Tuesday, May 28, 2019

New INC Magazine Blog Post by Kaplan Institute Exec Director Howard Tullman

AirPower Failure: What Apple Got Wrong
The folks from Cupertino pulled the plug on a wireless charger, although not before promising the world. But when marketers looked out and saw what else was coming into the market, they made a tough decision.

Executive director, Ed Kaplan Family Institute for Innovation and Tech Entrepreneurship, Illinois Institute of Technology

One of the earliest rules of the natural sciences is that nature abhors a vacuum -- at least on planets, like Earth, that have an atmosphere. The rest of the universe -- not so much. Nothing in nature ever stands still -- it constantly evolves and adapts to new and changed conditions and circumstances. There's a continual process of creative destruction, renewal, and then new birth.

This process should sound painfully familiar to any entrepreneur because we live with it every day. In our world, even if you're on the right track, you'll still get run over if you just sit there. Competitors are running right behind you and they're ready to quickly copy everything you're doing except your mistakes. The only constant today is constant change.  

Another elemental rule is that next to nothing in nature ultimately goes to waste - Mother Nature strives to efficiently reduce waste production and she's the ultimate recycler. It was mankind that created both material abundance and egregious waste and we've suffered for our excesses ever since. In the entrepreneur's world, scarcity and resource constraints are a given. Wastes of time, talent, or cash are cardinal sins for startups -- luxuries that no smart operator can afford. Squeezing the last drop out of everything and "making do" is the way the best businesses are bootstrapped and built.

Every time we hear another story of excessive spending and grandiose gestures by some unicorn, we know that it's just a matter of time before the other shoe drops along with that particular company's prospects for survival. And the outright scams just make the story even worse. You have to wonder how many more Fyre Festivals and Theranoses it's going to take before the suckers on both sides (consumers and investors) finally figure out that there's no light at the end of those tunnels.

In the real world, the best entrepreneurs incorporate both of these fundamental ideas -- no persistent vacuums and no avoidable waste -- into the development of their businesses. They often do this in an almost unconscious fashion, because these intrinsic ideas are essential to the process of creating any new enterprise.

Vacuums in the startup world are viewed as unmet needs, unfulfilled demand, and very attractive opportunities - plain and simple. Some vacuums are discovered while others are created. But the key is that no one can afford to sit on the sidelines and watch and wait because, in today's hyper-competitive world, things are simply moving too quickly. And, as often as not, it's not the big guys who are jumping on these opportunities, it's the fast and agile startups who are taking advantage of the growing gaps.

A recent case in point is the vacuum created by Apple's abandonment (after more than a year of hype and promises) of a project to bring a multi-device wireless charger to market. The AirPower wireless charging pad was not to be. The alleged reason is that Apple couldn't make a product that met its exceptionally high standards and one which would satisfy the expectations and desires of the company's very choosy customers. Maybe the big tech companies can afford to promote vaporware and phantom products for substantial periods of time and then just call it a day, but nobody else can.  And, in fairness, I guess we should give them the benefit of the doubt. Not every product makes it successfully out the door no matter how hard you're trying or how sincere your efforts are.

But the more likely reason for the decision to dump the charging pad was that the marketing team at Apple saw the handwriting on the wall and decided that belatedly making and launching another stand-alone device in a world where wireless charging was rapidly being built into everything - from cars to card tables and into phones as well - was a bad plan.

So, they bagged the AirPower project and created a vacuum for the traditional after-market and accessory players like Belkin as well as an opening for new entrants. Killing a long-promised product is a tough call for any company, but clearly this was the right decision for Apple. Reminds me of the old admonition: no matter how far you've gone down the wrong road, it's never too late to turn back. Time today has a nasty way of turning your assets into liabilities and they were simply too late to the party.

Half a bad idea is still a bad idea and, if you can't commit fully and enthusiastically to a new product launch, the smarter path is to forget the whole thing rather than to try to do something halfway. And, just as you'd expect, the customers won't be left in the lurch for long because the slack was quickly taken up by others in the market rushing to fill the vacuum.

My favorite is the Power Cube, a new product offering by a company called MiPOW, which has developed an inexpensive and elegant wireless charging unit. And, MiPOW has trumped Apple by combining the charger with a nestable portable battery (also wireless) that fits easily into your pocket so you will never run out of power on the road.

