Josh McManus: The City Interventionist

McManus’s experience includes more than 20 years as a serial social and business entrepreneur. An innovator in entrepreneurial development, placemaking and cultivating emerging leadership, Josh’s work focuses on solving problems in post-industrial American cities. His work began in Chattanooga where he helped transform the city from a 18/5 city to a 24/7 city. He also helped build companies and community projects in Cincinnati, Akron, and Detroit. In Detroit, Josh served as the Chief Operating Officer at Rock Ventures, the organization that serves and connects entrepreneur and Quicken Loans Founder and Chairman and majority owner of the Cleveland Cavaliers Dan Gilbert’s Family of more than 100 companies, as well as his investments, real estate purchases and community activities. An avid reader, BBQ pit master, and prolific beard grower, McManus is currently focusing on how to fuse his time in the C-suite in the for-profit sector with his time working in social services to help companies build “for-purpose” organizations. In this episode, John and Josh cover an array of topics but some of the highlights include entrepreneurial farm leagues, personal learning and production systems, competitive advantages for attracting major employers to cities and even some insights into city-building learned from working security detail at Bonnaroo.

Insights & Inspirations

  • “My operating systems is built on a concern for confusing movement and progress.” – Josh McManus
  • From work in Detroit: “we hired folks from ages 18 to 22, because we figured that’s who you’re trying to retain, so just start by hiring a few of them.:”  – Josh McManus
  • We went to a pull system, and said, “We’re gonna focus on the middle, and we’re also gonna bet small instead of bet big. We’re gonna bet on all of these small businesses, hundreds, if not thousands of them, that will let the cream rise to the top. Instead of picking out a couple of businesses that need to start in the industrial park, and say this is gonna be it. Or build a new Target on the bypass, we’ll help all these little businesses start.” – Josh McManus
  • “Why don’t you build places people like to be, and then people will come there.”  – Andres Duany
  • I’m very bullish on the places that have lower barriers to entry, because I think they’re experimenting with next generation retail, next generation restaurants, the way that the world is gonna work a hundred years from now, rather than the way the world worked a hundred years ago.- Josh McManus

Guest Information & Links