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Synapse Podcast With Steve LeBeau, Louis King, Casey Allen And I Talking About Economic Development, Job Creation And Minnesota Startups



Synapse Podcast with Steve LeBeau, Louis King, Casey Allen and Paul DeBettignies

It all started with Casey Allen sending me an email:

“do you want to be on a podcast with me?”

And a link to Steve LeBeau’s podcast “Synapse: Think Tank Of The Air”

While I had not previously met Steve (@splebeau), I knew who he was. At one time he was the Editor in Chief of Minnesota Business and at other times a writer, producer, editor for TV, radio, print and the web. His current passion is Synapse:

“The Social Mission of Synapse is to Connect Diverse Twin Cities Influencers and pick their brains for the Greater Good”

“Heck yeah” was my reply.

Casey follows up by saying there is a 3rd guest who I had also heard of but never met. Louis King is the CEO of Summit Academy OIC:

“We exist to assist individuals in developing their ability to earn and to become contributing citizens in their community. Our fundamental belief is: the best social service program in the world is a job”

I told Casey:

“We might be in over our heads… these are some smart fellas”

As Casey and I are walking in the elevator to the studio we meet Louis. It took maybe 3 minutes for us to be quick friends. We’re already talking about jobs, the economy and stuff when Steve comes out and asks us to stop talking. He wanted to be able to record our chat.

What follows is a summary of our conversation and at the bottom you can hear the whole conversation.

We start with Louis talking about his time in the military and how it translates into what he does today. He gives us some background on Summit and how it trains people for jobs. The focus has been on construction jobs and they are going to be getting into the tech industry. He said something that gave me a big pause…

“There is no such thing as a black middle class neighborhood in Minneapolis.”

He spoke about the history and state of the African American community when it comes to jobs, neighborhoods, and schools.

That was the first segment.

Segment two gets us started with Casey and talking about job creation in the startup community and the Fortune 500 groups. He talks about how his interest likes in the few companies who really break out and do something special. And that is where a lot of job creation can happen.

I was highly opinionated this day and mention that I think most companies suck at recruiting, hiring and retention. I go further by saying that most companies talk ab out diversity and inclusion but are doing little about it. I then talk about how companies and individuals need to get out of their comfort zone.

Louis talks about how companies who are seeing the future are creating partnerships like Summit has with Atomic Data. He talks about how over the decades the military had to change how wars were fought and so do businesses need to change or they will go they way of Woolworths and Sears.

Casey talks about how he finds people… how he matches them together. We talk about Enterprise Rising and how he is looking to cover the costs of 50 female founders so they can easily attend his event.

Segment three Louis starts by talking about apprenticeships, getting people accredited and then how to get people connected.

We talk about automation in the tech space and how people may be replaced. I mention that tech pros need to learn the business and business folks need to learn some coding. I talk about my ongoing rant against the tech industry and not doing well with bringing people along with training. And this is not just a tech thing. Most companies don’t do well with junior or less experienced workers.

Casey talks about innovation and how big companies usually outsource the act of innovation… how companies when they get to a size, surviving becomes a thing and risk and failure is not usually a good thing.

Louis has a word that is my new favorite “yesterminute”. He talks about how far in advance he thinks when it comes to strategy.

And then we wrapped.

Casey and I walking out of the studio and he says:

“How do you think that went?”

I said:

“That was awesome. We need to have more conversations like the one we just had.”

For the next day my brain was on fire with ideas.

Thanks to Steve for bringing us together and to WCCO Radio for use of the studio.




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