One of the things that I found most appealing about Power Cube is how well-done and clean the packaging is and how Apple-like (albeit all in black rather than white) the whole internal kit seemed to be.  Just another semi-compliment and semi-threat to the folks in Cupertino. Slick design alone offers less and less protection these days and whatever edge it confers lasts for shorter and shorter periods of time -- even for Apple.

If you're as much about status, style and fashion as you are about trying to sell new technology, which Apple clearly is, you're going to have to compete in the same type of fast-cycle world that is speeding up the pace of the consumer electronics industry. Fast fashion is no longer just a gamechanger in the garment district. You can't sit back in any market in the face of growing demand and expect the rest of the world (or your customers) to wait for you. Consumers don't care about your constraints and they're only likely to be loyal until something better comes along.  

Friday, May 24, 2019

New Wireless Charger and Power Cube Combined - POWER CUBE X by MiPOW






Wednesday, May 22, 2019

New INC Magazine Blog Post by Kaplan Institute Exec Director Howard Tullman

Make Sure You Get Your Story Straight
The way you describe your company to the outside world is absolutely critical. Investors and customers aren't interested in your formula or financial analysis--they want to be able to connect emotionally and intellectually to what you're selling them.

No ever invested in a new business because of a number. It’s always about the story. Telling that story quickly and effectively in a way that creates a connection- ideally intellectually, but always emotionally - is the key to success. Well-drawn and clearly demonstrated analogies are among the most powerful tools in this process.

Of course, it’s also easy to lard it up and overdo it so you end up not “selling” anything. We see this high concept idea every day in the movie business where each new pitch is the next Top Gun with a twist or an animated version of To Kill A Mockingbird.

Buzzwords, brands and tech jargon are other tools we use as comparative shorthand for more complicated explanations. They can certainly save some time, but they can also lead you and your listeners pretty far afield quite quickly. They aren’t a substitute for actually thinking through and clearly understanding what the underlying processes and mechanisms are that you expect to drive your business and why and how they work. As a leader, it’s especially important to understand that your words matter and have consequences. If you’re impatient, flippant or just not careful and considered in your language, it’s very easy to lose credibility with the world in general and especially with your team, customers and investors.

Not too long ago, everywhere you went you’d hear why some early startup was the new “Uber of….” whatever and why this NUber was just as likely to succeed. This pitch quickly became a tired tale and eventually turned into a bad joke because the alleged parallels in so many cases made no sense at all. One size, one approach and one methodology NEVER fits all.

Interestingly enough, at the moment, while he tries to pick up the pieces of a totally busted IPO, the CEO of Uber is telling everyone who’s still willing to listen that Uber’s the next Amazon, which is just another unfortunate example of trying to pile on to someone else’s story and their success. Who wouldn’t want to be sitting in Jeff B’s shoes these days? But it’s becoming clearer and clearer that there’s only one Amazon and Uber isn’t even close to ever being No. 2. Uber may have built and mastered some impressive tech around logistics and geography, but real businesses are still required to eventually make real profits and Uber isn’t in the same universe as any of the main platform guys who are continuing to print money.

So, if the Amazon analogy won’t cut it, how about latching on to another buzzword or two to try to make your case? In the recent S-1s for both Uber and Lyft, the pair constantly alluded to the idea of “network effects” and how their business models so aggressively and effectively exploited the exponential “flywheel” benefits of building larger and larger two-sided networks. These claims turned out to be mostly BS and maybe the market actually figured this out as well along with the non-economics of their basic business models.

The truth is that there are NO clear network effects at all in the ridesharing business. In fact, the larger the network of drivers grows beyond a certain level that assures their ready-and-rapid availability to the riders, the less money each driver makes. That means the more likely they are to either quit or become a dual driver for the competition as well. The gig economy is nothing but poison for the giggers, even if it takes them a little while to figure that out and bail. Most workers in the gig economy leave within a year. And if life wasn’t tough enough for the drivers, the National Labor Relations Board just ruled that they are independent contractors and not employees, which doesn’t bode well for all the pending lawsuits seeking better wages and benefits.

In addition, there’s a tipping point after which the potential improvement in driver response time (because there’s a driver waiting on every block) actually adds no value to the end user’s experience although it does dramatically increase congestion and pollution. Frankly, we all need at least a little time to get our acts together before the driver shows up.

