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1000 Black Lines

:: digital coffee stains on the paper of the blogosphere ::

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There are those who watch things happen and those who make it happen

In an attempt to offer a serious discussion about Asheville and its economic future, I posted this on Asheville's own community blog--BlogAsheville--of which I am a contributor. As of yet, no comments. So, allow me to elaborate.

Recently, I've spent a lot of time reading business books and rethinking my personal career goals and path. A personal inventory or evaluation is always good for the mind and spirit. More than a year ago I transitioned from graphic designer to a manager because, in short, no value was placed on my skills as a specialist in the field visual print communications (i.e. graphic designer) and marketing (i.e. strategic planning of product placement). So, I've been reading Kazuo Inamori's book A Passion for Success (which I forgot to put on my list here). He writes that...
"there is a huge difference between those who have written themselves a starring role, and those who idle through life without aim."

In what he calls the "drama of life," an individual has the choice to write a role for him/herself in the play they wish to star. Does this strategy apply to cities as well?

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  1. Anonymous Don M | 10:51 AM, February 22, 2007 |  

    It's a tough call. I believe so. I believe in being open to what the universe makes available to us. However, I feel being open in such a way doesn't absolve us of responsibility to take action when those things are made manifest to us. The universe has given Asheville a tremendous amount of beauty, talent, creativity. Unfortunately, there are too many in Asheville who think it will just always be there. When Asheville does reach its zenith many Ashevillians just won't like it. For some reason many in Asheville seem afraid of success - equating it with selling out.

    I think of Austin, Texas. For decades a vibrant musical community. But now many native Austin people hate it there due to the yearly invasion of SXSW and Austin City Limits Festival. It's too commercial to them. But to me, I love going there and being exposed to all that music and dealing with the zoo of people surrounding it. In my opinion it is a blessing.

    My perspective is based on the fact I grew up in a city which let so many great opportunities pass them by - under the premise of keeping the "small town" feel. Now, 15 years later the town is almost exactly the same today as it was in the early 90's - no economy and no industry to attract visitors or new residents. That is sad to me.

    Fear of change is so deadly. It's narrow-minded, puritanical, and not productive.

    Unfortunately, some of the most liberal people in Asheville seem to be narrowminded, and that we need to close off our city borders and not allow any change whatsoever.

    I'm rambling I know. I'm probably not even on your topic anymore. But I just hate to see such a great city languish in it's own fears and insecurities. I say we launch Asheville into the stratosphere.

  2. Blogger 1000 black lines | 11:35 AM, February 22, 2007 |  

    I'm with you--Asheville is sitting on a mountain of creative potential and yet the local government cannot seem to stimulate or support a forward-focused economic strategy. I've read the Chamber of Commerce's strategic plan and, in a nutshell, focuses on tourism, health and service (i.e. food services).

    Recently, I met with "cultural creatives" (sort of borrowing from Richard Florida) who feel beat up around town because the companies that can afford their media arts services (i.e. copy writing, graphic design, audio/video production) routinely overlook local talent in search of "real" professionals in Atlanta or D.C. and therefore pay higher prices and send money outside the area. Both of my recent freelance jobs are from outside Asheville. Locals think my rates are too high, and outsiders wonder I make a living at my current wages.

    It frustrates me that locals are so "progressive" they won't admit they're going the wrong direction. A sustainable creative class depends on industry (this somewhat contradicts Florida's theories). Another way to look at it is that everyone can't be a writer and expect to earn a reasonable living by writing. Who would prepare and manufacture the books? clothe and feed the press operators? grow the food? etc? If Asheville is a creative center, then Asheville needs to attract industry that fits the local climate.

    I wonder if that's why no one commented on BlogAsheville--they may be too narrow-minded and afraid of success. Success is not defined by money and power, but by the quality and joy that fills one's life.

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