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#10: Kurt Badenhausen of Forbes Magazine

Kurt_Badenhausen_picYou’ve probably heard that Maine has been ranked the worst state in the union for business, but you may not know much about what’s behind those rankings. This week we dig deeper into the topic, with Kurt Badenhausen, senior editor of Forbes magazine, developer of the best known ranking. Kurt’s been doing this ranking for many years, really dives deep into the analysis, and offers lots of valuable perspective.
Maine is not actually last in any category, and scores better than New Hampshire in business costs, something that may surprise you. And what really surprised me was that a low cost of living won’t get you high in the ranking; and that access to education, arts and culture are among the most important factors in scoring well.
But still, I don’t know about having a worse quality of life than New Jersey.

So, do you think Maine deserves to be 50th?  Leave a comment below.

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  • martin.j.grohman@gmail.com on

    Many thanks to Kurt Badenhausen for coming on the show. What did you think?


    • Bryan on

      It’s interesting to hear how much data is involved with these rankings and the thought behind them. Ultimately though what are they for? I would argue they are less about news/reporting and more about getting readers to pick up an issue or click through to the article as everyone wants to see where their state or city is ranked. They are terribly misused as the basis for public policy.


  • martin.j.grohman@gmail.com on

    Bryan – I tend to agree. I think Kurt as much as admits that in the show – different measurements will matter to different businesses. In fact, if you wanted low cost of living, good schools, good availability of labor force, low cost of business investment, Maine would be at or near the top.

    The other thing I think these studies always miss is access to markets – nothing happens until somebody sells something. It’s the most important thing in every business. If you’re going to ship into high end east coast and international markets coming out of Kansas City, you’re not going to do as well as you would from Maine.


  • Joey Laurento on

    Maine has successful small businesses, but fails when it come to BIG BUSINESS, with good paying jobs. Take it from somebody who loved in the tri state area(PHILLY) and spent plenty of time in Jersey. Life in Maine is GREAT!!!


  • Mick Dunn on

    Great interview Marty & Kurt – I can’t help but think that perhaps the list would be better titled as “Best States for Big Business”… as it feels like that’s what it’s built for.

    I’ve run a business in Maine for 5 years now, and am very glad I’m here. In the 3 years since I’ve done it full time, I’ve already managed to meet and talk with both Senator Susan Collins and Angus King. Just merely pointing out that it’s not as difficult to have a voice here in Maine if you need to be heard.

    Regarding quality of life – One thing I’ve found since this interview is that Maine is ranked as the #1 state in the USA as the “Most Peaceful Place To Live”… Seriously, doesn’t that say enough? Perhaps this should be introduced as a new metric at Forbes. CHECK IT OUT – http://www.visionofhumanity.org/#/page/indexes/us-peace-index

    If we asked ourselves the importance of “Peace” in the workplace and in the surrounding marketplace & environment, then I believe we’re getting closer to measuring a company’s ability to connect with it’s people and achieve it’s highest vision…


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