Explaining Southern California's economy

VIDEO: So you want to start a company?

How to Become a Billionaire

Jonathan Benn/KPCC

Matt DeBord explains how to become a billionaire.

People start businesses for lots of reasons. They crave entrepreneurship, they cherish independence, they want to change the world, they hope to get rich, they believe that they have a business idea or a product or service that deserves to get to market. 

Some just want to get the private jet and the second yacht and the third home. 

Some could care less about the money and are basically ill-suited to punch the clock for anyone but themselves.

But no matter what the motive, anyone who wants to start a business has a fundamental need: Money!

KPCC's terrific video team — and new addition Jonathan Benn, who's a talented young animator — and I put together the explainer above. It has a startup-y emphasis: This is how you launch a company that might follow the pattern of a Twitter, Facebook, or Instagram. But the general idea — that funding is essential for you to grow and thrive — applies to any kind of new business.

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Self-employment won't save California from jobs crisis

Job Fair At Marlin Stadium Draws Many Seeking Employment

Joe Raedle/Getty Images

First, the good news: unemployment continues to fall in California, to 11.1 percent in December from 11.3 in November. Basically, California is beginning to add jobs at a decent clip — the pace is faster than the nation as a whole. However, the state was clobbered far worse the rest of the country during the downturn, so our unemployment rate remains above the national level of 8.5 percent.

Now the bad news: for a lot of people to get a job these days, they have to create it — themselves! This is from the LA Times:

Self-employment is often the only option for workers with limited education and skills, suggested Christopher Thornberg, principal at Beacon Economics, a Los Angeles consultancy.

"They're struggling, trying to get ahead," he said. "For every guy we see selling fruit on the corner somewhere, there's another guy working as a DJ doing sweet 16 parties and probably making a good dime."

That entrepreneurial spirit is very Californian. "It's healthy," said economist Jerry Nickelsburg with the UCLA Forecast. "People stop looking for others to provide jobs and start using their own creativity."

But this surge of self-employment also underscores fraying job security and declining wages and benefits in many industries. Some hard-pressed employers are shedding full-time workers and hiring independent contractors to do the same jobs for lower pay.

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GOP's Frank Luntz: The first rule of capitalism is you do not talk about capitalism

Check this out: the Occupy movement is changing the way that GOP strategists are telling people to talk about the protest phenomenon. Or more accurately, not talk about it.

At Yahoo, Chris Moody captures a series of talking/not-talking points dispensed by Frank Luntz at a Republican governors' gathering in Florida. Here are my two favorites (there are 10 total, plus a bonus, which agues that "bonuses" shouldn't be called that):

1. Don't say 'capitalism.'

"I'm trying to get that word removed and we're replacing it with either 'economic freedom' or 'free market,' " Luntz said. "The public . . . still prefers capitalism to socialism, but they think capitalism is immoral. And if we're seen as defenders of quote, Wall Street, end quote, we've got a problem."

[...]

8. Out: 'Entrepreneur.' In: 'Job creator.'

Use the phrases "small business owners" and "job creators" instead of "entrepreneurs" and "innovators."

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Why entrepreneurs can't save the U.S. economy

Spencer Platt/Getty Images

Sheila Collins protests with others outside of U.S. Senator Charles Schumer`s office to demand more jobs on April 1, 2011 in New York City.

America loves entrepreneurs. And in the current dreadful economy, we're looking to the risk-takers and idea-guys more than ever to get us out of our unemployment rut. In some respects, you could call the entire Republican economic platform a formula for spurring entrepreneurship, with its combination of tax cuts and reduced regulation. Then again, you could say the same thing of the Democrats, who want the government to spend more money to stimulate demand for the products that entrepreneurs would create.

KPCC's Shereen Marisol Meraji reported from Los Angeles' entrepreneurship central today on the Madeleine Brand Show. She visited a co-working space and investigated the process of business-building at its most grassroots level. I'm energized by stuff like this, but I also have to throw a small amount of cold water in the face of the idea. The fact is that as important as entrepreneurs are to the economy, it's unlikely that they'll be able to create enough jobs to hammer down a 9.1 percent unemployment rate nationally and a 12-plus-percent unemployment rate in LA County.

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