Friday, August 13, 2010

Googler writes interesting Michigan Expats post

Michigan Expats - Commentary - See All Commentary

By Mr Sig

Know Y: Michigan, The Nation's ex

Concentrate media has an interesting article written by a Googler (see link above).  As some of you know, Google has a lot of ties to Michigan, most notably Google co-founder Larry Page.  One can imagine that he is the main reason for Google's office in Ann Arbor.  The author makes some interesting points about what draws us to Michigan, but also offers some suggestions to her former home.

Job diversification. I didn't want to "dump" Michigan. It had so many qualities that I was looking for in a homebase -- save one.  Selfishly, that turned out to be my career growth. As Gen Y'ers figure out their next career moves, we need to encourage a range of businesses with an enticing array of jobs. Easier said than done, but if this is a wish list, economic livelihood tops it.
A dynamic downtown. We lack discovery of new places, and I don't think the fact that Ann Arbor's a small town is an excuse. Give us something to explore and keep the chains out. Create more opportunities for innovative and surprising businesses, organizations, events, and entertainment to take root. If Ypsi can hold a puppet-hosted mayoral debate, surely A2 can too.
Knock off the "Us vs. Them" development wars. Before I left, I participated in a few meetings where young people discussed development issues coming before council. The tone was hopeful, but felt combative. The general sentiment was that older residents liked how things were, just as they are, and had the time and resources to fight like hell to keep it that way. We need to open the discussion -- that's right, "discussion', not "argument'. A stronger acknowledgment from city government that young professionals' interests are being considered would be a welcome start.

 Most of this is directed toward Ann Arbor, but how do her suggestions sit with you?


  1. I think her comment about the "us vs them" mentality is really insightful. Also, I think that as some "expats" begin to return, that gap will widen. Almost self-evidently, those who stayed in Michigan might not see certain aspects as "problems" per se, unlike the expats who obviously left for a reason. I guess that's a complicated way of saying those who stayed are increasingly going to be looking for different things from those who are considering leaving/have already left. That is only going to exacerbate the problem.

  2. I think Flint is ready for new and younger ideas, instead of doing everything the old way. So many of the old things we loved and grieved about have been gone for long enough that we're learning to be glad about all the new activities. Our mayor is young (younger than I am). and the people working in development don't seem to be stuck in the "good old days" rut. Higher education is a growing enterprise in Flint, so younger people are in town. Many of these students are increasingly invested in serving the community, either as part of their academic program or as volunteer work. In Flint, I'm hopeful that these positive developments will only gain momentum.