In the past two decades, I've marveled as a Register business journalist – reporter, editor and for the past nine-plus years as columnist – at this town's uncanny ability to stay ahead of the pack.
It's a break-the-rules mind-set that created breakthroughs in technology, housing, finance and branding. It's also an edgy culture that too frequently steps over the line.
Anybody forget our colorful frauds? Or our county's bankruptcy?
To look back over my days in The O.C. – what amounts to a generation of commerce – I've cobbled together a list of the 20 most intriguing business stories, which I'll count down to my No. 1.
My rankings aren't based solely on any sense of importance or an event's impact on the business world, here or afar. These are the stories that appealed to my own curious sense of business evolution: Actions that captured Orange County's entrepreneurial essence – for better or worse.
6. California Adventure
Disneyland's second gate was always going to suffer an inferiority complex. Built during lean times in Disney's checkered corporate past, California Adventure was doomed to a slow start from opening day in 2001. The gamble that atmosphere and dining would mask a shortage of rides was a flop. Still, surrounding improvements to the neighborhood that Disney won as part of its California Adventure investment – most notably the Downtown Disney shopping district between the two parks – reinforced Anaheim's stature as a tourism giant.