Saturday, May 15, 2010

Creative Class Struggle

I have a long routine in my forthcoming comedy album / new media installation that focuses on what I call "creative class struggle," particularly as it plays out in my home town of beautiful Boulder, Colorado.

There's no need to give the comedy material away online, not just yet, although I'm tempted given how topical the subject is. Having just flown back to Boulder from another beautiful city (Lisbon, where I was lucky to have seen some excellent local contemporary art), I was semi-surprised to find not one, not two, but three articles in today's online version of the New York Times that cover Boulder's growing "creative class" and/or what passes as the next wave of high-tech entrepreneurialism powering the supercapitalist engine that keeps our local economy humming. Don't let the decades old hippy-dippy reputation of Boulder fool you. People move here and continue to live here because this a total money-town and the forever-entitled citizenry of this pseudo-progressive lily white culture totally dig the upper-crust lifestyle that big money can buy (even if it means having to immerse oneself in the total boredom of monocultural provincialism, one that tries to pass itself off as eco-hipsterism meets "my shit don't stink" aromatherapy [as Moon Unit used to say: "Gag me with a spoon!"]).

The articles are

Boulder, Colo., a Magnet for High-Tech Start-Ups
The recipes of other cities for creating the next Silicon Valley usually leave out a few main ingredients. Richard Florida, who wrote “The Rise of the Creative Class” and studies why certain cities foster creativity, cites three crucial factors: talented people and a high quality of life that keeps them around, technological expertise, and an open-mindedness about new ways of doing things, which often comes from a strong counterculture.

"Boulder has reached this beautiful sweet spot, where it has many advantages of a university town — tech and talent and openness — but without many of the costs and traffic and congestion that may disadvantage incumbent centers of innovation," Mr. Florida said.
A Digital Boot Camp to Groom Talent for Agencies
The university had had a strong undergraduate program in advertising, and it is one of the top majors, said David Slayden, executive director of Boulder Digital Works. When he thought about creating a graduate program, though, he wanted to take a technology-focused approach.

Many other graduate programs "were built on a platform of creative based on Bill Bernbach," he said, referring to the founder of the agency DDB who paired copywriters with art directors and had the teams churn out portfolios of creative concepts. "It was very analog," Mr. Slayden said.

He began asking ad agencies what they needed in new hires, and agencies like Exopolis, Crispin Porter & Bogusky, and Goodby, Silverstein & Partners had a near-unanimous response. "They weren’t getting what they needed to grow and develop," Mr. Slayden said, especially in areas that combined creative approaches and technology.
To Nurture Boulder, Back-to-Basics Venture Capital
"We’re not obsessed with finance, exits, the industry macro, the global macro," Mr. Feld said. "We’re in Boulder so we can avoid that stuff being in our face."

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