thoughts on a new coffee bar and venue in downtown roseburg, oregon

Sunday, March 16, 2008

User Interaction and Buy-in

Our customers need to feel like they are interacting with a toy like legos that they can build as they like and reconstruct at will. As much as possible the environment needs to be responsive to their needs and interest. Promoting user feedback, and quick response to that information is imperative. Recipe contests, public suggestion boards, rewards for customer suggested improvements, customer advisory boards, playlist feedback, custom merchandise, movable partitions and furniture, along with pianos, game systems, sections of the store that can be painted by the patrons, and a host of other innovations need to be in place to truly make our venue a unique and vibrant location.

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

The gowing economic impact of the creative class

The growing economic impact of the creative class

Richard Florida's Who's Your City?, profiled in the previous entry and available starting today, focuses on why place matters dearly in attracting the creative class. However, the book provides an effective visual (above) and an entire section among four on why the creative class matters in the first place.

Notice the rise in the creative class workforce along with services, and the decline in manufacturing and agriculture, especially to overseas. However, what's especially striking is the bar graphs in the lower part of the graphic, showing that while the creative class has 31% of the workforce compared to 45.7% for services, it produces 49.8% of wages paid compared to 30.6% for services. Even more compelling is that the creative class represents 70% of all discretionary income compared to 13% for services.

The good news for the local economy is that creative class jobs are not nearly as outsourceable as services and manufacturing, and they also add to the local arts, culture and entertainment scenes much more effectively as well.

Graphic used with permission from the Creative Class Group, and viewable on the Who's Your City? website.

Friday, March 07, 2008

CoolTown Studios: "The CoolTown visual guide to crowdsourced placemaking

What is crowdsourced placemaking? A beta community? Creatives, VIBEs, third places, scenes, natural cultural districts...? All of that is explained in one definitive 13-page document, the CoolTown visual guide to crowdsourced placemaking and economic development, Crowdsourcing Cool Places for Creatives.

The table of contents:
The conflict: Cities are hitting a wall
Where creatives are attracted to
Third places, events and scenes
Identifying the problem and solution via 'clocks' and 'clouds'
What is crowdsourcing?
Crowdsourcing in action
How indies can compete with chains
Systems for profound change
Placemaking crowdsourcing systems in action
Appendix: CoolTown strategic map

Check out the progress of three ongoing crowdsourced beta community developments here."

Wednesday, March 05, 2008

Free! Why $0.00 Is the Future of Business

Free! Why $0.00 Is the Future of Business

Profile of a future VIBE

To refresh your memory, a VIBE is a variegated independent business entrepreneur, the creative, evolved version of the franchise operator, that opens multiple unique, authentic businesses under different names and concepts, but with a common system of delivering high quality product and service.

Smart City Radio recently interviewed a young budding VIBE and former attorney in Pittsburgh's East End, Jamie Wallace who opened his first restaurant ever, Abay Ethiopian Cuisine. It soon became known as one of Pittsburgh Magazine's Top 25 Best Restaurants of 2005 soon after its opening in 2004. One of his primary motivations to switch careers is that he wanted his city to have a more multi-cultural heritage, which is a big deal to a creative city.

What's to say Jamie will be a VIBE? First of all, his first restaurant, with no restaurant experience, is a commercial success. Second, you can hear it in his interview, "My mindset wasn't that this has to run like every other restaurant I've read about or been in. My perspective was whether this was a technology company or a robotics company, there are certain principles that I want to apply to my business. So if you come in and you work here, the philosophy that we have, the approach we take, it's the same. It's essentially a customer service business, we're promoting culture as much as anything, we want people to have a great time, but there's a component of what I'm trying to do that would be the same regardless. So I feel like from a customer standpoint, they get that what we're there to do isn't just to turn a profit, it's for them to learn, for them to absorb this culture, have an enjoyable time, have it be educational, and touch them in a way that's different. Hopefully they get that."

Apparently they are.