Ashton Kutcher and economic development

Hollywood actor and Web-savvy activist Ashton Kutcher says he will “crowd source” questions about the Kremlin’s push to develop a Russian Silicon Valley to his 4.5 million Twitter fans. The actor is part of a U.S. delegation of technology and social media leaders that arrived in Moscow as part of White House efforts to improve ties with Russia. Kutcher told reporters here Thursday that he will “translate the Russian voice to an American audience” and seek advice on Russia’s efforts to build its own high-tech centre.

I love the idea of getting celebrities involved in economic development.  They speak to an audience that old fuddy duddies can’t and they have credibility with the younger crowd.  I have always said that youth apathy/disinterest in New Brunswick’s economic development has been a barrier to growth. 

Maybe we can get Taylor Swift to endorse the Northern New Brunswick economic development strategy….

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18 Responses to Ashton Kutcher and economic development

  1. Trevor says:

    …or the province could seek innovative ways to reach the younger demographic so they can contribute to the conversation. I’d also add that the province should not just look insular to crowd source new ideas for econ development. Publish all the econ data you have on northern NB to the web and challenge people across the globe to study our situation to gather suggestions on how we develop a going forward strategy. Can you imagine the possibilities of having NB’s econ development opportunities being examined by the best and brightest around the world?

    “Mr. Premier, tear down your government’s firewall!”

  2. Look at you, Trevor, all growed up and quoting Ronald Reagan…

  3. mikel says:

    I agree with David, although ‘celebrity’ doesn’t necessarily have to mean actors. The government already ‘tweets’ and ‘twitters’, but it’ll take more than the ‘innovative ways’ to reach the younger demographic. In fact, there’s a good old fashioned way-through the educational system. The government somehow thinks its propaganda to even mention politics in the public school system, although recently I can see why. Overall though it gives the impression-or shows the fact that government really isn’t interested in the public’s input.

    Animation would have been a cool way, and like I’ve said, a television station would be an ideal way to ‘subsidize’ animators and get animation involved in the public sphere. I’m too out of the loop to even know who Taylor Swift is, but people forget that Stompin Tom was born right in New Brunswick, and so was Roch Voisine, and Moncton’s own Holly Cole. But it does need some kind of ‘energy creation’ or else it just falls flat. I’d have to repeat that it really needs a grassroots organization to start something like that, government really can’t do it.

  4. richard says:

    Perhaps Merle Haggard or Toby Keith would have more appeal in NB?

  5. Tom Rivington says:

    We aren’t the best and the brightest?

  6. Samonymous says:

    Can you imagine the possibilities of having NB’s econ development opportunities being examined by the best and brightest around the world?

    Earth to rose colored glasses above…they don’t care. Knowing that reality, which i can tell you exist in Ottawa and elsewhere, is the first step in making great strides forward in NB.

    As for Kutcher, maybe the U.S. delegation can rename the whole exercise: Dude, where’s my tech job?

  7. How’s this. We commission David Adams Richards to write a book about the Miramichi circa 2040 and it’s a dynamic, happening place with a thriving tech sector, biofuels production and a high speed train to the urban south. People might read it and might get inspired.

  8. Samonymous says:

    Animation would have been a cool way, and like I’ve said, a television station would be an ideal way to ’subsidize’ animators and get animation involved in the public sphere.

    I’ve disagreed with this in the past, but the more I think about Steve Pakin’s great public policy round tables on the Agenda, which require state of the art animation and technical aps, the more I think we could use such a outlet. We sure could have used such a useful and informative platform to host debate on NB Power so as to counteract the titled reporting coming out of the Telegraph Journal. As well, it would give more individuals like David and others a chance to express and debate their views to a wider audience. It would be informative for all.

  9. mikel says:

    Hey, there’s one convert:) How about David starting one on Youtube, hell, if Charles Leblanc can get 20,000 NBers to watch that crazy girl spout off the insanity about NBPowers debt being paid off in eight years, then who knows what could happen. Of course, the more I get involved in ontario politics the more ‘The Agenda’ seems like ‘the chattering classes’ Richard so derides.

    But David Adams Richards? Man, you’ll have everybody committing mass suicide! Only an NB writer could write a christmas story that ends with two people being evicted! There are actually some good bands and some good music being produced in NB, not a lot, but some. I was going to say ‘thats what the kids are into’, but of course as adults we have NO idea what kids are into…I don’t even want to know!:)

    If David still has those friends doing the television stuff, I think David would make a great host. In fact, if it weren’t so political I would have suggested sending that tape into CBC for the news anchor spot. If you need help with producing or getting guests, you know where I am. Like it or not, bloggers are ‘celebrities’ of a type too.

  10. Trevor says:

    @Tom Rivington Are you implying we aren’t citizens of the world?

  11. Trevor says:

    @Samonymous At least I have a positive attitude about my destructive habits. 😉

  12. richard says:

    “Of course, the more I get involved in ontario politics the more ‘The Agenda’ seems like ‘the chattering classes’ Richard so derides.”

