St. Louis’ Commute Time Is An Intangible Asset!

Michael D. Moberly   December 26, 2015 – ‘A business blog where attention span really matters’!

Any decision maker today, on behalf of their business or organization is obliged to recognize IA’s (intangible assets) are just that, they are indeed intangible, i.e., intellectual, structural, competitive, and relationship capital. The individual and/or collaborative ways IA’s contribute to value, revenue, and competitiveness when effectively captured (exploited and utilized) are non-physical, thus not amenable to many of the conventional (human) senses.

It is here, I wish to convey an example which emerged earlier this week through a locally produced NPR (National Public Radio) program wherein a panel of city marketing specialists discussed findings of a recent study that measured, compared, and contrasted specific categories of what I refer to as ‘competitive economics’ among comparably sized U.S. cities, one of which of course is St. Louis. One aspect of this study calculated ‘average daily commute times’ (to-from work) among the respective cities.

This panel touted lower average commute times for St. Louis as constituting as an attractive – enticing differentiator to prospective companies and their labor force. Interestingly, the panelists articulated ‘commute time’, somewhat mistakenly in my view, in a tangible (physical) asset context. To be sure commute times are important, for some, more than others when narrowly conveyed in minutes of actual – daily windshield time.

One’s commute time is an intangible (asset), because it is quite personal, i.e., relative to each driver-passenger in an auto, bus, or light rail, and dependent on the presence-absence of countless variables which variously affect one’s perspective of specific commutes of which few can be (tangibly) mitigated aside from experience and familiarity with a locale, and inclination/willingness to execute alternatives. Otherwise, ‘average commute times’ are, in my view, akin to presumptive aspirations.

The point I wish to make here may be interpreted by some as being superfluous minutia which has little or no relevance to commute times. Oh, but it does! Any business management teams’ inability to distinguish tangible (physical) assets from intangible (non-physical) assets and dismissing – trivializing the latter’s contributory role and value is a sure path to missed opportunities.

Mr. Moberly is an intangible asset strategist and risk specialist and author of ‘Safeguarding Intangible Assets’ published by Elsevier in 2014.

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