G20: The world comes to Pittsburgh, home of MEMS Industry Group

Monica Takacs, Director of Marketing and Membership, MEMS Industry Group

After much preparation, the G20 is finally underway in Pittsburgh. MEMS Industry Group is proud that our fair hometown will be showcased to the world. Hopefully we’ll get rid of our inaccurate reputation as a dirty steel town, an industry that has been gone since I was a little kid in the seventies.

According to the Pittsburgh G20 web site, “The reason the White House chose Pittsburgh was that today it serves as a model for economic and environmental transformation in the United States and abroad. The city has reinvented itself by building a balanced, innovation-driven economy based on its strengths in advanced manufacturing, financial services, information and communications technologies, health care and life sciences, education and research, and energy and environmental solutions.”  This list of innovators includes a hand full of MEMS manufacturers and users.

To kick off the G20, the Pittsburgh Technology Council brought in Eric Schmidt, CEO and Chairman of Google to speak to area technology leaders and to inspire all of us to continue to innovate. Google opened an office in Pittsburgh in 2006. Mr. Schmidt covered many topics that hit home for any successful company, including MEMS companies. He echoed some of the points that were made by the companies that we interviewed as part of the preliminary research for METRIC 2009, in fact.  Mr. Schmidt shared these tidbits of knowledge and recommendation:

  • “Empower your employees” – Mr. Schmidt talked about how employees should love their work. Innovators don’t like being told what to do. Let your employees work on what they are passionate about; you’d be surprised about the innovative new ideas they bring to the table.
  • Know your corporate culture – There is a corporate culture within every company. If you ask the CEO about the culture, you’ll get a different response than if you ask a member of the staff. If you are the CEO, make sure to ask your staff about the corporate culture and learn from them.
  • Transparency – Let your customer know what is going on with your organization. Post everything to your web site, you never know who’s loooking.
  • Advice to young people – Work harder. And older folks should turn off the TV and go talk to the young people around them. Then go work for them.
  • Acquisitions – Look for small innovators to acquire. These companies may enhance your technology, but don’t come with all of the baggage of a larger company. For example, Google recently acquired reCAPTCHA, a CMU spin-off company here in Pittsburgh.

I found his talk to be very timely with the G20 in town. The G20, the economic summit of the world’s largest economies in the world, convenes in Pittsburgh, September 24-25, to talk about the global financial crisis and economic policies.  It’s apparent, that innovators, like those in MEMS and other technologies, will play an important role in improving the world’s economic situation and will continue to move society as we know it forward. Keep up the good fight!!!!

You can read more about the event with Eric Schmidt in the Pittsburgh Business Times. You can learn more about Pittsburgh’s G20 summit at http://www.g20pittsburghsummit.org.