Similarly, the more users there are for a particular service, the more demand there will be for a ride in crunch times, the more likely that there will be surge pricing, and the less attractive the overall experience becomes for each user. As with so many things, saying doesn’t make it so. Getting bigger isn’t necessarily the same as getting better - especially for the little folks.

Another phrase that’s fraught with peril - especially for startups - is “product/market fit”. The idea that there comes a day when all the planets magically align, the dogs are all eating the dogfood, and all is right with the world because you’re achieved product/market fit is a fleeting fantasy because it suggests that you’ve reached a plateau where you can take a break, catch your breath and prepare for the next marathon. You should only be so lucky. As our politicians regularly show us, it’s almost always too soon to declare victory.

The truth is that it’s a dangerous illusion and a temporary respite at best because the customers never sleep, and their demands never cease to grow larger and larger. It’s a “What have you done for me lately? world. Your customers’ expectations, desires and requirements are perpetually progressive, and the changes never end. This means that the product or service dimensions and even the size, scope and characteristics of the market are in constant flux and continual need of enhancement, improvement and change.

The present has never been a more temporary state. There’s no finish line when you’re building a new business and, of course, the competition is always running right behind you and very happy to take advantage of any breaks in your momentum. So, while it’s always important to briefly celebrate the milestones and the team’s successes - large and small - you can’t take your eye off the ball or your foot off the accelerator and relax. Finding product/market fit is fine, but it’s only a step in the journey and a waystation along the path.

 Bottom line: None of us has the luxury of Humpty Dumpty, who said to Alice: “When I use a word, it means just what I choose it to mean - neither more nor less.” In our lives and businesses, words usually have pretty clear meanings and often serious consequences. Be very careful what words you use because you may be eating them some day.

Monday, May 20, 2019



The downtown skyline grew taller and burned
brighter in Rahm Emanuel’s Chicago. The only
problem: He didn’t make room for everyone.
in his obituary of Chicago’s greatest mayor, Mike Royko wrote that “if a man ever reflected a city, it was Richard J. Daley and Chicago.” That was true, but Daley, who died in 1976, was mayor of a Chicago very different from the one we live in today: Daley’s Chicago was an unsophisticated blue-collar town, with a broad middle class, powerful industries, and neighborhood loyalties stretching back generations.

If any man reflects the city Chicago has become since Daley’s death, it is Rahm Emanuel. A suburban striver who grew up in Wilmette, he moved to the city in adulthood with a fancy master’s degree from Northwestern, built a lucrative career in politics and business, competed in triathlons, and settled at a tony North Side address. Emanuel’s Chicago is a global business and cultural capital whose bifurcated economic structure is a microcosm of 21st-century Americaonly fitting for this most American of cities.

