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Conversations With Sven Gustafson

This is Detroit’s dinner party conversation, with multiple segments with local tastemakers, artists and entrepreneurs. They don’t call it the Paris of the Midwest for nothing! Host Sven Gustafson is a former journalist and bartender, and a fan of tasty food and drink — and Swedish pancakes. He hosts a smart and engaging conversation about Detroit’s fast-changing restaurant, arts and entertainment scene each week with a variety of fascinating guests and quick-hit segments. Join us as we explore the city through a fun and insightful lens.
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Jan 20, 2018

Detroit’s failure to make the list of 20 finalists for Amazon’s $5 billion HQ2 project and its 50,000 jobs has been the talk of the town. Especially after the all-hands-on-deck effort to produce a joint Detroit-Windsor bid that had many people believing the Motor City, once considered strictly a longshot, had a serious chance.

We talk to five local experts from a variety of backgrounds for their perspectives on what the failure says about our region and where we go from here.

  • Justin Robinson, vice president of business attraction with the Detroit Regional Chamber, who was part of the team that helped put together the HQ2 proposal
  • John Mogk, a law professor at Wayne State University and expert on urban policy and economic development
  • Kurt Metzger, a longtime population demographer who is currently mayor of Pleasant Ridge
  • Tom Lawrence, founder and CEO of Lawrence Technology Systems and host of a popular tech vlog and YouTube channel
  • And Nuri Gocay, a co-host of the IT in the D podcast and technology veteran who has worked for companies including Google and Expedia in cities around the world.

Our experts differ on their reactions — Robinson and Mogk were surprised we were left off the list, while Gocay and Lawrence, less so. But they all raised interesting points about Detroit’s image and quality of life, our technology scene, and shortcomings around transit and education.

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