The Chefs Table


Metaphoric Computing – examining the growth of entrepreneurial initiatives.

Posted in Entrepreneur by ftiess on the March 15th, 2009


This interview, concerning the Kauffman organization, really brings out a great topic of discussion. Because I grew up in “IBM country”, the Hudson Valley of New York, I have observed the growth of many entrepreneurial startups in the Poughkeepsie area since the massive job cuts of 1993. This was due in part to a disenfranchisement with the consumers needs. In the 1980s companies like Microsoft and Apple where producing larger quantities of smaller capacity computers and software, meanwhile IBM was producing smaller numbers of massive capacity computers. As history has proven the sale of the smaller capacity computers and greater capacity software exponentially grew while the sale of the larger capacity computers continued to decrease. IBM missed a fundamental paradigm shift—that the value added in computer sales was shifting from hardware to software. The aggregate value of intellectual capital in software was on the rise while hardware was becoming a commodity product whose prices experienced diminished returns.

In my research I have found over a hundred startups in the East Fishkill New York area, as a result of the IBM job cuts. One of the things that I had assumed as a lad was that IBM would continue to grow, many of my friend’s parents had worked for IBM and our family business, retail pharmacy, relied upon the continued growth of IBM. So you can imagine we were concerned in the 1990s when the structure of our microcosm of high tech industry based jobs changed. What was really amazing was the rather quick growth of these smaller yet nimble computer design firms. Prior IBM employees had learned that their future success was really in their own hands. They could no longer rely on a single entity to support their career choice.

As we see the similar restructuring of companies and displacement of North Carolina jobs today, Bank of America, NASCAR Teams and Freightliner to name a few, what will the future hold? Those innovators who have the ability to accept the change, overcome and adapt to the market shift will be the leaders of tomorrow’s entrepreneurial growth.

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