Since Emanuel became mayor, in 2011, Chicago has become more prosperous and more educatedachievements of which any civic leader would be proudbut those characteristics have become increasingly concentrated in the urban core. Imagine the city’s skyline as a bar graph of its demographics, the tallest buildings representing the most wealth, scaling downward to two-flats, bungalows, and vacant lots as it flatlines from its peak.
Emanuel did not create this Chicago, which has been developing since at least the 1990s, when the city began reversing a postindustrial trajectory that threatened to consign us to the same Rust Belt ash heap as Cleveland and Detroit. His mayoralty is, however, a product of it. In his first election, he ran up his biggest vote totals in the wealthy lakefront wards, which are populated by transplanted Midwestern professionals who share his conviction that the business of Chicago is business. The most significant decisions of his mayoralty have accelerated the city’s rise to global status. Emanuel is, arguably, one of the architects of the 21st century’s global economy. As an aide to President Bill Clinton, he helped sell the North American Free Trade Agreement to skeptical prolabor Democrats. Once he got his hands on the levers of power in an alpha world city, it only made sense that he would move to aggregate money and talent in its core. There are very few winners in globalization, and he wanted to make sure Chicago was one.
Like so many American cities, Chicago has been experiencing what urbanist Alan Ehrenhalt calls a “demographic inversion,” in which a once-derelict inner city attracts wealthy residents, while the poor are forced into outlying neighborhoods or suburbs. In the mid-2000s, Tom Tunney, the alderman of one of those wealthy lakefront wards, which Emanuel would carry with 74 percent of the vote in 2011, told me, “In 25 years, the entire city is going to look like this. It’s going to be Manhattanized. There’s nothing anyone can do about it. There’s too much demand for land in the city.”
“Then where will the poor people live?” I asked him.
“In the suburbs.”
Parts of Chicago have been Manhattanized. But other partsthe Second City’s second cityhave turned into Cleveland and Detroit, losing their industries, their business districts, their middle class. According to demographer Alden Loury, who works as the race, class, and communities editor for WBEZ, “The city is losing more of its lower-income folks and gaining more higher-income workers.” While the African American population is expected to drop to 665,000 by 2030half what it was in 1980whites are the fastest-growing ethnic group. The Loop and its adjacent neighborhoods are gaining population, while the South and West Sides are declining. For the first time, Lake View has surpassed Austin as the city’s most populous community area.
The African American population declined under Mayor Richard M. Daley, but he “tried to manage the fallout,” says Jawanza Malone, executive director of the Kenwood-Oakland Community Organization. “He saw himself as another Chicago guy who knew what was happening in the neighborhoods. Emanuel is not a Chicagoan. He doesn’t see himself as a Chicagoan. He brought in all these people from outside Chicago who didn’t understand the Chicago Way.”
Emanuel simultaneously nurtured the rise of a global metropolis and managed the decline of a Rust Belt city, both coexisting within Chicago’s borders. The exigencies of this dual task ultimately undermined his mayoralty. Emanuel left Chicago a more prosperous place, but at the cost of his own popularity. A police shootingthe murder of 17-year-old Laquan McDonaldcreated the biggest crisis of his administration and may have done more than anything else to bring about his downfall, because many Chicagoans believed, rightly or wrongly, that he had covered up the video of the crime to preserve his 2015 reelection. As an urban planner, he succeeded; as a politician, he failed, because some Chicagoans came to believe he was indifferent to their struggles.

Rahm Emanuel has his super-fans. To tech entrepreneur Howard Tullman, he is the best mayor of a big city in the United Statesan irreplaceable civic ambassador who connected with international businesspeople and White House staffers as no mere ward politician could have done. If Richard M. Daley was a transitional figure between the industrial Chicago in which his family’s political dynasty was born and the cultural and financial capital it was destined to become, Emanuel put the final stamp on Chicago as a global city.
“I think that in these days it has a more direct impact on more people’s lives to be the mayor of one of these megacities than to be a governor or senator or member of Congress,” Tullman says. “I don’t think it ever used to be a global job. Now it’s important to attract talent. It’s important to get financing, investment, and connections.”
In 2013, Emanuel was instrumental in hiring Tullman to run 1871, the city’s new tech incubator, named for the year Chicago burned, only to rise again. It was actually the brainchild of then future governor J.B. Pritzker, but Emanuel made it his baby, seeing it as integral to transforming Chicago into a technological rival of Silicon Valleyan ambition of his that fueled even his lame-duck months, when he made a last-ditch pitch to bring Amazon’s second headquarters here after the company announced it was pulling out of New York City.
Emanuel loved bringing distinguished visitors to 1871’s offices on the 12th floor of the Merchandise Mart, where young entrepreneurs sit behind gunmetal-gray MacBook Pros in the wide-open bullpen, beavering away at Chicago’s next internet success story. On a wall of the auditorium are tiles with the 1871 logo signed by visitors such as Emanuel’s ex-boss Bill Clinton, YouTube cofounder Steve Chen, and Shark Tank investor Daymond John.

