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Milken Institute Global Conference Highlights Through the Eyes of Todd Harrison

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Lessons learned from America's left coast.

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  • The government support of financial institutions helps commercial real estate with residual benefit; the hope is to avoid direct government support of that sector.

  • Donald Marron, President of Marron Economics LLC, believes that jobs are the fly in the recovery ointment and opined that "the labor market is not commensurate with the recovery." He's less concerned with the tail risk of another Great Depression but wonders if we're Japan or on our way to a robust recovery. The "hope" is for the second scenario. Stimuli slack needs to be soaked up by job growth and we need to slow down the anti-corporate rhetoric.

  • There are four potential solutions to debt problem: inflation, growth, spending, revenues. Each is inherently flawed in isolation; we must identify a workable mix.

  • We are not prepared for the pension mess; we can't pay our promises. We need to rethink policy, such as Medicare. This, too, is consistent with our 2010 themes (and, for that matter, our 2009 Themes as well).

  • I stepped into the next panel, which was awesome and for purposes of the 'Ville, particularly relevant: Developing your brand for online and mobile audiences.

  • Pre-existing behavior is the key to furthering a social trend; spirit is a necessary tailwind.

  • "Friend casting" will overtake Google (GOOG) for personal search in the years ahead.

  • The "message" matters; context is key, reach is critical and you must leverage the masses.

  • There is a massive migration to apps; mobile and tablet. The convergence is here: video traffic, both online and mobile, is a game-changer -- the trend is still emerging. Future franchises must build a video ecosystem and leverage across brand categories.

  • Roughly $70 billion spend on video advertising last year.

  • A click is a digital footprint; data is recycled back to individual behavior recognition patterns. This can be outsourced -- that technology is open-source. Why hire an agency when you can ask the world for creative solutions?
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