As mentioned in a previous post, it is business lore that Fred Smith received a C on an economics paper when he was at Yale. The paper was the idea of FedEx. Smith explains the growth of the C myth. Look at what an effect his entrepreneurial endeavors (begun on Yale’s campus) are now having on the growth of Memphis. From the WSJ,
Many large companies have distribution centers in Memphis to maximize delivery time frames. But a growing number of smaller companies like KCC are now moving to Memphis or adding a branch there to serve their customers faster. Small businesses are realizing that having a centralized distribution center in a city like Memphis can give them a competitive advantage. And it also provides a marketing opportunity, as companies pitch the logistical efficiency to potential clients.
“You’re basically one plane and one truck away from being in your customer’s house in many instances,” says Jim Cook, chief financial officer of allbusiness.com, a small-business resource Web site, and co-founder of Netflix Inc., an online DVD-rental business that depends on efficient distribution centers. Mr. Cook, who has served as a consultant to several businesses on supply-chain logistics, says the potential advantages include increased sales, customer loyalty and satisfaction.
Over the past two years, more than two dozen small businesses have either relocated or expanded in and around Memphis, according to the Memphis Regional Chamber.
Fred Smith is clearly not the first campus entrepreneur to remake a region (silicon valley, seattle, and austin — have all benefited from the incredible feats of some campus entrepreneurs), but its interesting that Fed Ex, with it focus on physical capital and goods, could never have been realized in New Haven, CT.