, not whether you think government taxing and spending is the root of all evil. The reason that Buffalo has struggled has almost everything to do with a shifting economic structure, and very little to do with the fact that the city occasionally receives government funds.
    If you want to say that mis-spending of these funds is a problem (and you did imply that in your second sentence), or that Buffalo simply doesn’t currently have the human or physical capital necessary to succeed, I suppose you might have a point. But to say that the city is somehow crippled by government spending is pretty silly. Step back from the Fox News and look at the evidence.

  • Buffalobooster7

    Broadway market needs a facelift and a park nearby.Perhaps even a linear park to the Central Terminal area.The land certainly cheap enough to start something.

  • Buffalobooster7

    Broadway market needs a facelift and a park nearby.Perhaps even a linear park to the Central Terminal area.The land certainly cheap enough to start something.

  • JessicaRay

    American economy isn’t in its best condition these days and it’s time when it especially needs care an investments. It’s very important to make investments in economical prosperity and job creating because high unemployment rate is still one of the most actual problems. We have a huge debt but I believe that if government will choose the right strategy then it will be possible to boost economical recovery. Lots of people across the United States use credit cards and paydayloans to stay afloat because of low income and lack of decent jobs so we need changes urgently.

  • JessicaRay

    American economy isn’t in its best condition these days and it’s time when it especially needs care an investments. It’s very important to make investments in economical prosperity and job creating because high unemployment rate is still one of the most actual problems. We have a huge debt but I believe that if government will choose the right strategy then it will be possible to boost economical recovery. Lots of people across the United States use credit cards and paydayloans to stay afloat because of low income and lack of decent jobs so we need changes urgently.