Ideas Worth Sharing: 500% to 700% Returns on your investments

Malcolm Gladwell says that the 10,000 hours invested in a single activity is the starting point of genius. As important as talent is, it’s the access to skill-perfection that ultimately is the difference between “very good” and “world-class”.

The average college student has spent 10,000 hours playing video games. They’ve spent 20,000 hours online. How does a city, or for that matter, civilization, adapt and transform people when this is the coming rush of citizenry?

I say: art.

In this TED Talk, Ben Cameron of the Doris Duke Foundations lays out the map that is highly problematic in promulgating live arts… a map that is highly problematic for places like New York City or San Francisco or Chicago, because as he himself says, this model is essentially based on a 19th Century Business Plan.

But there is no problem for a city like Colorado Springs to adapt to the new rules of the game. The reason? We don’t have that 19th Century Baggage.


If technology is a massive reformation of antiquated business models… it’s actually liberating when you don’t even have a business model to reform! You can start tabula rasa. There are no royal alliances and no holy of holy curtains to shred. This cosmic shift favors… the unprepared.

Think about that for a second as you drive past all those “Mayor Project” signs. Right here, right now, is a gargantuan opportunity for Colorado Springs.

Arts is a prime-mover of business. Quality Art is worth traveling great distances to enjoy, spectate and participate in. As Mr. Cameron says, for every dollar invested in the arts, cities typically get back $5 to $7 in business development.

The opportunity for a Live (specifically OUTDOOR) Performing Arts Venue in Colorado Springs has never been greater. Perhaps the need has never been greater. For those looking to make money in a down economy, investing in the arts should be a 500% to 700% return. Or better.

Thank you Bettina Swigger and the COPPeR Board for sharing this talk this morning as the cultural moment.

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