Note: The Skinny blog is written by Rick Smith, editor and co-founder of Local Tech Wire and business editor of

RALEIGH, N.C. – The more The Skinny talked with the visiting correspondent from a technology news group at the last week, the stream of positive statements about the Triangle grew.

Finally, The Skinny looked at the reporter and said, “Man, I sound like a Triangle economic development or Chamber of Commerce spokesperson.”

But, the truth is the truth. We all too often focus on our faults and shortcomings, not our strengths. Divisive politics has a lot to do with that. Continuing high unemployment also has a lot of people feeling – and deservedly so – left out by the Triangle’s continuing transformation into a high-tech showpiece.

Bottom line: Raleigh and the Triangle residents can take a great deal of pride in our communities.

These are facts, not brag.

The setting for the WWW 2010 was Raleigh’s sparkling new Convention Center. It is a dazzling place. Not a Taj Mahal, mind you, but the many international visitors gathered in Raleigh for the conference certainly didn’t have to complain about lack of facilities.

Plus, the organizers from UNC-CH and N.C. State put on a tremendous event. WWW 2010 was top drawer in every respect.

In welcoming the reporter who was visiting the Triangle, The Skinny began listing some of this area’s many benefits.

If you live here, you know most of them. Admit it. This is a great place to live, raise a family and build a career.

Making all these “Best of” lists is no accident and not gained by bribery.

  • Climate
  • Quality of life
  • Technology base
  • Three major universities
  • Several fine colleges and community colleges
  • Good K-12 education infrastructure, private and public

Now, some of the specifics:

Raleigh’s downtown has been transformed, anchored by the new RBC skyscraper, the Civic Center, the new Marriott, the remodeled main street.

Why, there’s even a Krispy Kreme with hot donuts.

Raleigh’s renaissance extends to North Hills. If you haven’t been there lately, you owe yourself to visit, shop and be entertained.

The Park itself, despite the implosion of Nortel and the abandonment of the area by Sony Ericsson, continues to be a model for research parks worldwide. Quintiles; new headquarters is a fine addition, and companies such as EMC aren’t expanding here just for the tax incentives.

The universities all continue to grow, especially in high tech, engineering and medical science – key pillars to our country’s knowledge economy.

Raleigh is growing a finance center.

And the life science sector is now responsible for some 100,000 jobs, direct and related, based on a new report out this week.

GSK picked RTP for its U.S. headquarters.

SAS is always at the list of top global software firms – and places to work.

Cree is leading the global embrace of more energy efficient LED lighting.

Novartis picked the region for its mammoth vaccine plant.

The list just goes on and on.

Yes, problems remain. Some people want mass transit. Others lament what they see as sprawl, which supports see as growth.

But take a breath, Triangle residents, and say a collective “Thank You” for where you live. The private and public sector leadership over the past 50 years has teamed up to make the Research Triangle Park region a shining light for the world.

The Skinny didn’t talk to one person at the WWW 2010 event who didn’t have many kind words for the cleanliness, the climate (they missed the pollen, thank the maker), the facilities – and so much more.

So, here’s a tip of the hat from the Skinny to the Triangle.

Congrats on an ever-continuing job that will never be done.

So far, so good.

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