Showing posts from 2019


Rain fell gently on the pavement as commuters sped sped by, not really noticing the faded buildings on this doorstep to the city. An old red clad five story bore the sign Royal Hotel, its windows small and uninviting, nothing more than a flop house.
Just to the east the bright lights of china town and to the west the tall buildings of Vancouver’s profit. The blocks around the Royal, left as is, uncared for and unloved by anyone.
Paul a wheel chair bound man managed the Royal. Rent was by the week or month. Most tenants were forgotten souls, minimum wage workers, disability pensioners, drinkers and newly landed immigrants. They immigrants would be quickly gone, the rest stayed. Paul kept a lid on everything, collected the rent and handled any trouble. He had a small room behind the front desk where he lived. The owner far away in Toronto. 
Paul always dressed neatly, wearing a sweater or gray sports coat. He possessed a bearing, in part because of his large size, not often found in this p…


The South is crisscrossed by many roads. Ones that join major cities, small towns and a thousand places without a name. Some don’t go anywhere, just joining two other roads that do. It makes up part of the charm of this region. You car like your favorite pet wanting to be taken for a walk, to get off the freeway, to explore the small roads.
Once in a while you happen upon a road that speaks of history or endeavors of the past. Such is Clarence Secret Road in North Carolina. You would pass it by a hundred times before finally being pulled in by its beauty and charm. The remains of crops coloring the fields, buildings barely standing, each board telling a story in their own language, forgotten with time. 
Endeavors of man were here, big shows at one time. Crop silos, construction trucks, weigh stations. All standing alone now in untended fields with broken fences. You left to imagine the lives once here.

David Young


“Collage is the noble conquest of the irrational….”  Max Ernst
It seems we are always trying to piece different parts of news and life together these days. Sometimes you just need a break. One of my enjoyments is collecting small artful items, old envelopes, scraps of paper, shipping labels, parts of photographs and art that has just the right image in it. When the world at large seems to overwhelm, I retreat to making what I call “Minute Collages.”

Collages by definition are simply a combination of different things brought together by how well they look together. Doing these little art works is almost like creating your own world. Some have meaning and others do not beyond their visual impact. The beauty is that you can move the pieces around until they fit. Some are driven by the image you want to create, others just speak their own image as you work with them. 
All you need is a pair of scissors, a decent backdrop to start with, a little glue and your imagination. How I wish the world…


I highly recommend Paul Theroux’s new book on his Mexico travels entitled “On The Plain of Snakes.” Beyond his rich description of Mexico with all its problems and blessings, the book brings forth important thoughts for anyone in the autumn or winter of their careers.
Theroux now in his late seventies waxes and wains about the importance of putting your stamp on this phase in life. He talks about deciding on the Mexico road trip. How it might be his last adventure. His car was old and he (because of age) had to be tested every two years for eye sight to retain his license. Theroux did not know how long his car would last or he would be able to drive.
One passage especially calls out from the book.  Theroux writes, “In the casual opinion of most Americans, I am an old man, and therefor of little account, past my best, fading in a pathetic diminuendo while flashing his AARP card; like the old in America generally, either invisible or someone to ignore rather than respect, who will be be g…


Sometimes in business it’s good to take a pause and reflect.  The push for conquest and results is so strong that we can forget what the real purpose of our efforts were in the the first place. This can be doubly true when numerous parts and people are involved. Ones that are beyond our control. They only add to the potential of getting lost in the process.
Call this time out meditation if you want, but some of those teachings can yield surprising results in business. Both in meditation and religion, you are urged to state your good intentions after you pray or reach a calm. This is a great time to revisit how your efforts are going to help the client, the company and everyone involved. If you can’t find those reasons, maybe all the efforts should be abandoned and a better project found.
Most endeavors have the potential for good. Revisiting that good refocuses you. It also can help you find the methods and words to unfreeze those elements out of your control. Passion naturally springs …


If you're ready to take your songs out of the shower and onto the stage for success, here are a few thoughts. We all have experienced the STAR performers in life. Those that can belt out a song on stage, hit the home run, play a lead part or consistently bring home big accounts. You marvel at how they seem to get beyond themselves to perform at an elevated level. Unfazed by the normal inhibitions that affect us all.
In business these star performers are called by various nicknames: Elephant Hunters, Brag Book Holders, Rhino Chasers, The Land and Expand Force, Whale Boaters, Big Dog People, Game Changers, Alpha People or Bright Stars.
An athlete or stage performer has the luxury of practice time. Time when you can hone your skills or talent through repetition until it becomes second nature. That practice pushes you beyond your inhibitions. The rest of us operate in real time. In todays fast electric speed world, there is little time for practice. If you are going to be a bright star,…


Painting has never been easy for me. So many different techniques, skills, colors and materials. This is not to mention the subject of what to paint in the first place or the style of you want to pursue.
Still with all these things said, I love it when I have brush in hand and paint on a canvas. It completely absorbs me. The rest of the world is shut off for a while as colors blend and images emerge. I have painted now for several years. No real masterpieces have emerged, but the efforts have brought many rewards of satisfaction. 

