In the classic Monty Python movie, “Life of Brian,” there’s a terrific song, “Always Look on the Bright Side of Life.” It’s a catchy tune, and probably an effective mantra. Whenever I hear it, I end up smiling. Of course optimism alone, without a solid foundation, won’t help a company to succeed – but having a positive attitude can help (even if it didn’t help poor Brian in the end of his movie). While having a negative attitude – dismissing these facts as the work of a “starry-eyed optimist” – is precisely the sort of cynicism that plagued Europe back in the early’90s; and it was a lack of cynicism in the U.S. that helped this country become an economic powerhouse.
Here are some other foundation points about the U.S. economy:
- American Public Media’s “Marketplace Tech” just reported about “New York’s tech industry booms.” Notice that – booms, plural. The Marketplace article notes that “Steve Case, the founder of AOL, calls the tech scene in lower Manhattan nothing less than a revolution. Because even though Mark Zuckerberg and his hoodie are firmly ensconced in Northern California, technology startups are all over the place in the Big Apple.”
- Cited in the Marketplace story is a May 2012 study commissioned by the Center for an Urban Future, which found, “Riding a wave of start-ups, New York has emerged as a national leader in fields that leverage the Internet and mobile technologies—a development that has provided a key economic boost and left the city well positioned for future tech growth.” You can find more good news in the study, entitled New Tech City. Among the key findings:
- In the last five years, information technology jobs in the city have increased by 28.7 percent, from 41,100 to 52,900.
- Nearly half (47 percent) of the 298 tech start-ups on New York Tech Meetup’s “Made in New York City” list indicated that they are currently hiring in April 2012.
- In a recent Fortune article, irreverent columnist Stanley Bing wrote, “If the downturn is receding, why is my mood indigo?” – touching on the point of this blog series. How does Bing know the economy has recovered: “Also the hedge fund guys personally made billions of dollars last year. Billions! That’s gotta be evidence of a recovery. A few years ago those guys were making only hundreds of millions. Now they’re back.”
- The Conference Board Measure of CEO Confidence increased to “63, up from 49 in Q4 2011. More notable is that “a reading of more than 50 points reflects more positive than negative responses” – so CEOs just moved into positive territory last quarter.
More good news next time.
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