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« Down on the data farm | Main | Injustice in Edenton »

Jan 14, 2014


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"Maybe GSO should be trying to nurture something like Germany’s Mittelstand – the vast network of smaller firms that are a major part that country’s economic success."


Peggy Hickle

Having just finished reading The Circle by Dave Eggers, the mere thought of huge tech companies is the monster under my bed right now. I'm sure I'll get over that -- just like the kool-aid drinking characters in the book. ;)


I'm happy this conversation is beginning.

Peggy Hickle

Editors note: This comment and the one it responded to redacted; please keep comments on topic. Thanks!


I am not sure why my previous comment was redacted but it was largely an expression of agreement with the post... that many smaller companies would better serve Greensboro than a very few large companies.

Ed Cone

Sorry for the quick trigger finger, Nitwit -- I'm going to keep a tighter rein on comments from now on. I tried the community-policing free-for-all for 11 years, and it does not work. Not a matter of agree or disagree, actually couldn't tell what you were trying to say, so deemed it off-topic and boom. Again, apologies.

Bill Bush

The whale idea has the sort of drama that greeted Caldwell's Google project, but like textiles and furniture, being focused on a whale means that if the whale dies, it washes up, stinks, and leaves a massive mess. At one point, Caldwell was admitting 15%+ unemployment, while locals told me it was more like 20 - 25 in reality . If we could have the smaller companies, we would not be so subject to the upheavals that came when, for example, furniture and textiles as we knew them died in Caldwell. I asked a sock mill owner in Hickory if his outlet shop would not do well to stock locally made underwear as a complementary product, and he told me the last underwear mill in Catawba had been dissassembled and shipped to Mexico. I suppose the textile industry there was a whale made up of smaller fish, but all very closely related and ending in mass die-off. Diversification! If this is too obvious and needs deletion, I won't be offended.

Ed Cone

A data center itself is not the kind of whale that changes an economy like ours -- that would be more like an auto plant, which brings a lot of support jobs as well. Definitely value in diversification, and risk to over-dependence on one industry, but I'd be fine with big automaker coming here.

One other thing about local companies -- if they do grow big, the HQ is here, and HQs are valuable.

David Hoggard

Here's a potential midget whale...

Double Hung, LLC is poised for tremendous growth in 2014. We are, for the uninitiated, a 13 year-old company that restores historic windows (and doors) throughout a large swath of the the Southeastern US (and beyond).

We are historic preservation. Specialized, passionate, driven and well respected in the niche of preservation trades.

A group of investors, bored of making money off of other money, think we - as a true, labor intensive trade - smell pretty good and want to expand on the idea. Based around the nucleus of my company, we are looking to create a community of historic preservation tradesmen (masons, roofers, plasterers, landscapers, mill working, wood wrights, etc) within a compact 'campus' somewhere in the vicinity. Been laying the groundwork for months.

THAT is the model, I think. Pods of small niche market companies who are inter-related. A labor force that creates value with their hands.

I'll keep you posted as we progress.

Jeff Deal

David, I can't help but think there could be real demand for a preservation/construction-oriented incubator-type facility that would offer shared/flexible shop/storage/yard space in addition to office space and other shared resources (industry-specific IT solutions, wide-format scanning/copying, etc.) that would otherwise be unaffordable to a small/upstart company. Does that sound like what you're planning?


Putting all of our eggs in one basket means they all crack at the same time. See e.g., Dell, the textile industry, etc.

Smaller, more diverse is better. But let's not forget that in order for small businesses to survive, we can't saddle them with costs. The macro affects the micro.

Hopefully EC Ver. 2.0 keeps it above board and we can save the snark for Facebook.

Andrew Brod

Sheesh, still a dick.

As it happens, I've read a few pieces recently about data centers in online mags that are, if anything, pro-data center. And even they don't claim there's much job creation. They point to what appears to be the only real advantage: expanding local tax revenue. That's a big plus for towns like Lenoir and Maiden: schools get funded, roads get repaired, etc. But for Greensboro, one would think that we have other options that would expand the tax base AND create jobs. If we don't, then that's really depressing.

Billy Jones

Andrew, Burlington isn't going to get suckered into the deal. Having now seen the study that was presented to Burlington I can tell you that with confidence. That will make it necessary for Greensboro to provide the water to Project Haystack. Being that Greensboro currently uses less water today than Greensboro used in 1990 and that Greensboro is under contract to buy 53% of the water from the Randalman Dam I suspect that was the plan all along. It's not about jobs, it's about selling water and not defaulting on the Dam bonds.


I guess my hope is already sunk. First comment back and Andrew is already calling Ed a dick.


"it's about selling water and not defaulting on the Dam bonds."

Watch your language, Billy!

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