carrboro in the n&o
Thomas A. Beckett
thomas at tbeckett.com
Tue Mar 7 23:59:21 EST 2000
Heather Hesketh wrote:
> I don't mean to sound clueless, but why is this news every 3-6 months?
Heh heh heh. That's our little Cyber Gulch media secret!
But alas, Chris's careful detective work blew our cover, which forces
me to disclose the truth: a few of us Cyber Gulch millionaires got
together and hired Rockett Burkhead & Winslow to get us some prime media
placement. It costs $10,000.00 a month, but I'm sure you'll agree its
been worth every penny.
> seems like everytime I turn around there's a story in the local paper
> about how Carrboro is the new media haven of the Triangle. While I know
> you folks have reached a certain critical mass, Carrboro certainly doesn't
> have a lock on Triangle new media development. Even if it did, why is the
> same story news so often?
It's that Carrboro charm which keeps the reporters coming back.
> Do readers really have that short of an attention span or is mine simply
> too long?
More seriously, I think the cycle of that story is more on the order of
3-4 years. Looking through my files, the most recent Cyber Gulch story
I found was the Lee Oberdorfer piece on 3/28/97. (Full disclosure: the
original David Ranii piece was a direct result of my contacting him and
pointing out the interesting confluence of 5-6 brand new Internet
businesses within a 100-yard radius in Carrboro. My participation in
Carlene's story, however, was in response to her contacting me.) I
think part of Heather's reaction may indeed be a short media attention
span. Perhaps the N&O staff turns over and it looks like a fresher
story to them.
OTOH, Carlene Hempel was certainly aware of the earlier Cyber Gulch
material that the N&O had published when she was researching this
story. And, IMHO, her piece is really a much different & larger story.
Carlene put a lot of effort into learning about the antecedent "Paris of
the Piedmont" arts scene in Carrboro and put the whole Cyber Gulch
phenomenon, such as it is, in a larger context. The piece wasn't so
much about the Cyber Gulch enterprises as it was about several different
overlapping aspects of Carrboro itself.
In a lot of ways, it *is* a fresh story. The Lingual and Transmissions
things weren't happening years ago. And we're getting into a second or
third generation of little startup companies now; they're moving into
spaces where the T1 pipes are already in place. Like all scenes,
Carrboro has its ebb and flow. Right now things are flowing. It's a
great place to be right now.
Which brings me to another point: for some peculiar reason, Carrboro
does possess that quality celebrated by lovers of things Southern, a
sense of place. I'm the first one to admit that no bright line exists
by which you can define the difference between the community in Carrboro
and Chapel Hill and there is a tremendous overlap in many ways. All the
same, there is something distinctive about the Carrboro scene that is
not at all like Chapel Hill or Raleigh or Durham, or even Morrisville.
There really is a sense of place -- of history even -- centered around
things like the ArtSchool and Weaver Street Market and the Cradle and
I'll not deny that all sorts of great creative things are happening all
over the Triangle, nay all over the state. But Carrboro is one of those
places where the geography and creativity and community coincide in such
a way as to produce a unique identity.
I can state with firm knowledge that there is no concerted effort among
folks in Carrboro to bring media attention to ourselves. As far as I
know, Carlene started working on the story sometime last fall; she
didn't contact me until late January. The idea for the group photo came
up in a conversation that Dykki and Mary Overby and myself had with
Carlene in Weaver Street Market many weeks ago. Dykki and I busily and
openly recruited folks to come and participate. Yes, we were referring
to the "Great Day in Harlem" photo because the idea was to document as
many of the faces in our scene as we could gather together in one
place. And I'll tell you: there could have been 3 times as many
Carrboro art/tech folks in that photo if it had been taken some time
other than a Sunday morning. There was no secret conspiracy.
That being said, one important thing I've learned about business in the
last few years is that no one is going to blow your horn for you (unless
they're on a $10,000.00 monthly retainer). You can work your butt off
on Good Works for years and maybe someone will notice you and maybe
not. There's no harm and no shame in telling people about yourself,
whether or not the one your telling is a reporter. So yes, dammit,
Carlene Hempel handed us a horn and we blew upon it mightily. We love
it here in Carrboro and we're proud to tell the world that.
Finally, against the possibility of the Carrboro Article giving a
misleading impression, there just isn't much connection between the
Carrboro thing and the InterNetWorkers thing other than a significant
Carrboro representation in INW membership and the fact that the first
couple of gatherings were held at Tyler's. Triangle InterNetWorkers is
a *Triangle* organization and all of us who work at nudging the group
along work pretty hard to keep our membership and our events
well-distributed around the Triangle. (Although perhaps we've unfairly
overlooked Garner, Morrisville and Pittsboro.)
And hey, there are a few other treasure spots in the Triangle:
> groovin' on her new view of the NCSU arboretum. now *that's* a scene (or
> at least scenic :)
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