On Innovation

“But what should our pursuit of innovation actually accomplish? By one definition, innovation is an important new product or process, deployed on a large scale and having a significant impact on society and the economy, that can do a job (as Mr. Kelly once put it) “better, or cheaper, or both.” Regrettably, we now use the term to describe almost anything. It can describe a smartphone app or a social media tool; or it can describe the transistor or the blueprint for a cellphone system. The differences are immense. One type of innovation creates a handful of jobs and modest revenues; another, the type Mr. Kelly and his colleagues at Bell Labs repeatedly sought, creates millions of jobs and a long-lasting platform for society’s wealth and well-being.”

From Jon Gertner’s piece in the NY Times about Bell Labs and the miracle of innovation.

Brooklyn, arenas, Tampa Rays Baseball & The Future…

The New Jersey Nets supposedly plan to move to a brand new arena in Brooklyn. While the owner of the team continues to plunge a team that was pretty irrelevant into further doldrums by leaving them as a lame duck while he waits to build a new arena in the middle of Brooklyn, he keeps pushing the myth he’ll be able to build his skyscrapers with the arena as the centerpiece by 2010.

I’ve maintained since Day 1 that it would never happen and so far, Bruce RATner has yet to make a liar out of me. With the slowing real estate market and inability to get massive amounts of treasury bonds needs to finance his fantasy, it’s becoming even more likely that he’ll sell the team and leave a big gaping hole in the ground at the old Atlantic rail yards in Brooklyn.

But alas, what do you think will happen? Well, as that team in South Florida that no one wants to watch fails to get a new stadium built for them, their New York-based owner will get restless and with his team’s value having soared massively, MLB and Bud Selig will get the idea of putting the team in Brooklyn. You say, “that can never happen?!” I say, “just you wait.”

Hank Steinbrenner isn’t his dad and with all of the tax incentives they got, it’s not as if a new team in Brooklyn will HURT their business, it might just help. Perhaps the new team will be prevented from creating its own cable network as the Mets and Yankees have and perhaps the new team will be forced to broadcast their games on the channels of both in some sort of strange split distribution deal.

But you better believe that the deal will get done and the ghosts of ol’ Ebbets Field will be stirred up again as a new baseball stadium gets put in the same spot where Bruce RATner thought he could put a basketball arena for a team that’s been largely irrelevant since its inception.

Where will the Nets go?

Newark, where they should’ve been all along.

Any irony that the White Sox have been playing the team in Tampa that plays in the stadium that would’ve been theirs, had they been allowed to move in 1991?

Lifestyles of the not-quite-as-rich

The unintentional hilarity of this article from the NY Times on the hard times that the wealthy are facing in this economy cannot be overstated.

THEIR spouses could leave them when they discover that their net worth has collapsed to eight figures from nine. Friends and business associates could avoid them as they pass their lunchtime tables at Barney’s or the Four Seasons. And these snubs could trickle down to their children.

“They fear their kids won’t get invited to the right birthday parties,” said Michele Kleier, an Upper East Side-based real estate broker. “If they have to give up things that are invisible, they’re O.K. as long as they don’t have give up things visible to the outside world.”

So New York’s very wealthy are addressing their distress in discreet and often awkward ways. They try to move their $165 sessions with personal trainers to a time slot that they know is already taken. They agree to tour multimillion-dollar apartments and then say the spaces don’t match their specifications. They apply for a line of credit before art auctions, supposedly to buy a painting or a sculpture, but use that borrowed money to pay other debts.

Oh, it’s surely a glimpse into a world most folks won’t get anywhere near, much less understand or appreciate. I think it probably shows “hey, times are hard everywhere” or at least, that’s the attempt here. I’m not sure how well the execution is, though.