When I mention this to peers and other colleagues, they all laugh and say "This will be a short talk, just say 'Yes', get up and walk out."
If you would have asked me a month ago when the Business Publications team approached me to participate on the panel, that would have been my exact response, and my attitude and feedback was negative-bordering-on-sociopathy at our prep-meeting two weeks ago. I have so much pent up frustration surrounding the rate of change in the Des Moines Metro (MSA), as well as the rest of the State, that it's easy for me to slip into anger and hostility about all the things we aren't doing.
One of my top ten favorite books is the Pulitzer Prize-winning “Guns, Germs and Steel”. Author Jared Diamond systematically breaks down the various elements that came into play in the building of civilization as we know it, ranging from indigenous crops, access to tamable large mammals for tilling fields, availability of natural resources, and so on. It is a contentious, complex book that forces the reader to integrate all these variables (and many more) and their resultant impact on our environment. It doesn’t attempt to simplify the dominance of one culture or another by isolating a single variable as the prime factor; rather it shows the inter-relation between them.
In the business world, specifically in the study of entrepreneurialism and startups, we are one step behind these anthropologists. We are still gathering data on the individual factors, and have yet to integrate them meaningfully:
New and ambitious efforts such as the Startup Genome project are attempting to quantify decisions and their resultant impacts across a statistically-significant selection of new ventures, in order to isolate best practices.