Intelligent Business Retention: Data & the difference between good economic development & wasting time

An AccelerateUs: Dispatches from the Front Lines of the Local Industrial Revolution conversation. 


You might notice that the video of this AccelerateUs conversation looks a little different than other ones in this series.  That’s because I let Anatalio Ubalde have some fun giving the first version some mixtape treatment.  It’s possible that the altitude or the isolation might have been messing with his head a bit, but the Easter Egg added courtesy of his son at the end deserves to be immortalized.


You can watch our conversation above, or listen to it on Soundcloud here.  You can also pick up this and other AccelerateUs interviews on Stitcher or Spotify as part of the Building a Wise Local Economy podcast.

Anatalio Ubalde is a legend among economic developers for his first company, which created the widely-used site data tool ZoomProspector.  For his next business, Anatalio and his team decided to use new data technology to create SizeUp — an online tool that helps small businesses understand their market potential in ways that were impossible for them before.  After ZoomProspector’s success in changing how economic developers handle information around business recruitment, SizeUp looked like the data solution to doing effective Business Retention and Expansion support (in the industry, that’s shortened as BR&E).  But, as Anatalio discovered, the common practices of supporting a community’s existing businesses had problems that go deeper than data.

In this interview, Anatalio outlines some of the key findings of SizeUp’s new white paper on economic practices during the pandemic.  In a conversation that ranges from the disproportionate impact of crises like the COVID-19 pandemic on disadvantaged residents, to the impact of  artificial intelligence on traditional employment measures, to ways to make data-driven decisions easier and more impactful for local businesses of all types, Anatalio helps us understand what the future of economic development needs to look like in a changing world.

And he does all of this while executing a not-quite-death-defying-but-a-little-too-close-stunt that is best documented at the end of the conversation.  In the words of the younger Ubalde:

“Dad, you’re dumb.”



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