Philly Creative Guide

Here's the Thing

Bill Haley

It's a New Day
by Bill Haley, 1 Jan 2009

Bill Haley is President, Interactive of Allied Pixel (www.AlliedPixel.com), an integrated media production firm specializing in the convergence of HD video, web and interactive media. He is also an evangelist for PhillyCreativeGuide.com. He can be reached at bill.haley@alliedpixel.com.


It's been a long eight years, but the sad debacle of the Bush era has finally come to an end. Bush's near-total preoccupation with "weapons of mass destruction" and the "war on terror" derailed our national agenda in so many tragic ways. Years from now, historians will deliver the final verdict on his administration. But now, it's time to look ahead. And there is much to look forward to.

Those of us who make our livelihoods in the creative economy have special reason to celebrate. The Obama administration gets it. They realize that the creative economy is an important source of green jobs, an economic engine that can help rebuild our shattered economy.

Back in 2002, sociologist Richard Florida defined "a new creative class of inventors, entrepreneurs, engineers, artists, musicians, designers and professionals in idea-driven industries." Today, nearly 40 million American workers fit in the creative class – 35 percent of the working population. That's us... and we overwhelmingly supported Obama in the election. Florida commissioned a Zogby poll in which Obama was chosen by 74 percent of creative-class voters when asked who was best positioned to unify the country. "The creative class prefers Mr. Obama on issue after issue, from illegal immigration, to the economy, to health care," he writes. Chris Bowers, the netroots blogger, concluded: "When all is said and done, it looks like Obama will ultimately owe his victory to African Americans and his huge, creative-class activist army."

The Obama campaign was a case study in creativity. Umair Haque wrote in Harvard Business Publishing's Edge Economy that "Barack Obama is one of the most radical management innovators in the world today. Obama's team built something truly world-changing: A new kind of political organization for the 21st century. Obama's presidential bid succeeded ... through the power of new DNA: new rules for new kinds of institutions." The article, Obama's Seven Lessons for Radical Innovators, describes the game-changing strategies Obama used in his unlikely campaign to become president.

It's a New Day; Barack Obama, the Creative President

Those of us who worked at the grassroots level saw firsthand how his campaign made brilliant use of the Internet to organize, mobilize, fundraise and get out the vote. Heck, our new president is addicted to his Blackberry! Obama is a strong believer in science and technology. He has promised to establish a Chief Technology Officer (CTO) within the White House. The position will help ensure that government has the right infrastructure, policies and services for the 21st century. Also, the role of the President's Council of Advisors on Science and Technology (PCAST) will be restored.

Writing is at the heart of creativity, and Obama is the most successful author ever to assume the presidency. Peter Osnos of The Century Foundation wrote "Obama's memoir, Dreams of My Father, and The Audacity of Hope, the manifesto he wrote in his first year as a senator, have sold millions of copies in the United States and around the world. No other books by a political figure come close in terms of sales, or in the case of Dreams, literary skill, with the possible exception of John F. Kennedy's Profiles in Courage."

Change comes about through policies, and Obama's policies are certainly favorable to the creative economy. He has pledged to:

  • Support "innovation clusters" – regional centers of innovation and next-generation industries like North Carolina's Research Triangle Park and Nashville's thriving entertainment cluster.
  • Create a national network of public-private business incubators.
  • Provide tax relief for small businesses and start-up companies.
  • Eliminate capital gains taxes on investments made in small and start-up businesses.
  • Provide a new tax credit to companies that add jobs here in the United States.
  • Raise the small business investment expensing limit to $250,000.
  • Deploy next-generation broadband and support the principle of network neutrality to preserve open competition on the Internet.
  • Reform healthcare and make it accessible to all Americans, including the self-employed.

For sure, these things aren't going to happen overnight. Given the perilous state of the economy, some of the initiatives will have to wait. But taken as a whole, they represent an agenda that is indeed favorable to the creative economy.

I'm not going far out on the limb to make this prediction: Barack Obama will do more to bolster the creative economy than any president before him. Now, let's help him do it. Visit http://change.gov and register. The Obama administration seeks our input on matters of national importance, including the creative economy. Give it to him. Stand up and be heard. This is our time. It's a new day.

Print Article Brought to you by: Bill Haley | President, Interactive of Allied Pixel