Almanac

Viewpoint - April 21, 2010

Letter: City should organize a lunch for startups

It has been well over a month since I first suggested to now-departed Alex Andrade, then a city business development specialist, that Menlo Park host a brown bag lunch for incubators, startups, venture capitalists, and citizens to discuss what the city might do to foster business development. I was inspired to do this by John Tarleton's offer to host and cater such an event at his company. Menlo Park residents felt such an event should be held on city property. Last Sunday the New York Times Magazine included an article by Paul Krugman about the Green Economy, which gave me the idea that SRI International, a Menlo Park icon, should be included, and our city manager agreed, saying that SRI might also be willing to cater and host the event, should we hold it. Then I ran into Dave Johnson, our business development manager, who expressed concern over his difficulty making this event come to fruition since Alex has since departed. I now appeal to you, the residents of Menlo Park, to make this event happen. The Tarleton family business is a paragon in incubator wisdom and experience, Menlo Park is a center of startups and venture capitalist companies, and our M-2 zone is where low rents and space combine to allow the evolution over many past decades of many successful startups. Precisely now, in a great recession (as these economic times have been dubbed), is the best time to bring great minds and groups together under one roof to look for innovative ideas and seek new ways to enhance our city's economic security.

Andy Cohen, City Council member

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