“Emanuel was there a lot,” says Tullman, who spoke with the mayor about 1871’s progress at least once a month before stepping down in 2017. (He now heads the Ed Kaplan Family Institute for Innovation and Tech Entrepreneurship at the Illinois Institute of Technology.) “He put the arm on companies to be supportive by giving, doing events, working with our startups. He was a great bully pulpit in the sense that he talked it up all the time. It was a funny thing. As it got bigger and bigger and more successful, it wasn’t clear whether he was doing us a favor or we were doing him a favor.”
SpotHero, a service that helps motorists find parking spaces, spent its early years inside 1871 and now has 165 employees in its own Loop office. Thyng, an augmented reality platform that has been used to create everything from ads for Rice Krispies to 3D medical images for physicians, found both investors and employees through 1871. Thyng’s founder, Ed LaHood, has been part of the Chicago tech scene since the early 1990s. Never in his career has the city nurtured new tech businesses the way it does now, he says: “Thirty years ago, if you wanted to start a startup in Chicago, you were on your own. 1871 really created a technology ecosystem in Chicago. Rahm has been a huge part of the tech sector’s growth. Not only in 1871, but wanting to bring tech industries to Chicago.”
During Emanuel’s tenure as mayor, the share of the city’s economy attributed to tech more than quadrupled, from 2 percent to 9 percent, according to 1871. The footprint of tech companies inside the Merchandise Mart increased from 100,000 square feet to 1.5 million. As LaHood notes, it wasn’t just 1871, even though companies founded there have now created more than 8,000 jobs. Salesforce, Facebook, Yelp, and Google all opened Chicago offices while Emanuel was mayor. When Google was planning to open a Midwestern headquarters in the Fulton Market district, Emanuel “was in almost constant communication with their executives,” says Andrea Zopp, a former deputy mayor who is now president and CEO of World Business Chicago. “I think if you talk to any CEO who’s moved here, they’ll tell you he’s relentless.”
The Rahm Butterfly Effect
For better or worse, Chicago (probably) wouldn’t have any of these things without Emanuel’s influence.

There’s another aspect of globalization that Emanuel turned to Chicago’s advantage: In the aftermath of late-20th-century deindustrialization, there could be only one Midwestern metropolis. Chicago was the winner, and it’s been sucking the economic vitality out of surrounding statesand the rest of Illinoisever since. At first, this took the form of brain drain, as college graduates from Indiana, Michigan, and Wisconsin flocked to the city. Now, under Emanuel, Chicago has been the No. 1 American city for corporate relocations for five years running. Headquarters that were once synonymous with their small Midwestern hometowns are following the talent here. Archer Daniels Midland moved its global HQ from Decatur to an office on West Wacker Drive. ConAgra moved from Omaha to the Merchandise Mart. And corporations that built office campuses in Chicago suburbs during the urban flight of the 1960s and 1970s are following the white-collar class back into the city: McDonald’s from Oak Brook, Motorola from Schaumburg. So powerful is the global city’s lure that Emanuel rarely granted tax breaks.
“The mayor’s philosophy about it is, ‘If I have to buy your way here, don’t come,’” says Zopp. “We have so many great assets. They’re coming because their people want to be here. It’s the trend toward urban growth.” Still, Emanuel’s approach was hands-on: He lured Ferrara Candy from Oakbrook Terrace to Chicago after striking up a conversation with a company employee on a flight. She told him many of her coworkers wanted to work downtown, and suggested he call the CEO. Emanuel did, and Ferrara’s 400-employee headquarters are now in the Old Post Office.
The thousands of employees working at relocated companies didn’t just want to live in the city; they wanted to live right by their jobs. Though neighborhood life is the essence of the Chicago experience, the Loop was designed as a place of business. Emanuel set out to change that, with a special emphasis on the desires of millennials, who are “uniquely city-dwelling compared to previous generations,” according to demographer Ed Zotti. Emanuel hired a hotshot transportation planner from D.C., Gabe Klein, who laid down bike lanes and established the bike-sharing service Divvy. “Increasingly, young people were looking for thattech companies in particular,” says Ron Burke, executive director of the Active Transportation Alliance. “Rahm saw this eight years ago.”
Emanuel cleaned up the Chicago River and built kayak liveries along its branches. The $100 million Chicago Riverwalk expansion, with its restaurants and bars, brought the public down to the level of a body of water that became known as the city’s second shoreline. “[The Riverwalk] has helped define the Loop,” says Michael Edwards, president and CEO of Chicago Loop Alliance, and it is among the reasons Chicago has one of the fastest-growing downtowns of any big city in the United States, adding 5,000 residents to the Loop between 2010 and 2016. Those newcomers are moving into buildings such as Marquee at Block 37, which opened in 2016 and rents one-bedroom apartments for $2,400 a month. (That’s affordable housing in the Loop, where 82 percent of residents have college degrees and the median household income is $98,000.) So intense is the demand for downtown housing that Magellan Development is building on the river the 101-story, 396-unit Vista Tower, which will be the city’s second-tallest residential structure.
Five miles south of the Loop, at the corner of 49th Street and Indiana Avenue, Irene Robinson stands alone on the playground of Anthony Overton Elementary School. The playground has been empty since 2013, when Overton was one of 49 “underutilized” or “underperforming” schools closed by Emanuel’s handpicked school board. A map of Chicago stenciled on the asphalt pinpoints their locations: almost all in African American neighborhoods on the South and West Sides. “This was my second home,” Robinson says. “All my kids went to this school. My grandkids. I raised so many children here. Now it’s like a graveyard.”
When Robinson learned that Overton was closing, she thought her family’s world was coming to an end. She confronted the mayor at public meetings. She was arrested for protesting outside his City Hall office. The school was shuttered and sold to developers who plan to repurpose it as a business incubator. But six years on, Overton remains empty, boards covering its windows, graffiti climbing its walls, the words “Anthony Overton” visible only as ghost lettering above the front door. Robinson’s grandchildren were scattered to elementary schools throughout the South Side. Robinson, who for 15 years lived cater-cornered from the school, moved out of the neighborhood. One of Robinson’s daughters took her children to Iowa partly for a more stable educational environment.
Emanuel believes political capital is worthless unless spent on difficult decisions. In his first term, he spent a lot of capital on the school closings, and he never recovered it. Some of that was a result of the policies themselves, and some was a result of a perception that the prickly Emanuel was an autocrat and a bully who did not truly understand the city he governed.
Perhaps it made demographic and financial sense to close Overton. Since the school was built, in 1963, the surrounding Grand Boulevard community area has lost 75 percent of its residents, falling from a population of roughly 80,000 to 22,000. Public housing has been demolished (most of the Robert Taylor Homes were in Grand Boulevard). The blue-collar jobs that supported the black middle class have left Chicago. Families are trying to escape gangs and crime. Changing racial attitudes mean that blacks can now live in suburbs that once discouraged them from moving in, and Chicago’s Manhattanization means housing is often less expensive outside its borders. When Overton was slated for closing, its enrollment of 431 pupils was only half its capacity.
“We’ve lost thousands of kids,” says Chicago Public Schools CEO Janice Jackson, pointing out that enrollment has dropped to 361,000 from its all-time high of 500,000. “What people don’t understand is that when a school is underenrolled, it’s harder to attract teachers. We should not be making decisions on schools based on one factor, or politics, or optics.” Jackson believes CPS students are learning more than they were when Emanuel took over. Emanuel lengthened the school day and instituted full-day kindergarten. The district’s graduation rate increased from 57 percent to 78 percent during his tenure.
“The question of whether 50 school closings are ‘necessary’ is, in my view, a little bit beside the point,” says University of Chicago sociology professor Eve Ewing, author of Ghosts in the Schoolyard, a 2018 book about the school closings. “It was one possible policy solution in an array of many possible solutions, but the point is that the people most harmed had no meaningful opportunity to shape that policy decision.”

