No one likes the person who brings logic and facts to an emotional debate. I’m that person, and I’m used to it.

Imagine your post-adolescent child returns home after college and announces that he or she expects to have a personal car, a room, food, no rules, laundry, and, oh by the way, does not expect to make any contribution toward the running of the household.

This is perhaps a little harsh, but every time I read a news item such as this one from Sunday’s Dayton Daily News by Robert Schoenberger, of The Cleveland Plain Dealer, this story springs into my consciousness. I never cease to be amazed at the people, even important leaders, who want something for nothing.

“Ohio needs to invest in roads and bridges, beef up internship and apprenticeship programs, offer tax breaks to businesses that invest in factories and keep business taxes low without cutting services, business leaders said this past week.” (italics mine)

“Timken President and CEO James Griffith and Cleveland State University Dean of Urban Affairs Ned Hill both said Ohio’s manufacturers offer an aging set of products. Without innovation, they said, the state’s manufacturing industry could continue to decline.”

Products Create Jobs

Henry Blodget is currently my favorite analyst of macro (and micro in this case) economic issues. He cites facts. Checks both (or all) sides–but without the mass media “he said, she said” nonsense. I’m going to pick up here on his recent post looking at Romney’s economic plan. This ties directly into the comments from the “leaders” cited in the article on innovation and job creation.

“When I started Business Insider 5 years ago, the company had one employee (me) and no revenue. We had some seed capital, which my partners and I supplied, but that seed capital would have lasted us no more than 12 months. Had the economic ecosystem not been healthy enough to support our product, the entrepreneur and investor (me) would have created exactly zero sustainable jobs.

Fortunately, the market liked our product and our customers were healthy enough to want and support it. So the company grew. This enabled us to raise more investment capital, hire more employees, and get more clients. And these employees and clients kept creating and supporting, so the company continued to grow. And so on.

Yes, in the years since we started the company, investors have been kind enough to give us cash to invest ahead of our revenue growth, which means that some of the ~100 jobs created at Business Insider so far have been temporarily subsidized by investors. But eventually–soon–Business Insider will be self-sustaining. And, thereafter, all of the jobs at the company will be created and maintained by 1) the attractiveness of the product produced by our team, and 2) the ability and desire of our clients to pay to support that product.

As the entrepreneur, I will probably still be driving the ship (unless I crash it into the rocks and get canned), but I certainly won’t be “creating the jobs.” What will create and sustain the jobs at Business Insider will be the market demand for our product and the healthy economic ecosystem around it.”

Innovation is All Around Us

I live in Ohio. I certainly do not wish to trust the Clowns in Columbus with furthering business and manufacturing innovation in the state. If the CEO of Timkin is not pushing his engineers to develop innovative new products, then how does he expect to succeed? A tax break might improve his profit & loss statement slightly. But what happens when another company figures out a better bearing or a better way to make bearings or a new market for bearings? He’s economically dead–along with the thousands of people who depend upon him for jobs.

Innovation is all around us. I’ve been saving these links for just such a post. You all know how I love the TED Talks. Here are five–with the added bonus of a podcast conversation with Edison 2 project VP of Engineering Brad Jaeger. Check these links. Then figure out what you can do. I’m working on the next thing in my area. What are you doing?

Edison 2 electric car project, “Engineer vs. Designer” podcast.

Massimo Banzi, How Arduino is Open-Sourcing Innovation.

Boaz Almog levitates a superconductor.

Cesar Harada, a novel idea for cleaning up oil spills.

Vinay Venkatraman, Technology Crafts for the digitally underserved.

Michael Hansmeyer, Building unimaginable shapes.

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