creative rant

I’m rambling…

The Mayor sent out a link the other day via Twitter about a service in NYC called, NYC Business Express.

“NYC Business Express is offered to assist you with obtaining general license, permit, tax, incentive, and other useful information online. NYC Business Express will be adding additional sectors and functionality over the next year; while it is being developed, information contained on this website may not be comprehensive, and service disruptions may occur.

The City has made every effort to provide accurate and timely information on this website, however, the applicability and comprehensiveness of the information is dependent on the accuracy and comprehensiveness of the information you provide. In addition, NYC Business Express does not provide a comprehensive source of all information needed to start and run a business, nor does it provide comprehensive information regarding typical State or Federal requirements.”

He tweets,

“This is the kind of online small business up support/info in NYC we are working to provide in Portland:”

First response,

“I’m not convinced this is a great model, it’s almost too simplistic. Requires me to categorize my biz before I get content.”

As I am pondering this and thinking about the conversation I have been apart of directly and indirectly for about 8 years. I click a link in a tweet from HarvardBiz that take me to an article about, “What Alienates Top Performers”.

On the surface this appears to be two different conversations. Two conversations I have been apart of for more that a few years. I’ve been known to say, on more than one occasions, I ‘m done talking. Right now I think I am listening more than talking. Let the kids have the conversation.

Before I read the article I skim for a few things and see these words in bold that indicate new paragraphs.

1. Dropped balls.
2. Ignoring tough questions.
3. Lopsided reliance on data over judgment.
4. Unease with leadership skills in the ranks.

Ok, so maybe not so different? A few months back I saw a bumper sticker that stopped me cold.

Keep Portland Passive Aggressive

Yes just a bumper sticker, but the fact that someone took the time to make them worries me. This is the problem, in my humble opinion. I have made too many calls sent too many emails about mildly important things. And will receive no response. Portland is too passive aggressive. And there is an unusual fear of collaboration.

Maybe it’s because it’s a small town by real standards. And there are a ton of business/companies here that have less than 50. In 2006 the PDC reported that Oregon had 95.494 small businesses 44,427 of those had less than 50 employees. So what does that say about competition?

The thing is. I’ve seen a lot of the talent here in Portland. I know a lot of the talent. And while I will say that there is competition. If the talent focused there attention to companies and organizations that matched their talent instead of complaining that they can’t get into the coveted place A, B, N or W or K for that matter.

Now this will sound like I am shooting down someone’s dreams. I work very hard to not to that so as to keep them on track to actually, maybe someday see them walk in that door they dreamed of. But all to often they are busting their hump and setting themselves up for either disappointment or burn out. Mostly burn out just trying the get anyone at any of these companies to return a call or an email for a simple conversation.

Talent is talent. It comes in all kinds of esthetics. Some more sophisticated than the other. If you are good, you have a certain level of confidence in what you do. But that may inflate a bit where you should actually be. The analogy I’ve used before is this; there are only so many spots open in the NBA. Not everyone gets to play.

It is the very same for the creative. You might be good, but are you NBA good? What do you do well and how does that fit into where you want to go? Be clear about what you do. All to often in tough economic times people scramble and try to be everything. Find what you do best and do it. You will be happier!


1. Don’t drop the balls and only juggle what you can.
2. If you don’t know the answer to the tough question, say you don’t but you will find the answer.
3. Data is one thing, but if you don’t use your best judgment to manage the relationship you won’t need to worry about data.
4. Realize that no one knows anything really. And collaboration can make your life less complicated.