Nowhere Else But Detroit

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I’ve written about Detroit’s anarcho-bus company, here and here. Andy Didorosi is the amazing twenty-something entrepreneur who took the risks and built a great market solution for out-of-the-dark-ages transportation for the city of Detroit. This is a wonderful and snappy, 6-minute video about Didorosi and his impact on the city with a private bus company called, appropriately enough, Detroit Bus Company. Some of the city shots are spectacular in the video’s high definition.

Didorosi’s frame of mind is very libertarian, for the most part. Didorosi may not read the KDC blog on the positive economics of Detroit that starts with entrepreneur-leaders and grass roots voluntaryism, but he notes that Detroit is a special place where you have a chance to make a real difference because there is an extraordinary supply of resources – buildings, land, human capital – just waiting to be activated.

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Didorosi talks about his ideas to devise something beyond the “rudimentary bus system.” That is, solving transportation issues using creative methodologies. His most emblematic statement is his assertion that he “couldn’t have done this anywhere else in the world but Detroit.” Not San Francisco, not Europe, not anywhere else. The two reasons that he states are (1) there’s no reason for this bus company to exist anywhere but Detroit, and, more importantly, (2) he “would have been priced out of the market completely anywhere else.” And that “price” also includes the costs of maneuvering through a massive regulatory web of political gatekeepers and powerful special interests that inhabit most cities. The ineptness and lack of leadership in Detroit actually allows for serial entrepreneurial efforts to flourish in spite of any existing intervention structure.

The only misstep I want to point out is that Didorosi is incorrect when he says “busing is a public issue and it should be solved publicly,” even though he admits thereafter that it is private entrepreneurs like him who have to innovate, build technology, and work toward market solutions. But our young prodigy will learn as he navigates the waters of success and comes up against those who want to keep him from being successful. As a side note, Didorosi also notes that after his bus company installed location trackers, DDOT (Detroit Department of Transportation) copied him and installed bus trackers in their own busses. So while free markets are always innovation leaders and technology developers, markets can and will provide any product or service where claims are made for the necessity of public goods.

Oh, and Didorosi, like so many young ambitious types here in Detroit, is a serial entrepreneur. Enjoy the video. This is cross-posted at my blog, “Detroit: from Rust to Riches.”

9:28 pm on August 21, 2013
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