Manufacturing Techonomy Detroit

China’s Auto Export Drive Sputters in Detroit

(Image via Shutterstock)

A slew of year-end news about China’s auto industry is shining a spotlight on the tough times that domestic car makers are facing not only at home but also abroad as they grapple with tough competition and other market factors. Domestic nameplates like Geely, Chery, and BYD have steadily lost share in their home market over the last few years to big foreign names like GM and Volkswagen, but posted strong export gains as they looked to overseas markets to partly offset the declines at home. But now even the export picture is looking bleak, with the latest word that no Chinese car makers will attend the industry-leading North American International Auto Show in Detroit this week.   More

Cities Techonomy Detroit

Pittsburgh and Detroit: From Industry to Innovation

Cathy Lewis Long, founding executive director of The Sprout Fund in Pittsburgh, met with us at our Techonomy Detroit conference to talk about the Steel City and how it compares with the Motor City. Both places, she said, have a "spirit and legacy of innovation" and a special way of sneaking up on people. "[Detroit's| so exciting and it's that same 'ah-ha!' moment that people get when they come to Pittsburgh," she said. Both cities, too, are heavily focused on reimagining their futures. "Detroit is at a palpable moment now to propel forward," Lewis Long said.   More

Jobs Techonomy Detroit Video

McKinsey’s Susan Lund on Tomorrow’s Workforce

At our recent Techonomy Detroit conference, McKinsey Global Institute director of research Susan Lund shared a worrisome statistic: today four out of five U.S. college graduates can't find work in their field of study. So how can we get more graduating students into the workforce? According to Lund, we need a radical rethink of American education. "The basic way we educate kids hasn't really changed in a hundred years," Lund said. "And what's needed today are workers of all different sorts, but with more skills."   More

Manufacturing Techonomy Detroit Video

Etsy CEO Chad Dickerson on Maker Culture

Etsy represents a new way of connecting handcraft makers to buyers, but it's rooted in an age-old tradition. As Etsy CEO Chad Dickerson put it, "We represent something really fundamental about humanity: the making of things." At our Techonomy Detroit conference, Dickerson explained what draws people into the maker movement, and how it's going global.   More

Startup Culture Techonomy Detroit Video

Venture for America’s Yang Calls Detroit an Innovation Hub

Winning innovators don’t depend on the market for opportunities; they innovate their way into them. So says Venture for America founder Andrew Yang, who talked with us at our Techonomy Detroit conference about the need for more innovation and why Detroit can help spark it. “We need to get more smart people building things. We need to get more of our talented working to solve the problems of the day,” he said, adding that Detroit's access to talent, resources, and customers to put it at the forefront of tech entrepreneurship in coming years.   More

Startup Culture Techonomy Detroit Video

Policy Should Support Micro-Entrepreneurs, Says Etsy’s Dickerson

At our Techonomy Detroit conference, Etsy CEO Chad Dickerson talked to us about the need for policymakers to treat micro-entrepreneurs as small businesses. "The idea that you can start a business literally on Etsy by listing an item which costs 20 cents is really powerful," he said. Dickerson discussed how policymakers can create opportunities for micro-entrepreneurs in what he calls the "new world" of platform-enabled businesses.   More

Business Techonomy Detroit Video

How Detroit Can Compete Globally

If you ask Michael A. Finney if Detroit is going to become a tech hub, he'll tell you to look around—Detroit already is a tech hub. "Detroit is loaded with technology," the Michigan Economic Development Corporation CEO said. Finney, appointed by Michigan's Governor Rick Snyder, talked with us at our recent Techonomy Detroit conference about Detroit's talent-driven infrastructure, from community and business leaders to universities, companies, and the auto industry. "It's a question of building on all the great strengths we have right now in the auto sector and extending it into other sectors," Finney said, calling Detroit "an ideal location for future development."   More

Manufacturing Techonomy Detroit Video

Rodney Brooks on Cars as Robots

How many people have operated their own robot? A lot more than you might think, Rethink Robotics founder and CTO Rodney Brooks would say. "I tell everyone, 'You're driving around inside a robot, and 10 years from now it's going to become an even smarter robot,'" Brooks told us at our Techonomy Detroit conference. "Cars are the epicenter, actually, of robotics." Brooks also elaborated on how easy-to-use robots are in a position to transform the manufacturing industry, making it more efficient, more localized, and less generic--a potential boon for cities like Detroit.   More

Learning Techonomy Detroit Video

“Help Kids Dream Big,” Says Teach For America’s Annis Stubbs

A "prerequisite of being a kid" is dreaming big, says Annis Stubbs, executive director of Teach For America - Detroit. Our challenge is providing students with an education system capable of supporting their big dreams—a system that distributes resources equally, educates the child as a whole, and empowers students to execute on their ideas. At the Techonomy Detroit conference, Stubbs talked about her vision of a reinvigorated education system. "Everything starts with an idea," she said. "We need to help figure out how to ensure that our kids feel good about expressing their ideas and they feel confident enough to have these big ideas."   More

E-Commerce Techonomy Detroit Video

Etsy CEO Chad Dickerson: My Favorite Etsy Purchase

At our recent Techonomy Detroit conference, we presented Etsy CEO Chad Dickerson with a tough question: What was his own favorite Etsy purchase? The head of the Brooklyn-based handcraft e-marketplace struggled to narrow down his top buys to just one favorite, quipping "It's like children. Which one is your favorite child?" So what item did Dickerson end up picking? Hint: It saw its beginnings as a leather jacket, an army tent, and an army kit bag.   More