So many things in life don’t yield a finished product or results. So much in the world seems to hold such a high standard. You ask yourself why even try and do something? The work you do, the art you try and your accomplishments stand against all that. Results good and not so good, but always something you can hold in your hands and say I did it. Reason enough to clean your brushes and try again.
As with all endeavors, it’s good to pause once in a while and ta…


Often overlooked is one of the most important business tools for success, forgiving yourself. There are times when you make mistakes, bad decisions, underperform or hurt others. These failures are a normal part of life and striving to be successful. 
In business, the repercussions of failures are swift. Clients are lost, partnerships broken, careers hurt and prestige damaged. If you allow them, they can pile up like wrecked cars in your mind. They affect your performance moving forward and can haunt you far after you retire. 
It’s important to learn the art of forgiving yourself. Doing so, frees you to move forward and build new bridges for success. How to forgive yourself is a learned skill. There is much that has been written about this. Here are some of those suggestions together with my thoughts. 
Clear the Debris:  Peel away the circumstances, other people involved and emotions from the event. Realize that in the end analysis, the failure was yours. Ironically, it is far easier to f…


Business Parks are lonely places where work is forced out during the week. They are away from the city, a world unto themselves leaving little room for the mind to wander anyplace but the business of profit.

On weekends they take on an eerie quiet. An enigmatic blend of aloneness and peace. The empty company event tent, the left over tools of business and the wandering person reflecting on all of it.

QUIET SPACES (from the art of business series)

For a time, I helped artists sell their work and had a studio in the Georgetown section of Seattle. There I learned much about both art and business. One of my favorite clients, a painter, seemed to effortlessly turn urban landscapes into bold abstract paintings. Ones that restaurants and hotels sought for decor. 
I marveled at how he could produce his works, asking myself if artists simply see things differently. Through discussions with him and research, I found that they do. A talent with important applications in both the art and business world. 
Artists either have a natural or learned ability in abstract thinking and composition. Where we see a city scape, they see objects and shapes. Ones they can move around using color theory, composition and other techniques to create art. Their final work always bringing the best elements together.
My painter went a step further. He added a quiet space in the painting for the eye to rest. It separated his art from the bold abstract work that o…


I grabbed the dog and walked down to the corner market. The shagginess and unruly nature of my dog remind me of my youth. No one would want him or me then. The morning air freshened as I sat in front of the market with coffee and paper.

I grabbed the dog and walked down to the corner market. The shagginess and unruly nature of my dog remind me of my youth. No one would want him or me then. The morning air freshened as I sat in front of the market with coffee and paper. A small article on the entertainment page caught my eye, “Jack Ely Dies.” The article went on, “Ely famous for singing Louie Louie…” Our old high school song, I thought. It was sung at every football game and dance. The memory threw me back to those times. Awkward and an outcast, they were long years for me. 
A small article on the entertainment page caught my eye, “Jack Ely Dies.” The article went on, “Ely famous for singing Louie Louie…” Our old high school song…


Li Qiang rolled out the dolly with the cartons of product and started restocking the shelves. He thought to himself about this special day. After ten years of work, he would make the final payment on the market to the former owner. With the market paid for, he could start saving for the education of his young children. At least one doctor or lawyer, he thought. The immigrant way, he would work hard. The success of family the reward. There were, however, concerning events on the horizon. Li tried not to think about them as he continued to stock the shelves. Li thought back to how he became owner of Mighty Midget Market.
The area was the only place Li could afford to live when he came to the USA. A backwater corner of the city, poor as dirt, the only scenery the freeway. He went for the first “Help Wanted” sign he found, a run down Seven-Eleven.
Chet the long-time owner was skeptical at first. Li didn’t speak much English, but he blurted out “Li Qiang means very strong in Chinese.” Des…


“Every building has its own soul with the entry on the backside” – Carl City Porter
Backsides of buildings are the most ignored and sometimes avoided parts of the city. The fronts are pretty faces. The backsides are the workings of the city. It is where trains leave, supplies come in, and the work done. They echo the sounds of the city, have its messages scrawled out, and a certain art of their own, only made with the patina of time. They are the backstage of life, but what makes it all possible. All they ask in return is POST NO BILLS…
David Young


“In a big place, you need to subtract things to make it interesting, in a small place you only have to add yourself.” – Richard Hugo, Poet
We had taken a risk traveling to this small town in the low country of South Carolina. But here we were at the elegant Victors behind a unique hotel. The table, with a view of the bar, was set to reveal a wonderful evening. 
I have been an urban dweller most of my life. My camera likes the vivid hustling landscapes of the city. Time and age though change your sense of things. More importantly, you learn to trust those senses more. Now I seek a deeper meaning to my experiences.
The South is about small cities and towns full of great people and deep history. It is there that you really begin to experience life in the South and maybe a different you.
The small towns are picturesque. Some though you want to take in your arms and fix, too many empty storefronts and years of neglect. The results of the huge economic swings and history legacies. Other sma…


To be a small business owner or single practitioner is to experience times of revenue drought or stagnation. Other times business opportunities seem to abound. They suddenly appear like a flock of starling. They delight and excite with an ever-changing pattern of swoops and rising together. Their brilliance seems there for the catching, but just as suddenly they can disappear over the horizon.  Entrepreneurs are always searching for opportunity. So how do you catch the elusive starling? How do you capture a true business opportunity? Large companies have entire departments devoted to evaluating and implementing new opportunities. As a small business owner, its all on your shoulders. The right opportunity can make your business. The wrong one can ruin it. There are excellent articles (see footnotes) on this subject. Here are some of their highlights together with my own experience from working with clients. Passion- The best opportunities are always the ones you have passion for. That …