    That’s exactly right (especially about David Richards – I refuse to stick in the Adams). The Agenda exists mainly as an outlet to Paiken’s massive ego. That’s why the talking heads on the Agenda form such a small group – only a select few can stand the guy.

    The basic problem in NB is not, however, just the lack of media doing their jobs, its the lack of good data analyses. Talking heads don’t do data analyses. We have to first fix the institutional deficit here – the one that prevents NBers from getting good solid analytical reports on the state of NB; the media fix won’t help without fixing the data analysis problem first. Its the media’s job to digest and get discussion going on the basis of those reports. Otherwise, you just get hot button reporting.

  13. Samonymous says:

    @Trevor Ha! Ha! No doubt. 😉

  14. Samonymous says:

    If David still has those friends doing the television stuff, I think David would make a great host. In fact, if it weren’t so political I would have suggested sending that tape into CBC for the news anchor spot. If you need help with producing or getting guests, you know where I am. Like it or not, bloggers are ‘celebrities’ of a type too.

    I agree. When I saw his first YouTube attempt I thought it was good enough to at least start as a weekly show on Eastlink (which airs in NS & PEI). Over time, I see it hitting the mainstream (whatever that would look like in 5 years).

  15. Steve Paikin is not the prettiest face on TV so maybe…

  16. mikel says:

    My point is exactly aimed at fixing that ‘institutional problem’. And it isn’t that hard, and the solution is that good old fashioned capitalist notion of competition. Do a better job than Irving or CBC and it gets THEM scared-even before you get much of an audience. The depressing part is that it would be SO easy to set up a website virtually identical to ‘canadaeast’ but without the Irving bias.

    I don’t think the Agenda is QUITE as bad as Richard does, but Studio 2 WAS far better, and you could tell it was slipping when Eric Margolis was basically fired from the panel. Like the CBC they don’t like to talk ‘grassroots’, maybe they think its beneath them, but talking to activists would be FAR more effective. An effective political news show should not leave viewers asking themselves “but what am I supposed to DO?”

    But it is a LOT of work, which is why I try to get as many posters to contact David as possible. In fact, David is good at the research, so if he didn’t have time to host thats fine too-there are LOTS of journalism students who would LOVE to get some actual exposure. You don’t actually need a studio, you just need a cheap video camera-Charles gets lots of hits on his interviews with a $150 still camera with a video function.

    But unlike the previous attempt it needs to be more than David saying what he’s written in his blog. It also needs to be more than CBC’s panel show where government officials are simply allowed to behave like they do in the legislature-talk without saying anything. If I still lived in NB the first thing I’d do is take a camera to every city and town in the province and do like Charles did and show every closed storefront. All together they make a powerful statement. I think there IS good ‘data’ out there, there are TONS of professors who absolutely LOVE to talk about their research but are just never asked.

    The important thing about ‘good data’ is how to show it. David’s frequent topic is outmigration-a HUGE topic, and while I don’t watch NB’s TV or listen to radio, I can almost never find a story talking to somebody affected by this issue. When I was home at christmas I saw dozens of guys at the moncton airport who quite obviously were home for the weekend and were now flying back to alberta for work and couldn’t help but think what a great video opportunity it would have been. That’s where art is effective, but this whole outmigration thing goes on and I’ve never heard a single song about it, painting, show, or ANYTHING. That’s a real tragedy. Somebody with Davids ‘viewpoint’ just walking around with a video camera talking to people could have so much effect.

  17. Samonymous says:

    Do a better job than Irving or CBC and it gets THEM scared-even before you get much of an audience.

    True, but monopolies or media conglomerates are not monopolies unless they control the levers of government. So don’t think there wouldn’t be any corporate threats via corporate lawyers or calls to government members threatening them to make life hard for those trying to break through. It’s why a couple of industries/sectors have become so dominated by the hands of a few in this province. They don’t play be the rules.

    You don’t actually need a studio, you just need a cheap video camera-Charles gets lots of hits on his interviews with a $150 still camera with a video function.

    That’s true, but you do need money to offset the time and effort it takes to research and perform such a show (and compete), even if it is via skype, a blog or Youtube. It would be nice to do all this pro-bono, but the ones making a dent with the public using the internet and new technology are those that get funding like Huffington Post, Talking Points Memo, Coyne v Wells, etc.

    It’s not an easy task to succeed in, especially in Canada (or the maritimes) where there is little private funding for any type of political orgs (other than AIMS and a few unions that is).

  18. richard says:

    The Irving media have demonstrated very clearly how they will respond to any real threat to their hedgemony. See Woodstock for an example. And, I’m sorry, but amateur approaches will not work here. Blogs won’t cut it. You need a professional profit-seeking organization to compete in the media world. But responsible media need good data to report on and discuss. So: 1) legislation to prevent predatory advertising practices, 2) incentives for editorial content in new hard copy media, 3) public or parapublic institutions to produce the good quality data – the basis for the stories. Need all three.

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