Chicago was the birthplace of community organizing, and Emanuel was seen as stiffing the neighborhoods where that tradition was born. Emanuel’s decisions to close schools and six mental health clinics were blamed for accelerating the decline and disarray of already struggling communities. In a poor neighborhood, a school is one of the few stable institutions.
“What Emanuel did goes beyond just ignoring parts of the city; it actively worked to destabilize those communities,” says Jawanza Malone. Even more people wanted to leave. And between 2014 and 2016, shootings increased among those who stayed, as young people from rival gangs were thrown together in new classrooms.
“It wasn’t about what was right for the children; it was about what was right for Rahm and his friends: the rich and elite people,” Robinson says.
“Neoliberal” is the term most often employed by Emanuel’s detractors to describe his outlook on governing. As used by left-wing critics of moderate Democrats, “neoliberal” refers to a post–New Deal philosophy of government that emphasizes free-market capitalism, deregulation of the financial sector, privatization of public services, and cuts in government spending.
Emanuel was, according to Ewing, “the precise archetype of a neoliberal mayor.” Fiscally, it might have made sense to put resources into the growing areas of town and withdraw them from the shrinking neighborhoods. And Emanuel was always a fiscally responsible mayor, unafraid to raise property taxes, hike water rates, or impose unpopular fees such as speed camera tickets to balance the city’s budget. Joe Moore was a critic of Daley’s shortsighted use of funds from the Skyway and parking meter leases in order to close budget gaps, but the alderman became an ally and admirer of Emanuel (which helps explain how Moore lost his reelection bid in February in independent-minded Rogers Park). “Rahm confronted the challenges,” Moore says. “He convinced the City Council to vote for significant property tax increases. He exhibited a willingness that Daley never exhibited to spend political capital.”
Emanuel was elected mayor in 2011 with strong support in the black community. By 2015, that support was eroding. Between 2011 and the first round of voting in 2015, his share of the vote dropped from 63 percent to 49 percent in the 27th Ward, which includes East Garfield Park, and from 60 percent to 45 percent in the 4th Ward, which covers part of Douglas. (Emanuel saw little or no drop-off in the downtown wards in which he had so assiduously invested.) That loss of support from black voters was the difference between an outright win and a humiliating runoff against no-name Jesús “Chuy” Garcia, which he may have won because African Americans were reluctant to vote for a Latino mayor.
“Why did such a loyal support group get the short end of the stick?” asks political consultant Don Rose. “I think his biggest failure was to deal with the Other Chicago.”
If a Taser had arrived at the corner of 41st Street and Pulaski Road one minute earlier, Rahm Emanuel might still be mayor.

