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Silicon Valley entrepreneur and journalist speaks in Redding

By Stephanie Vatz, Online Manager
Published On: Aug 21 2013 07:56:00 PM CDT
REDDING, Calif. -

A Silicon Valley journalist/investor/entrepreneur was in Redding on Thursday to talk about using entrepreneurship to make the city a better place to live.

Ben Parr is known for being the Editor-at-Large at Mashable, a popular tech news website that covers social media and is currently a contributor at CNET, another tech site. Parr has been spending time writing his new book, Captivology at a home in Fall River Mills.

On Thursday, Parr was at the McConnell Foundation in Redding to talk with local leaders from schools, hospitals, businesses and the media about how entrepreneurs could improve the quality of life in Redding.

Guests at the talk discussed Redding's high crime and unemployment rates and low levels of education.

"You can start with limited resources and a small group of people and solve a really specific and important problem," said Parr of entrepreneurship.

He suggested that entrepreneurs could revitalize Redding by creating employment and generating new ideas. However, in the end, he said it also came down to K-12 education.

"There are a couple of things that come to mind when talking about building a stronger community in this day and age," said Parr. "And a lot of that really comes into the education portion and teaching kids at the K-12 level the skills that they actually need to succeed in this economy. I advocate that every student, to succeed, should be learning how to program."

Parr recommended using websites such as Codecademy to teach kids these skills. Several people asked about using technology to narrow the education gap, to which Parr responded that while nothing could replace the more personalized education students get from teachers, websites like Codecademy and Khan Academy could help.

He is leaving Shasta County to go to the White House where he will meet with FEMA and the White House Council of Science and Technology Policy to discuss ways of improving first response and empowering victims using technology.

Parr's new book, Captivology, will be about why people pay attention to certain ideas, products, people or companies. For more information, you can sign up for his email list at captivology.com.