Economic & Business Development


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One of the founders of the successful and stylish Loll furniture company, at the the headquarters in Duluth. The company’s story is one I describe in the magazine article and talked about today on CNN.

This morning I was on Fareed Zakaria’s GPS program on CNN, talking about the project behind my current Atlantic cover story. A YouTube version of the full show is here; a one-minute out-take, in which I talk about why some people decide to make Duluth (above) or Redlands the center of internationally successful enterprises is here. A podcast is here.

If you go to the full-version video on YouTube (don’t yet see official CNN version), “Fareed’s Take” on the Sanders-budget controversy is for the first five minutes, then Thomas Friedman until time 10:15.

I talked with Fareed Zakaria from about 10:30 until about 21:00. The discussion is about vocational training, manufacturing startups, immigration, and whether a second age of reform is in view. In the final 90 seconds I make my best “here is what it all means” case. After that, you have the actually famous people on the show! They are the Indian magnate Mukesh Ambani and actor Shah Rukh Khan.

Before closing with another shot of Duluth, here is a note from reader Ron Davison that captures some of the impression we are trying to convey:

When I began business travel about 20 years ago, I would often come back home to San Diego so thankful that I didn’t live in the place that I’d just visited. Now, as often as not, I leave a place feeling a little wistful about not getting to live there, or at least to spend more time.

So glad to see something that seems to describe the country I work in rather than the one that shows up on TV.

More of the Loll office in Duluth. The point in the article and the interview is that this resembles something you’d expect to see in San Francisco or Seattle, but it’s in northern Minnesota.

While I’m at it, here is another look at a great short documentary that the Atlantic’s video team shot in Mississippi: