Which Candidate Can Get Us Out of This Mess? None of Them

by francine Hardaway on April 24, 2008

‘m up here in the Bay Area this week, having (or is it “taking”) some
meetings, attending Web 2.0 Expo, and doing some other business.
Unfortunately, I missed NewComm Forum, the other conference I was
supposed to attend today, because when I came home from Moscone West
last night, I had a fever and barfed. Flu. Not going anywhere today.

Which gave me unexpected free time, with practically my only option
being to think.

What is there to think about up here? Innovation, of course. While in
Arizona everything revolves around real estate, even in a down market,
in the Bay Area, everything seems to revolve around innovation. I’m
watching the local News, and there are three segments in a row about

–there’s a new CO2 laser that cuts down the recovery time in laser
resurfacing. It’s called the “dot” technique, and it leaves unbroken
skin between patches of re-surfaced skin, which allows skin to heal more

–there’s a new technology that helps non-verbal autism sufferers to
make themselves understood. It’s like a little Leappad, and if the child
presses on a picture, it tells the caregiver what he or she wants. It
cuts down the tremendous frustration autistic children feel about not
being able to make themselves understood

–there’s a new Lasik technique that apparently gives better surgical
results, and a new longitudinal study to determine what the true risks
are of the surgery.

The local NBC station even has an ecological reporter, who is talking
about the carbon footprint of what and how we eat. In a real restaurant,
where we eat off china and use flatware, we’re being sustainable. But
paper plates and disposable packaging? Not sustainable. Most of the
paper goods used by fast food companies are not recyclable because they
are coated.

The local news in San Francisco has a lot of the “WOW” factor. It’s not
just a re-telling of the latest shootings, pool drownings, and bank
robberies in town.

California has a crummy housing market, too. In fact, foreclosures here
are up 300%. On my block alone, there have been two short sales, which
will of course bring down the value of my own home.
But people don’t sit around talking about the real estate market all the
time. It resides (bad pun) in the background, rather than the
foreground, as it does in Arizona.

Conversation in Phoenix is all about the bottom. Are we there yet? When
will it happen? When will things turn around? You would think people had
nothing else to think about. It will turn around when we stop talking
about it and feeding the fear.

Actually, there’s plenty else to think about. Rice is being rationed in
Costco and Sam’s Clubs, and Brazil and VietNam and Korea have chosen to
quit exporting. The price of rice has gone up 140% since January. Food
rationing in the United States — unheard of but happening. More to

The price of food has gone up about 13% in the past year.

And in preparation for tomorrow’s price rise of 22 cents a gallon of gas
on the New Jersey Turnpike , there were long gas lines tonight as
drivers tried to save $3.00.

That’s true in California, too. It’s one of the most expensive states in
which to live. Gas here is easily $4.15 a gallon.

But the emphasis on innovation continues. And I think that’s what I like
about it here. I believe, as I always have, that innovation is the key
to getting us out of the recession/depression we are now in. Not
government. Not stimulus packages. Not handwringing. Not corporate jobs.

There’s pain in America now, and when there’s pain, there’s a market
opportunity for solutions. Think of this pain as an opportunity. Go out
and do something new.


{ 2 comments… read them below or add one }

Jack Kessler April 26, 2008 at 12:54 pm

In Defense of Bachelor Barbarians

One point is that paper plates save water and natural gas and soap and food debris in the water, which would are used when crockery dishes are washed.

Another point is that pursuant to Mme. Hardaway’s urging, some manufacturers have already begun innovating by marketing uncoated paper plates. These are labelled “compostable” because they are. The downside is that, being uncoated, they soak through and leak so one has to use more of them.

What is wanted is real innovation — paper plates with a compostable coating. Still not avaiable.

francine hardaway April 26, 2008 at 1:23 pm

I know. It’s as if we jack up one side and the other falls down!

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