Company Culture
Culture Builder / DEI / Economics / Workplace culture

A new year reflection: How does make a difference?

For you, we offer a look at what this news organization does — and how you can help us do it better.

You don't need a lake this epic to truly reflect. (Photo by Flickr user, used via a Creative Commons license)

Written by Technically Media CEO Chris Wink,’s Culture Builder newsletter features tips on growing powerful teams and dynamic workplaces. Below is the latest edition we published. Sign up to get the next one.

New years are convenient tools for self-assessment. Pandemics are, too, it turns out.

In 2022, we at finished the development of our first five-year strategic vision after nearly 15 years of publishing as a news organization focused on innovation and economic change.

The simplest question was the most important one: Why does matter?

I had conversations with longtime stakeholders, new readers and our current team. I scoured our reporting and my own writing. I looked back at the most relevant research we’ve reviewed and the stories we’ve published that seemed to most resonate with our community of technologists and entrepreneurs. After presenting back an initial answer, I simplified.

This discovery led to a new understanding of how we serve a community and how our clients work with us. I came to three straight-forward points, backed by well-grounded research.

First, innovation economies matter.

Innovation may sound like a bloated word but it carries real meaning: new solutions to old problems. When that work happens in a place, it benefits everyone near it. We see this in the creation of new ideas (patents), the construction of new technologies (job growth) and the commercialization of those ideas and technologies (new businesses).

An innovation economy, then, is a way to describe the most productive portion of a local economy: new dynamic companies and the workers who power them. Research backs this up. All net new jobs and almost 20% of gross job creation come from new firms, according to an influential paper published by MIT in May 2013. And each tech worker supports an additional 4.4 local jobs, according to more recent research.

Meanwhile, business ownership is a meaningful wealth creator, as countless analyses indicate, and tech jobs are pretty great — they offer great pay, much flexibility and strong perks.

Second, innovation careers are unequally accessible.

Kids with entrepreneurial parents are 60% more likely to become entrepreneurs, according to a 2015 paper in the Journal of Labor Economics.

Kids born into the richest 1% of families are 10 times more likely to be inventors than the bottom 50%., according to the famous 2018 “Lost Einsteins” research.

In 1982, 5% of “high tech” jobs were held by Black Americans — less than half their composition of the population as a whole, according to a landmark report by the U.S. Commission on Human Rights at the time. After 40 years of work, what was the Black share of tech jobs, according to a forthcoming analysis?

8%. An improvement, but hardly a triumph.

Third, strengthens innovation economies and makes them more accessible.

Our annual reader survey indicated that nearly 9 in 10 of our readers saw us as a major contributor to their tech and startup ecosystems. Most told us they’ve followed us through job and even career changes.

We do this in a quirky way. We use journalism to challenge, discover and engage a community that we are part of. All our work comes down to: How do we grow local economies so more can benefit?

I learned in our strategic vision process that our readers really come in two waves.

Many first discover us when they’re aspiring technologists or entrepreneurs, or otherwise joining the tech industry. They need us for wayfinding — no more powerful than the third who told us led to a job or business opportunity.

Later in their journey, those now-experienced technologists and entrepreneurs use us to keep tethered to where they live — as 83% of our readers told us they do.

We sustain our journalism not through pure charity alone but by helping our clients extend their message to those groups: the technologists and entrepreneurs, from the aspiring to the experienced.

Few symbolize that journey for me better than someone like Stanley Griggs — named a RealLIST Engineer last month and a decade earlier just starting his career with the help of our newsletter.

We want more of those stories. That’s one reason we introduced a simpler answer to the question: How do I bring to my city?

New years are about new ambitions, too.

Series: Builders

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