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VIA’s B2B industry show serves up exhibitors and keynote speakers

Posted: May 8, 2014 6:13 p.m.
Updated: May 8, 2014 6:13 p.m.

Jeffrey Cleveland, a senior economist with Payden & Rygel, gives the keynote speech at the VIA B2B Luncheon at the Hyatt Regency Valencia hotel on Thursday. Signal photo by Katharine Lotze.

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Speakers delivered two distinctive messages to the business leaders attending the Valley Industry Associations’ luncheon Thursday at its annual Business-to-Business industry trade show.

Jeffrey Cleveland, principal and chief economist of Payden & Rygel, used the metaphor of swimming across the English Channel to describe the changing economic drivers.

There are some business “currents” that affect recovery, including the types of new firms that are launching, he said. Technology is one of those currents.

Looking at like businesses such as Blockbuster and Netflix, Cleveland pointed out that Blockbuster employed as many as 60,000 people in 2004. Just 10 years later, Netflix employed only 2,022 people in 2014.

Polaroid employed 21,000 people in 1978, but Instagram had only 13 people when it was acquired by Facebook in 2012.

There are new firms that add value but may not be hiring as many people as past companies once did, Cleveland noted.

Also, the number of new firms — which drive job growth — doesn’t meet the need for quick post-recession recovery.

Lending slowed down the start up of new firms and while Cleveland said it always takes time to work through the issues of an economic collapse, he said communities need to encourage, foster and help new firms get started.

The economy, however, is steadily recovering at a moderate pace. And the economy is also much more dynamic than the public generally realizes, he said.

“We are through the worst of it but still have a way to go before we have a robust economy,” Cleveland said.

When making decisions to grow, Cleveland stressed, business leaders should ignore most of the “noise” they hear about the economy. Cleveland gave the advice despite the fact that he is one the media experts who appears on TV to provide instant analysis as job or GDP numbers are released.

“The noise doesn’t help you understand what’s going on at all,” Cleveland said.

In the spirit of encouraging business and personal growth, Noelia Rodriguez, former White House press secretary and director of communications for First Lady Laura Bush, described relationships as the key to one’s success.

One never knows the effect he or she might have in another’s person’s life and what power that influence might have, she said.

Describing people she met only briefly in her professional life but spent the time to speak with, Rodriguez said she was surprised to later learn what life paths people had taken in their careers as a result of those few moments of discussion/

“Don’t shut doors on others,” Rodriguez said. “Take the time to help the people around you. That’s what VIA’s all about — making it work for all of the businesses.”



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