“Someone with a Taser?” an officer is heard asking a police dispatcher on a recording of radio traffic on the night of October 20, 2014. “This guy’s walking away with a knife in his hand.”
A Taser was on its way, but Officer Jason Van Dyke beat it there and fired 16 shots into the guy with the knife in his hand, Laquan McDonald. A video of the shooting was released more than a year later and was at odds with the official police report, which stated that McDonald had lunged with his knife at officers. African Americans had already begun to sour on Emanuel’s policing because of the aggressive stop-and-frisk tactics of Garry McCarthy, the superintendent he recruited from Newark. Now many viewed the mayor with suspicion and mistrust.
After the McDonald video came out, Emanuel “lost the support of the majority of the black community,” says police reform activist William Calloway, who encouraged journalist Brandon Smith to sue the city for the video’s release. Although Emanuel says he did not see the video until it became public in November 2015, some suspected that he rushed a confidential settlement with the family through the City Council in order to preserve his reelection. By May 2016, his disapproval rating in the black community had risen to 70 percent.
Only then did Emanuel begin seriously directing resources to the South and West Sides. The city announced plans to build a police and fire academy in West Garfield Park; the Department of Fleet and Facility Management’s garage moved from the North Branch of the Chicago River (on the site that will become Lincoln Yards) to Englewood. The Neighborhood Opportunity Fund and Retail Thrive Zones program, established in 2016 and 2017, respectively, distributed rehab grants to small businesses in under-developed neighborhoods.
It was too little, too late; both Emanuel’s friends and enemies agree that the fallout from the Laquan McDonald shooting, including the perception that he covered it up, was likely his primary reason for not seeking a third term. “He was unelectable,” says Calloway, adding, “The police are the only public servants who are not seen as members of the community. You need a mayor who can erase that division.”
The pertinent question is whether Emanuel could have recovered from the McDonald scandal if he had retained more political capital in the black community. That community may be shrinking, but it’s still big enough to swing an election, and Emanuel may have found it impossible to contemplate another run without its support. None of his potential successors want to repeat that mistake: Nearly everyone who ran for mayor this time promised to invest in neighborhoods beyond downtown.

When Emanuel talked to Howard Tullman about 1871, “he always said he didn’t want a kid in the South Side or the West Side of the city looking at the skyscrapers downtown and not understanding in every way, shape, and form they could aspire to being part of that opportunity as well,” Tullman recalls. “The dream was that this enthusiasm, encouraging entrepreneurial activities, would eventually spread, and the benefit of technology and entrepreneurship would be distributed across the whole city.”

