My column on Detroit-area start-ups, “Entrepreneurs Feed Detroit’s Extreme Makeover,” is running in today’s USA Today (follow the link in this sentence for the online version). Detroit has obviously gone through a lot in the past few years (decades?) But here’s the fascinating thing: the destruction, or at least massive restructuring, of an industry can free up an incredible amount of resources for other ventures. If you’re looking to start a business, a blank slate like Detroit has a lot going for it. First, real estate is comically cheap (the listings appear to be missing a zero). Second, there are a lot of skilled people who are thrilled for new job opportunities, and because there is no longer the opportunity cost of turning down a stable job at an auto company, they are more willing to work for start-ups. Third, as anyone who saw that Eminem “Imported from Detroit” Super Bowl commercial knows, there’s a lot of civic boosterism in Detroit — a desire to see new ventures succeed (even another restaurant on the same block, something most New York proprietors would not want!) Obviously, there are still big problems, like the proposal to put 60 kids in each high school class. But creative destruction is a fascinating thing, and I tried to show that in this column.