A Taste of Chicago Weekly Insight

In 2000, I moved to Chicago. It was my first measurable time living outside of North Carolina. I stayed in the Midwest for nearly four and a half years and enjoyed every part of the experience. One of the things I loved about Chicago was the vibrancy. There was always something going on.… Full story »

Finding a new gig Weekly Insight

The “gig economy” is one of my favorite cultural designations. It combines coolness, technology, and modernism in a way that sounds desirable. Like most macro concepts, the term has evolved to become more and more loaded, at the same time becoming less and less clear. I have read commentary chastising its deficiencies and seen studies heralding the way that it brings fun to work. … Full story »

‘Following the Money’ in North Carolina Weekly Insight

I am continually interested in how the philanthropic sector operates. Foundations and other grantmaking entities can be mysterious institutions that redistribute wealth into a community based on some combination of strategy and whim. Making them more mysterious is the relative dearth of data and information about how they operate.  There are good reasons for this.… Full story »

A New Public Square Explainer Reach NC Voices Weekly Insight

Our national, state, and local government systems serve more people that were imagined at the point of design. North Carolina, for example, has more than twice as many people as the entire United States in 1790, the year before the state ratified the U.S. Constitution. On good days, I admire the governmental chassis the early engineers designed and remark at how well it has scaled.… Full story »

Social media, bots and civic engagement Reach NC Voices Weekly Insight

One of the difficulties with modern technology innovations is that they often require an understanding of previous technologies in order to be useful.  To appreciate the power of search engines like Google, a user must have an understanding of the web and an appreciation for its potential. The pace of these technological iterations is fast and can be overwhelming to follow. … Full story »

Balancing Act, an interactive tool to share your budget priorities Balancing Act

Do you know how the budget process in North Carolina works? Here is your chance to review the House budget, weigh in on the spending priorities, create your own budget for North Carolina, and share the results.  Balancing Act is an interactive budget simulation tool that allows you to adjust revenue and spending categories to align with your priorities.  … Full story »

Understanding Data Weekly Insight

There are few topics that cause people to glaze over more than discussions about data. Even for those interested in data, discussions quickly shift into acronyms and lingo that is not intuitive and difficult for laypeople to follow.  I find discussions about data frustrating, particularly within the realm of government and public policy.… Full story »

Insight Explainer: Autonomous vehicles Explainer Weekly Insight

Any time I watch a movie or read a book set in the early 20th century, I wonder what it must have felt like to watch the rise of the automobile age. I imagine the awe that normal people must have felt to see chemically-powered machines change the landscape and infrastructure in America. … Full story »

Retiring “rural” Rural Weekly Insight

Discussion over the last several months have unearthed one of my personal bugaboos: how we talk about “rural” in North Carolina. Describing something as rural is similar to saying that a sick person has a cold.  At best, it communicates a broad range of symptoms without offering any precision. At worst, the description misdiagnoses an ailment and slows the attention to the root problem.… Full story »