Tullman, at least, can see the beginnings of a more broadly shared prosperity as the Chicago that Emanuel’s administration has been building pushes out from downtown in every direction. On the Near West Side, Google is in Fulton Market. On the Near South Side, Related Midwest is building the 78, a $7 billion residential and commercial development that will fill the gap between downtown and Chinatown, near an area already booming with hotels and the addition of Wintrust Arena, the new home of DePaul basketball. Farpoint is redeveloping Bronzeville’s Michael Reese Hospital into housing and tech space. On the North Side, the industrial corridor along the North Branch of the Chicago River is set to become Lincoln Yards, a $6 billion housing and entertainment development.
“I think his latest legacy will be getting those deals financed or getting some support for those deals,” Tullman says. “Then the next real challenge is how do you do these other areas? Englewood. Bronzeville is getting healthy already. The city is as well positioned as any major city.”
Rahm Emanuel didn’t become mayor to be everybody’s best friend. He became mayor, as he puts it, to leave the city “better prepared for the future than the day I walked into the office.” Political consultant Don Rose acknowledges that Chicago “is probably in better financial condition” as a result of Emanuel’s tenure. Demographer Alden Loury believes that a lot of things that happened when he was mayor “are certainly positive for the city overall.” But Emanuel will not be fondly recalled as a civic father figure, like Old Man Daley, or even a civic little brother figure, like Richie.
“I don’t think the city ever loved him,” Rose says. “I don’t think even his supporters loved him. Even Richie, with his bumbling, and the Old Man had people who loved them. I don’t think the people who supported [Emanuel] warmed to his personality.”

Love Rahm Emanuel or not, the forces that produced him, and that he encouraged during his administration, will continue to transform Chicago. The next mayor will no doubt do more to redistribute the city’s resources to neighborhoods outside the borders of the global city on the lakefront, but she won’t be able to arrest their ultimate fates. We’ll still be living in Rahm’s Chicago.

New INC Magazine Blog Post by Kaplan Institute Exec Director Howard Tullman

Stop Complaining You Can't Find Talent, and Start Looking in the Right Places. Here's How
Successful employers must make a real commitment to expand their college recruiting efforts.

Executive director, Ed Kaplan Family Institute for Innovation and Tech Entrepreneurship, Illinois Institute of Technology

There's a sea change coming in college recruiting and, surprisingly enough, it's not one that is brought about by new technology. It's simply a result of the commonsense application by more and more employers of an old fisherman's rule: fish where the fish are. It saves time, wear and tear, and you get much better results. It's not a solution for everyone, but if you're tired of making the same old trips to the same old colleges and seeing the same young pale faces year after year, it might be just the right strategy for you.

I'm excited about this idea because it's going to be one of the things we'll be talking about during the talent panel that I'm joining on Tuesday morning in Chicago as part of Inc.'s Fast Growth Tour. The Kaplan Institute for Innovation and Tech Entrepreneurship at Illinois Tech is one of the main sponsors of this event. For my two cents, I'm going to be focusing on the dramatic shifts which are now taking place in terms of where the smartest employers are starting to look for their new technical talent. It's not where you might expect and it's certainly not the way they've done business in the past.

I've spent a large part of the last year in my new role as Executive Director of Kaplan learning about and working with groups of highly motivated and well-trained student engineers, computer scientists and big data specialists who are getting ready to graduate and enter the workforce. An amazingly large percentage of these students are the first in their families to attend college and they're just as committed, hardworking and excited about the opportunities ahead of them as you might expect. And guess what? When they get their first critical (and life-changing job), they stick around. They're not job hoppers or kids with one foot out the door looking for their next gig. You get double bang for your buck--better recruitment and far stronger and longer retention.

The big difference (and their particular appeal apart from strong technical chops) is their diversity and for the tech students at IIT that's a key part of what's driving the new changes we're seeing on campus. Every employer I have talked to in the past 5 years (while I was running 1871) says they desperately want diverse technical talent and then they start whining that it's just so hard to find. I guess it's just a matter of knowing where you should be looking. And until these guys wake up, they're absolutely right to be complaining because they're not going to get any better or different results if they keep doing the same old stuff and looking in the same old places. They need to find a better place to fish.

The employers who are already ahead of the pack are making a serious and substantial change and a real commitment to refocusing their efforts and attention on those schools and universities whose students/graduates can help them meet their growing need for diverse talent across all the critical dimensions--gender, race, geography, etc.--and the institutions which can provide that essential help now. They have finally figured out that the talent they need to fill the jobs of the future isn't going to be found in the places they've looked in the past.

We're going to get further into this conversation during the panel and cover other issues as well around company culture and how to make sure that you spend some time "re-recruiting" your best existing employees so they'll stick around to share their experience and expertise and to give a helping hand to all the newbies. Hope to see you on the Fast Track in Chicago on Tuesday. 

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