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Why Oregon Doesn’t Need an Entrepreneurial ‘Czar’

Monday, November 03, 2014


Photo credit: iStock

Oregon Entrepreneur Czar – really?  Now I’ve heard it all. 

According to the Oregonian, the state is looking for a bureaucrat to be a catalyst for start ups and an inspiration to local companies to think big, here in Oregon. 

Let’s start with the title: Czar. Like: “watch out I’m a bad ass and I’m gonna make stuff happen now.” I can’t help picturing their business card with the word ‘Czar’ on it. ‘Czar’ has a certain je ne sais quoi feel – like this person would always greet you with a Faberge egg as a gift when they met you to talk Czar-stuff.

Calling the position a Czar, kind of reminds me of communist Russia after the fall of an authentic empire. Turned out to be a little out of touch with it’s people in the end.  Which may turn out to be the problem with this position. 

Let’s face it: This is just more taxpayers’ money being thrown out the window like I have watched for the past 20 years, as subsequent administrations try one scheme or another to engineer something that is completely unnatural for this culture and state. 

As I see it, it’s just one more budget with cush positions, for the new ‘Czar’ to travel around the world attending luncheons under the guise of learning best practices abroad. Like there is another country more entrepreneurial than us. 

Point is, until we start acting like a big city and wear big boy pants and not bike shorts we will never be able to play in the big leagues. It’s not authentic at this point.

And is that what we want? We all moved here so we wouldn’t be living in a big city, big state bloated with smoke stacks and cinderblock corporate parks. 

You can’t have it both ways. What’s wrong with living in a small-minded business state and building cool companies that treat their employees well and let them take lots of vacations and work from home or at the mountain or from the coast. Doesn’t that better represent who we are?

You know what? I like to shop at small markets. Charge me more and I spend more on it. I see the value and prefer the experience.  Put it this way: Do you like Zupans because it’s cheaper and bigger than Safeway? Didn’t think so. You like watching your favorite band at the armory or at the Rose Garden? There you go. 

Here’s the problem: We don’t have the revenue in this state to pay for all the freeloaders and part time workers that want to spend most of their time having fun and drinking coffee and eating at food carts.

One way to avoid having to come up with all these cockamamie ideas like ‘Czars’ is to have a sales tax. We need revenue – not necessarily big companies. We don’t need to be big to thrive. 

A sales tax might just work. That way the rich swells could pay and the slackers could pay. We all would be contributing to the common good. Win Win. 

So stop with the obsession to be San Francisco, NYC, Chicago or LA. We are in Oregon and we just happen to be attracting some of the smartest and most creative people on the planet. There’s a reason they come here, and it’s not because of some government appointee.  


If we do that we have officially jumped the shark and you better start looking for a new place to grow your beard. 

Originally from New York, Scott Taylor moved to Portland in 1996. He's an entrepreneur, Internet millionaire, former MadMan, author, eco-industrialist and disruptive force. 

Banner Photo Credit: iStock 


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