Yelp's Luther Lowe, the sort of person the tech park would want to attract, talks tech park | Arkansas Blog

Friday, May 31, 2013

Yelp's Luther Lowe, the sort of person the tech park would want to attract, talks tech park

Posted By on Fri, May 31, 2013 at 4:25 PM

Luther Lowe yelp image

Local politicos will remember Luther Lowe, who's in town today leading a social-media training session. The Fayetteville native worked for retired Gen. Wesley Clark and the state Democratic Party in the mid-aughts before taking a position in 2008 at Yelp, the online business directory and review platform. His current position is director of business outreach and public policy. What's that mean? Mostly explaining what Yelp does to policymakers, Lowe said earlier this week. He's also working to convince government agencies to use Yelp as a platform for garnering feedback from the citizens it serves as well as figuring out different ways the company can use open government datasets. For instance, Yelp recently created an open-data standard for information on restaurant health-inspection scores (it’s currently only available in the San Francisco area). Lowe said the company was inspired by the geographic-information standards Google helped define with Google Maps.

“Yelp is calling on cities to arrange their data in a certain way and provide it on a real time feed that other people can take advantage of,” Lowe said. “Usually the private sector, where the success of businesses relies on beautiful and functional products, is better equipped to take a [data] file and make it useful. Taxpayers sort of subsidize creation of that information, but it doesn’t see the light of day because governments aren’t the best at putting the data in a place that’s easy to access. You’re not going to go to a dot.gov site before you go out to dinner; you’re going to go to Yelp.”

Lowe still keeps tabs on politics and tech in Arkansas. His take on the tech park? It should be downtown. “You imagine pitching to a company like Yelp or Twitter or any cool young tech company. They don’t want to be in a strip mall. They want to be somewhere with a sense of vibrancy, where you’re catering to a younger demographic and you’re flanked by a cool, hip scene.”

Lowe thinks Arkansas has a natural predisposition to become a tech player. “If you look at innovative companies, it’s the Arkansas way. We’re independent, scrappy, innovative people. We have the DNA for tech entrepreneurship. Acxiom in downtown Little Rock is a great symbol of that.

“I dream about coming back to Little Rock and poaching some guys from Acxiom and getting space in the LaHarpe building, getting a ping pong table and a keg and going for it.”

When I said that sort of impulse might be an argument against the tech-park vision, Lowe said he understood the vision was fairly undefined. Which is true. “What I’m imagining is an incubator," he said. "That kind of tech park would be a definite magnet. Free rent and internet — that’s huge.”

Tags: , , , ,

From the ArkTimes store

Favorite

Comments (12)

Showing 1-12 of 12

Add a comment

 
Subscribe to this thread:
Showing 1-12 of 12

Add a comment

More by Lindsey Millar

  • The Hate Week Edition

    White supremacy and Donald Trump, Confederate statutes, the state’s new execution plan, a blow to Planned Parenthood in Arkansas, the LRPD and the homeless — all covered on this week's edition.
    • Aug 18, 2017
  • Werner Herzog coming to Hot Springs Documentary Film Festival

    The Hot Springs Documentary Film Festival has scored a coup, landing Werner Herzog, one of the most influential and surely the most interesting documentary filmmakers ever for its upcoming festival, Oct. 6-15.
    • Aug 18, 2017
  • The Arkansas Cinema Society's must-see 'Premiere'

    The new outfit kicks off with Adam Driver "A Ghost Story" and more.
    • Aug 17, 2017
  • More »

Readers also liked…

  • Super Bowl line

    Over to you.
    • Feb 7, 2016
  • Arkansan on Obama's latest commutation list

    President Obama today announced commutations of the sentences of 111 federal prisoners, including one from Arkansas.
    • Aug 30, 2016
  • More on how highways were used to wipe out "blight" of non-white neighborhoods

    Vox, a news website that concerns itself with energy and other issues, has a fine piece, including before and after images, on the history of the U.S. interstate system and why roads were built through the middle of cities (unless people of influence stopped them — see Manhattan, San Francisco and Washington, D.C.)
    • Mar 22, 2016

Most Shared

  • Take yourself there: Mavis Staples coming to LR for Central High performance

    Gospel and R&B singer and civil rights activist Mavis Staples, who has been inspiring fans with gospel-inflected freedom songs like "I'll Take You There" and "March Up Freedom's Highway" and the poignant "Oh What a Feeling" will come to Little Rock for the commemoration of the 60th anniversary of the desegregation of Central High.
  • Klan's president

    Everything that Donald Trump does — make that everything that he says — is calculated to thrill his lustiest disciples. But he is discovering that what was brilliant for a politician is a miscalculation for a president, because it deepens the chasm between him and most Americans.
  • On Charlottesville

    Watching the Charlottesville spectacle from halfway across the country, I confess that my first instinct was to raillery. Vanilla ISIS, somebody called this mob of would-be Nazis. A parade of love-deprived nerds marching bravely out of their parents' basements carrying tiki torches from Home Depot.

Most Viewed

Most Recent Comments

Blogroll

 

© 2017 Arkansas Times | 201 East Markham, Suite 200, Little Rock, AR 72201
Powered by Foundation