Manufacturing Techonomy Detroit Video

Roboticist Rodney Brooks on How Automation Helps Makers

Rodney Brooks, founder and CTO of Rethink Robotics, joined us at our Techonomy Detroit conference to talk about the intersection between robotics and the maker movement. Robots like Rethink's Baxter offer small industries a tool to make workers more productive. But because Baxter operates on a software platform, it also benefits from users who think of new functionality and specializations for the robot. "There's going to be some kids out there who come up with some ideas that we would never have thought of in a million years," Brooks said. Those users may in turn use Baxter for smaller scale, maker oriented production.   More

Cities Techonomy Detroit Video

Etsy CEO Chad Dickerson on the Next Wave of Tech Hubs

Does adding "Silicon" before a community's name make it a better place for tech? Etsy CEO Chad Dickerson would answer with a resounding "No," saying the practice is one of his personal pet peeves. Dickerson talked at Techonomy Detroit about how cities like Detroit can remain authentic by embracing their unique identities. "Every city should try to be itself," he said, noting that part of Detroit's heritage is its long history of innovation and making things. "Detroit has that maker culture really baked into the city."   More

Cities Techonomy Detroit Video

Etsy CEO Dickerson on Entrepreneurship in One Illinois City

What happens when you combine a Midwestern mayor with a leading-edge CEO and stir in a timely Tweet about building an entrepreneurial economy? You get "the Internet at its best," says Etsy CEO Chad Dickerson, who spoke with us at our recent Techonomy Detroit conference about the partnership that's creating new entrepreneurs in Rockford, Illinois. Where does the program go from here? The possibilities seem limitless. "It's really reconnecting with the idea that we can overcome cynicism, that literally we can do anything," said Dickerson.   More

Techonomy Detroit

This Native Detroiter Feels the Pull of Home

From left, David Kirkpatrick, Jack Dorsey, Scott Moloney, Catherine Kelly, Alex Southern

In the days since Techonomy Detroit, I'm more hopeful about my hometown than I have been since I left for New York to go to Columbia University 30 years ago. Yet before I headed to the conference, when I joked with media and tech pals that I was on my way to “the Paris of Southeastern Michigan,” I’d get a laugh or a look of grave concern. In their eyes, a place I love was a disaster zone, a dear family member on the critical list.   More

Manufacturing Techonomy Detroit

TechShop: Democratizing Manufacturing and Creating Personal Industrial Revolutions

tech shop welding

“It took the U.S. and Europe 150 years to go through the Industrial Revolution. Now, you can go through your own personal industrial revolution in 90 days.” At least that’s what TechShop CEO Mark Hatch told Yahoo! Small Business writer Adrienne Burke (also a regular contributor to Techonomy). TechShop is a membership-based DIY workshop with six locations around the country, each with about $1 million worth of advanced machinery and software. Members pay just $125 dollars for monthly access to a plethora of design, prototyping, and manufacturing tools.   More

Cities IoE Techonomy Detroit

Can the Internet of Everything Help Cities?

Michael Mandel speaking at the Techonomy Detroit 2013 conference.

Local governments are about delivering services and getting things done: Fixing highways, running buses, picking up trash, ensuring public safety, educating children. To do their job in an era of tight finances, what’s needed are technologies that make public services better and cheaper, and improve the quality of life for urban Americans without increasing costs. So far the Internet and the shift to digital has boosted the efficiency of smart local governments, increased transparency, and made it easier to communicate with local residents.   More

Business Techonomy Detroit

Dorsey Tells Entrepreneurs: Meet Customers Where They Are

From left, David Kirkpatrick, Jack Dorsey, Scott Moloney, Catherine Kelly, and Alex Southern (photo by Asa Mathat)

An ice cream maker, a newspaper publisher, food trucks, pop-up shops, and numerous farmers’ market vendors are among the thousands of small businesses in Detroit using mobile apps invented by Jack Dorsey—namely Twitter and Square—to win customers, manage sales, and save time. In fact, Square has already helped to power $174 million in transactions for 5,500 Detroit businesses, the company claims. And at Techonomy Detroit this week Dorsey said entrepreneurs can expect more developments targeted to their businesses from him in the future.   More

Manufacturing Techonomy Detroit

How the Maker Movement Is Reinventing Retail

From left, Lou Rassey, Matt Clayson, Chad Dickerson, Marleen Vogelaar, and K. Venkatesh Prasad

The jury is still out on whether the maker movement could bring about a new American industrial revolution. But anecdotal evidence suggests it is well on its way to reinventing retail. Etsy CEO Chad Dickerson and Shapeways co-founder Marleen Vogelaar joined Detroit Creative Corridor Center director Matt Clayson and Ford’s open innovation guru K. Venkatesh Prasad for a “maker movement” discussion moderated by McKinsey & Company principal Lou Rassey at the Techonomy Detroit conference.   More

Detroit 13 Government Techonomy Detroit Video

A Conversation with Michigan Governor Rick Snyder

Techonomy's David Kirkpatrick speaks with Michigan Governor Rick Snyder at the Techonomy Detroit 2013 conference. Watch video and read the complete transcript here.   More

Detroit 13 Techonomy Detroit Video

Turbo Charging Detroit’s Techonomy

Catherine Kelly of Michigan Citizen News, Scott Moloney of Treat Dreams, and Alex Southern of GrowDetroit join Square CEO and Twitter co-founder Jack Dorsey and Techonomy's David Kirkpatrick for a discussion about how Detroit's economy can thrive in a technologized age. Watch video and read the complete transcript here.   More