Decision MediaWorks

How Many Restaurants Are In Florida?

Ever wondered what Florida county has the most residents per restaurant?

I did.

To satisfy my curiosity I pulled the number of restaurant permits in each county going back to the 1987 and got to work. The “Pop/Rest” stat shows the population divided by the number of restaurants in each county. The PoP/Rest stat is a proxy to the amount of disposable income in each county.

Counties where people have little disposable income have fewer restaurants because people eat out less. Wealthier counties (or counties with lots of tourists) have more restaurants because there are more diners to serve.

In 2012, Liberty county had 1,704 residents for every restaurant. In Orange County however, there were 402 residents for each restaurant. In effect, Orange County residents dine out six times more often than Liberty County residents.

You can explore the data in the interactive viz below.

What Industry Has The Largest Economic Footprint In Florida?

I took some time off over the holidays to rest and learn some new tools and techniques. I’m back to it and excited for a 2014 that promises to be a great year for Florida’s political and policy observers.

I will start the year simple because sometimes it is interesting to take a fresh look at basic data.

Recently, I pulled a simple data set on the economic contributions in gross state product (GSP) of various sectors of the Florida economy. The PDF chart below shows the 2012 economic in Florida of each NAICS industry classification.

Here are a few counter intuitive items I noted:

-Government is the second largest economic sector in Florida at over $90 billion.

-Agriculture is the second smallest industry sector in that state at $8 billion.

-Professional, scientific and technical services sector has a larger economic footprint than do hotels and restaurants.

The chart is found here (FloridaGSPByNAICS). Keep in mind, the Y-axis (GSP value) is shows in thousands of millions. So, 1k on the chart is equal to $1 billion in economic worth.

The New Market for Political Startups

Last week, Democratic tech company NGP VAN announced it was acquiring start-up NationalField (read about it here). Here are three reasons why this is a significant event in the political world.

1. The ability to build and sell a scalable business will attract entrepreneurs and innovation to politics. Previously, the only models that worked in politics were pure “professional services” business models. The trouble with professional services like consulting and lobbying is that they do not scale.

N.B. Think of scale as the cost associated with every client or account. A political consultant can only take as many clients as he has time to service. In essence, it is very expensive to scale a consulting firm because each new client requires new allotments of time from the consultant. A tech company, however, scales cheaply because it can automate many of its services.

The result of the political start-up market should be a lot of new online services and tools for campaigns and office holders.

2. NationalField shows that innovations on the campaign trail can be commercialized to the private sector. NationalField provides whats called a Customer Relationship Management System (CRM) to manage contact and interactions with voters. The CRM market is very large as almost every company on the planet deploys some type of CRM solution.

NationalField, however, is unique because it has overcome a challenge almost all campaigns face; the NationalField CRM had to be dummy proof so it could be used by any volunteer with minimal training.

NationalField succeeded in making their product so simple to use that they attracted companies looking to reduce their CRM training costs. In essence, making a CRM easy for volunteers to use with voters resulted in a CRM that was also easy for customer service staff to use with customers in business environments.

3. The NationalField acquisition shows that user experience and preference matter. NGP VAN could have built a competing platform but instead opted to purchase the platform preferred by progressive operatives and volunteers.

The GOP method in the past has been to hire contractors to develop software in-house. The trouble is that these GOP projects usually result in slow and unstable products which frustrate users. In response, GOP operatives gravitate to an array of independent platforms (like WebElect in Florida) which are not designed to share and sync voter data with each other. The result is that information gained from voters by one campaign is not shared to other campaigns. Without this master database, it is impossible to do the advanced data analytics pioneered by the Obama campaign.

Check back next week for the factors that are key to building a successful political start-up, as well as some companies in Florida that may be attractive acquisition targets (or maybe even acquirers themselves).

Jobs of Florida’s State Legislators

Many people outside of “the process” do not realize that Florida’s legislature is a part-time body. As most readers of this post will know, Florida’s lawmakers are “citizen legislators” who hold regular jobs outside of the Capitol.

What jobs are typical of legislators? Do professional differences exist between the parties? Does the House or Senate have more lawyers? We scraped data from the Clerk’s manual, categorized the jobs listed by industry, and found some interesting items.

- The top three overall fields represented in the legislature are legal, business and real estate.

- 1 in 4 legislators are lawyers and they account for 32% of Democrats and 23% of Republicans.

- Business people comprise 20% of the Republican Caucus but only 9% of the Democratic Caucus.

- Each party has six members who come from education related fields.

Explore the interactive chart below where you can hover over any area for more info and filter using the drop downs. To see full details (member name, occupation, etc) simply click “Show Data” icon in the mouse over box.

As always, if you like it, please share it.