City Envy

3 July 2004

The Memphis Manifesto continues to list all the places that are to be preferred over Memphis for one reason or another. Most of the time this is measured based upon the number of creative people or businesses that exist in a given metro area. Here’s a copy of the Manifesto.

I’m sure I’m not enlightened enough to understand all of this, but it seems that when your mayor is under investigation by the FBI, your city may have bigger problems than its artistic headcount.

One of the biggest challenges I have faced trying to do business in Memphis is its apparent lack of sophistication. I don’t mean the kind of snobbery that masquerades as sophistication. I’m talking about tools, techniques and approaches that involve something more than good ’ol boy methods. Were I attempting to illustrate this with an example, I’d compare the old shop-keeper who simply reorders what he sells each day as a means of inventory control. Contrast this with automated techniques for running linear algebra problems that can lead to truly optimized inventory and profit management results.

Memphis businesses lean on the older methods in many, many cases. To the extent that ”creative people” can bring with them the sophistication, I’m all for the effort to build that talent base. Remember, this absence of sophistication is why I travel.

Here’s one more example. Ephraim Schwartz has written An Automated Audit for Infoworld’s June 28, 2004 issue. The contents of that article are probably important to no more than one hundred individuals in Memphis. Of that group, we’ll find they are concentrated at one or two big banks, a hospital and FedEx.

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