The Sea Change in Enterprise IT: Social

An open secret about the Cape Fear area is how many techies here work not at small boutique IT shops or local businesses but at employers like Cisco, IBM, SAS, Yahoo, HP.

These large organizations are all grappling with the incredible changes being wrought by the web–by new collaborative technologies, new media habits, social networking. My own employer–one of these listed here–has published some “social computing guidelines” to help organize our thinking around our sometimes very public roles as technologists and our sometimes very private data–company plans and product information, business practices, that sort of thing.

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NC Tax Policy Changes and Economic Development

Historically, NC has been a manufacturing intensive state and the tax code was built around that framework. In recent years, NC has lost a large extent of the manufacturing segment to overseas. However, it is worth noting that some high-tech manufacturing segments and industries are showing strength. As the state likes to publicize, NC has experienced substantial growth in the service and technology (whether Information Technology or Life Sciences) industries. It is worth noting as background information that both the corporate and individual income tax rate currently fall around 7%.

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Invest in Urban Living

“. . . urban living was far from dead. Instead, the American economy began to reinvent itself in cities, as they became cleaner, greener, safer, more prosperous, more fun.”
–Kevin Baker; October 6, 2012 in the New York Times

Quick. Name your top ten suburbs in the United States. Now name your top ten cities. While your list of the top ten cities may be different from mine, at least you have one. My point is Mr. Baker’s quote accurately suggests the innovation and energy of today’s cities may be leading a recovery for the American economy and the American entrepreneurial spirit. Too grandiose of an idea for our Port City? Maybe not.

A walk around downtown at almost any time of day or night suggests that urban Wilmington may be reinventing itself to meet today’s challenges. The Port City is cleaner, greener, safer, more prosperous, and more fun for more people than ever before. New businesses who consider Wilmington want a thriving downtown so let’s take a look at what we have to offer.

8:55am Thursday morning: Cars surge into the parking decks from Front and Market Street along with the well-dressed lawyer or banker who walks next to the more casually dressed Cape Fear Community College student. Chances are the commute for both the business professional and the college student was a lot shorter and a lot greener than a trip from a far reaching suburb to a distant office park. In fact some of the college kids are having fun on a skateboard as they go to class.

Coffee shops are filled with students, artists, and business people either getting a cup to go or sitting at tables with their lap tops open and cell phones pressed to their ears. Many are using the coffee shop as a de facto office and cutting their overhead costs.

12:17pm Friday afternoon: Brightly dressed tourists stroll up and down the River Walk and then fill downtown’s restaurants for a leisurely lunch before they take a ride on a carriage or a Segway through the historic district. And while tourism helps downtown trade to prosper, tables filed with men and women enjoying the “power lunch” suggest work is going on alongside the vacationers who come to the Port City. In fact, walking from work to have lunch with your colleague across the hall or a potential client from down the street is part of the energy that helps give downtown Wilmington a buzz (it’s not just the coffee shops on every corner).

7pm Friday evening: The weekend has begun and the energy from the business lunches has given way to the energy of artists, theatre goers, music, and more good eats. Galleries are open and the wine is flowing as locals and tourists of all ages mingle in the many art spaces downtown. Music from Downtown Sundown along the river front confirms that the weekend has started and the restaurants are again doing a brisk business from locals and tourists alike.

11:30pm still Friday night: Improvements to the lighting and sidewalks on northern Front Street illuminate just how much fun everyone is having. The crowds are watched over by mounted police and show that urban Wilmington is prosperous after 5pm.

Can urban Wilmington be even cleaner, greener, and more prosperous? Of course. Investments in better streets, a riverfront park with green space, and greater infrastructure improvements will help bring the intellectual capital to downtown that generates new businesses, more money, and more tax revenue for a more prosperous Wilmington.

So support your city. Invest in downtown, enjoy yourself, and invest in the future of Wilmington.

Coworx opens third Wilmington location

Coworx opens third Wilmington location.

From the Wilmington Business Journal:

A Wilmington-based flex office space leader is opening new digs in the heart of the Port City.

Coworx officials on Wednesday opened its newest location in Barclay Commons, 2512 Independence Blvd. in Suite 202, according to a news release. Coworx at Barcaly Commons is currently taking reservations, and has rented 25 percent of the location’s private office suites.