I know very little about Michigan or Detroit except for what I read, hear and see from the world around me. I've heard there is beauty throughout the state and in the city of Detroit they are clawing their way back from some very hard times. I do know I'm rooting for the Tigers to win the World Series!
Ever since I watched Lemonade: Detroit I've been curious to know more. To experience it for myself.
That is why when Hajj Flemings asked me to speak at Brand Camp University '12 Detroit I jumped at the opportunity. If you don't know Hajj yet, he always has a smile and a helping hand to anyone who asks. He brings together some of the most varied and high quality speakers for every one of his events. When he comes to your town, be sure you don't miss it.
The room was filled with energetic and eager entrepreneurs. There were photographers, clothing designers, artists and mobile technologists. Looking out into the crowd I was excited by the variety I gazed upon.
I gave a talk called The Best Content Strategy: Tell Your Story & Be Amazing of course focusing on the principles we laid out in Content Rules, but with a few hints from the soon to be released Amazing Things Will Happen.
But, what really made the trip was that I got to see some of this land that I had no experience with. After enjoying a filling lunch at Slow's BBQ I saw the mix of opportunity and desolation that Detroit finds itself in at the moment. Here I was holding one of April Holmes' Olympic Gold Medals and outside there were people out of work and just trying to survive. Everywhere I looked I saw these two sides of the coin that is the motor city.
Everywhere I looked I saw opportunity. Yes, I also saw shiny new renovated buildings next to ones without windows. I saw business woman walking down the street around the corner from a homeless family.
This simple overnight trip only gave me a glimpse at a once great city that I believe will in fact come back to what it once was. There are far too many people rooting and working hard for it to come back right now. Hearing the stories and looking into the eyes of everyone I met I know there is no way it can't.
Detroit, thank you for the hospitality and I truly hope I can come back soon and help be part of your continued success.
Photo Credit - Shawn Lee is an amazing Detroit photographer who took the photo of Hajj & I. Used with his permission.