Local techies split in election preference
November 1, 2004
BY MICHAEL KRAUSS
Chicago area tech folk
are as varied in their views about the presidential election as
any sector. Here's a sampling.
Entrepreneurial Center President David Weinstein sees high stakes.
"If Kerry wins, you will see more money in venture initiatives
in underserved communities and the creation of a Small Business
Opportunity Fund. If Bush wins, we can expect yearly budget shortages
at the SBA and emphasis on tax cuts to stimulate small business
investment. Either way you lean, both campaigns have placed a
spotlight on small business growth and entrepreneurship."
will presumably be high under Kerry," says Steve Kaplan,
entrepreneurship professor at the University of Chicago Graduate
School of Business. "That's not a good thing for entrepreneurs
and the private equity business. It's going to reduce incentives
to do entrepreneurial things, and there's less money for investment."
a Kerry victory means larger government, more regulation and a
powerful plaintiff's bar. "The positive for Kerry is you
get a divided government. It puts a brake on spending," he
President Alison Chung will be glad the election is past. "Regardless
who wins, the election will help entrepreneurship, the venture
communities and the technology industry. The turmoil created by
a close election will be over. People will come together, be less
partisan and more focused on their businesses," Chung says.
"Calmer politics makes for more confident financial markets."
Venture Capital Association Chair Robert Finkel agrees with Chung:
"Post election, no matter the balance of power, the legislative
agenda gets cleansed and reprioritized. That tends to be a good
thing for the small business economy that private equity professionals
support. Creating wealth, an increased tax base and more high-skilled
jobs are bipartisan aspirations."
business school professor Linda Salchenberger worries about global
competition and job losses. "The next administration must
aggressively invest in programs to develop a highly skilled workforce
capable of creating innovation to keep us competitive in the global
economy," Salchenberger says. "We cannot afford an administration
that ignores the growing educated and highly skilled workforces
in places like India and China." Salchenberger proposes a
new national effort like the space race of the 1960s to reinvigorate
Sr., CEO of Blackwell Consulting, a leading technology services
provider, says, "From a technology business perspective,
I don't see that there's a lot of gain or a lot of loss depending
on who wins. If you were to ask me about other issues, I'd have
managing director of Dunrath Capital, a private equity firm, is
confident Democrat Barack Obama will win the U.S. Senate seat
in Illinois, and adds, "It's good for the country that Barack
is going to win. It's excellent for entrepreneurs and the venture
capital community because he understands what we're about."
From the sound
of things, tech folks will turn out to vote.
Word is Wired
magazine's Victor Friedberg hit town last week to seal the deal
on locating Wired's emerging technologies fair, NextFest2005,
at Navy Pier in June. World Business Chicago's Dan Lyne and PR21's
Susanna Homan were critical to winning the event. Northwestern
University computer science professor Kris Hammond has also been
working behind the scenes to snag the event for our town. It's
a solid win for Chicago, and a great venue to showcase our emerging
Sr. visits Chicago Friday to speak at Mayor Daley's CEOs for
Cities meeting. The group gathers elected officials, top business
leaders and academics to discuss policies that advocate for urban
Moroney, CIO of Health Care Service Corp., was named CIO of
the Year by the Executives Club and the Association Information
maven Andy Sernovitz announces he's CEO of the new Word
of Mouth Marketing Association (www.wo-mma.com) based here.
The association promotes the use of viral marketing techniques.
Ferro's Click Commerce was named to the Technology Fast 50
list by Deloitte & Touche. This is the fourth year the firm's
been on this high growth list.
Krauss is a Chicago-based tech writer and consultant.