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Will Second Tier Cities Benefit From Virtual?

The opinions expressed by columnists are their own and do not necessarily represent the views of

Did you catch this in today’s Wall Street Journal?

In a recent Forbes ranking of tech growth in the nation’s largest 51 metro areas, the Midwest had three cities within the top 15, with Columbus in third position, followed by Indianapolis and St. Louis.

The whole blog they cited is here. Midwesterners are migrating and making economic choices. Detroit is dying, but places like Indianapolis are doing okay. Ironically, Detroit and the state of Michigan have deep financial problems brought on by horrible government over the past fifty years. Mitch Daniels straightened out Indiana and they are firm financial footing.

They go on to say:

The main reason is that middle America is a clear picture of how much the basics matter: Cost of living, job quality, schools, and opportunities to develop the right skills for the best jobs. The areas within the Midwest that have gotten the basics right are poaching people and companies from the areas that haven’t.

Indianapolis, Columbus, Cincinnati, Peoria and the Quad Cities, Omaha, St. Louis, Madison, Milwaukee, Minneapolis, and many other second tier cities are starting to get energized.

Entrepreneurs are finding it pays to cut their fixed costs of operation.

Newer technology allows them to actually accomplish things virtually that they couldn’t have done five or ten years ago. Now it’s not necessarily about being in one hot area with a great physical network. It’s more about leveraging an international virtual network. For many entrepreneurs it also means being really close to your customers. Being close to the source of your cash flow is more important than being close to developers. In addition, they get the benefit of cheaper costs of living, better schools for their families, and those midwestern core values that Americans gravitate towards.

We are knitting a midwestern quilt. It’s not about trying to steal or compete with Silicon Valley. It’s about utilizing core business strengths that have sustained us for generations. Like a prairie, it’s quiet and understated. In sum, pretty powerful.

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