Career success in a nutshell

Someone asked me recently if I could sum up my latest career in a single sentence.

I am finally in a position where my responsibilities align with what I enjoy doing most, enabling creative people to do better in life.

It has been a long journey with many detours before I finally arrived at a point where I was ready for this position.

I started my career with the viewpoint that technology could save the world. I began my career designing computer systems which were supposed to improve the quality of life for everyone on the planet.

This lofty goal was shattered when I first saw one of my early computer systems in an electronic salvage yard. I began to realize that my designs might not leave a trace, let alone be a legacy for the future.

A later minicomputer
design I worked on was used as the first experimental nodes on ArpaNet,
but by then I was off in Florida working at a series of start-ups. I
decided if technology wasn’t the answer, maybe becoming wealthy at an
early age was still possible.

This part of my life made great fodder for my first book,
but didn’t get me any closer to gaining peace of mind. Hitting the wall
a few times finally got me thinking about the more spiritual aspects of
life as opposed to finding Nirvana through technology.

A long voyage of self-discovery led me to the realization that there
was more to life than working for growth-oriented corporations, and
that helping others was what I enjoyed most.

However, I could not seem to find gainful employment which would
allow me to help others, so I continued working in increasingly insane
high technology companies until they got tired of my attitude and
jettisoned me into a new career as a self-employed writer/business
consultant, and blogger.

Blogging helped me to look at what was important to me and I found
that my interest in helping others needed to be the driving factor in
determining my choice of a post-corporate career.

Helping others to succeed is more challenging than launching a
company because it requires many of the same skills, but you have to
inspire others to acquire the necessary disciplines instead of
enforcing your ideas on them.

In the case of helping artists achieve viable businesses, it means
discovering what will work to increase their economic growth without
altering their creative processes and impulses.

Some artists are happy dealing with customers. Others are very
private people who may do best with intermediaries handling the
hurly-burly of commerce. Finding a solution that works is an art that I
wish to develop. The payoff will come when artists routinely begin to
flourish and this begins to affect the regional economy in a meaningful

I feel this is the best of all possible games that I could be
playing at this stage of my life. It is a game where everybody wins.

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0 Responses to Career success in a nutshell

  1. Leslie says:

    There are all kinds of ways to measure success; glad you’ve found a satisfying place!

  2. Jane Chin says:

    David it sounds like you’re embarking on a whole new post-corporate adventure and helping many people along the way.

    It can be a slow and long process; I am also realizing that I am most happy when I’m helping others succeed in their aspirations and dreams.

    I guess there’s something to be said about the new age gurus who talk about the purpose of life is to ask “how may I serve?” 🙂

  3. Service to others is an ennobling goal, but it has to be done in a way that family and personal life do not suffer as a result.

    I know that some may quibble with this but I have seen too many unselfish activities fail because not enough attention was paid to keeping one’s exchange in in all directions.

    If we engage in public-spirited activities with no thought of exchange, it is impossible to keep the activity going for very long.

    Enabling others to achieve success requires understanding of the actions which create success and spending time on those artists and others who are willing to work hard enough to achieve viability and recognize that there is a price involved for effective support.

    There is more than one post to be done in this area. Stay tuned.

  4. First off, I would like to congratulate you on your appointment to the new Executive Director role at the Jacksonville Center for the Arts. It was clearly an inspired move on the Board’s part. I have no doubt that it will prove rewarding to you in a myriad of intangible and unexpected ways. For each reward, though, I expect there will be a challenge or two coming your way.

    Your stated goal of expanding your array of blogs is ambitious, to say the least. While others do battle with blogger’s fatigue, you are planning to publish a regular plethora of posts.

    When I read the plan, I thought back to the raison d’etre, the underlying principle behind Ripples. It was about change, about capturing ideas spreading in ever-widening circles, intensifying in impact, transforming, sometimes irrevocably, the things and those people in their paths.

    But as the rocks skipped across the surface of the blog pond, as you covered the adversities and adventures of corporate and post-corporate life, as you then discovered (or more precisely, uncovered) the charms of country life, new ripples were created. And you have been taken with them.

    In a previous correspondence, I noted that Ripples was not just about describing change, but about providing a roadmap, a guide to help those interested in embracing change. Your new mission statement of ‘enabling creative people to do better in life’ is, in fact, not at all new for you.

    All of which leads to the question of what Ripples will look like going forward. Will it be a nexus, the spoke from which all your other blogs radiate? Will it be, as suggested by the mission, a source of ideas and encouragement for artists and artisans, for writers of blogs and books? Will it touch on societal changes and provide ‘possibly helpful advice’?

    It will be interesting to see how things unfold.

    Best regards,


  5. When I first opened Blue Ridge Creative in The Jacksonville Center, Wil Stratton (now President of the Board) asked an important question: “Can an artist make a living in Floyd County strictly on his or her art?”

    Good question. At the moment the answer may be “no” but we can hope it will change. Most artists in the county who are successful are so because they market heavily outside the county — working shows, craft fairs and other venues.

    If you can make it possible for those same artists to stay home and make a good living then you have achieved something special.

  6. Clary Lopez says:

    Isn’t it wonderful to be able to help others attain whatever their goals might be? I too stumbled upon this realization as I met authors like me who were learning to promote their books after publication. Today it doesn’t matter if you self-publish or not, you are expected to promote your own work and let me tell you it’s a job. But by helping others and exchanging ideas makes the load become less burdensome. I feel my best when I can read on our Brag Board that one of our authors was interviewed, had a book signing or was asked to write a column than when I manage to sell my own book.

    I’m sure many people will thank you for all the work you do, because you do it with love and you have a lot of knowledge to share with them. I wish you the very best in everything you do.

  7. Sean Pecor says:

    I’m reminded by someone I worked with about 9 years ago on a web site called It was a web site storefront for Vermont craftsman; glass blowers, furniture makers and so on. The concept was really great but the marketing and development was not so good. I think a well implemented online storefront that showered people with photographs and stories behind each piece could sell artwork like hot cakes on a national level. One little sovereign web site for each little artisan won’t have the critical mass that a Floyd County online art bazaar could bring to the table. Then you could carry that over to the brick and mortar side of things; artisans could band together under the banner of the Jacksonville Center for the Arts (JCA) and have a JCA booth at art shows and such to move product, with a portion of sales given to the JCA. The booth could also push the web site w/ brochures and such, encouraging regional viral marketing. Just a thought.

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