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WI: Healthy sprinkling of greed can reap economic growth | Milwaukee Journal Sentinel

In the world of economic development, the grass always seems greener someplace else.


Some people in Milwaukee think Madison is roaring ahead because of its head start in the tech-based economy — but the view from Madison is that Wisconsin's capital city isn't growing as fast as Austin, Lincoln, Des Moines or other U.S. techie hubs.


Some say Ohio is the model for stimulating a tech-based economy — still others proclaim Michigan ... or Utah ... or Maryland. It all depends on what patch of grass you're standing, it would seem.


No matter where you live, however, everyone points to California's Silicon Valley as a shining star of economic growth ... except for some of the business people who live and work there. They cite the region's high cost of living, the never-ending musical chair game for talent, state regulations and other factors contributing to a mini-exodus from the Valley.


Four Silicon Valley entrepreneurs and investors with Wisconsin ties returned to the state this month for the annual Wisconsin Entrepreneurs' Conference. Their message: Don't try to be Silicon Valley, but don't ignore what made it successful, either.


"Business isn't about staying busy; it's about making money," said Sanjeev Chitre, one of four University of Wisconsin-Madison engineering alumni who spoke at the conference. All are members of the Badger Entrepreneurship Forum, a San Francisco group that helps California start-ups with Wisconsin ties.


Chitre said Wisconsin needs to be infused with a healthy dose of "greed," meaning it should be more culturally acceptable here to pursue creation of personal wealth. That, he said, is ultimately the best way to spur even more economic growth. In California's Silicon Valley, "greed is good" and it's a powerful motivator.


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