So GlocallyNewark is back.
As a returning writer I was torn between doing what I did before (Culture Blogging) and taking on a different challenge. Granted, it was fun to show up at press conferences, see first hand the nature of the non-profit culture when the Facebook circus came to town, and be generally perplexed by the Brick City reality show, entertained by the quirky art scene, and share with you my genuine delight of the ironies and Characters in New Jersey’s largest city.
But I want to do something slightly different this round.
Now that the original glow of Newark as a “Renaissance City” has come and gone, are we still in the midst of a comeback? I definitely think so. Just before the untimely exit of GlocallyNewark, I began to shift focus from the general Culture scene to the fledgling business culture being led by innovative individuals at our local colleges and the small businesses around the city. This is where the Renaissance will get the fuel it needs to continue.
All of the continued revival that takes place in this and the Greater Newark area rests on technology, and more importantly, the application of it. Yet I can’t be the only one who gets confused and even cynical by things like the number of apps available, the rate at which technologies change, and the new gadgets constantly introduced to what seems like enough. (Why did people want to see an iPhone 5 right after the iPhone 4 was released? Why do people think that social planning and calendar apps are innovative? Why do tech startups who make things they can’t really find a use for get millions in venture capital and even get acquired for tens and hundreds of millions (the short answer to this one is talent…more later).
My challenge is to discuss tech that Newarkers can use right now, highlight applications of tech for local businesses and organizations, and make connections between available tech and the way we do things now versus what we could be doing. The technology sector is vast, ever-growing, and doesn’t depend on any one “type” of person to function. We sometimes think it does in that the stereotypes of who can be in tech are pretty strong (and unfortunately well supported), but in reality, it is one of the best ways any individual can make their mark (and potentially their fortune) in today’s society.
Which brings me to my final challenge: drawing attention to the Greater Newark startup scene – yes, it does exist. Directly and indirectly connected to tech, there are a growing number of small businesses and Entrepreneurs whose ideas and actions are making the region a more interesting and vibrant place to live and work.
Anyone, of any age, race, lifestyle, and background can be involved in this Information Age. And in a local economy where unemployment is above the (also dismal) national average, and 1 in 2 new college graduates cannot find employment…it’s vital that more of us look to this sector for both social and financial gain.