My feelings are always hurt when someone declines to come to Houston, whether to shun a real embarrassment like Enron or a misperception like "you're all conservatives." When my daughter returned from Boston, her friends acted like she was being exiled to a cultural wasteland. These are anecdotes, and you must have your own: someone tells you that Houston is not the place for creative professionals. They say that innovators and artists should avoid the city, move out as soon as they can, and expect to find few resources to support their projects.
Yet, you and I know that Houston is a great place to start something. Houstonians are always asking each other "What are you working on?" and offering their support. Diversity, originality and ingenuity are celebrated.
When we consider both the real challenges of living in the Houston metro area, as well as the incorrect perceptions of the city, we find a confusing mix of imagined, insurmountable, and temporary concerns. We ought to find a way to be both honest and supportive when defining the city's edge. And we have to help visitor and potential residents find what they need from the city.
At Creative Houston, we want to recruit a panel of out-of-town creative professionals whose concerns and perceptions of Houston could be tracked. In order to invest wisely, we will make sure the panel is large and balanced enough to be reliable for business planning. The surveys would be handled by experienced market research professionals, and the data would be available to the Houston community. For convenience, let's call the out-of-town creative professionals "OCP's" and refer to our research as the OCP Survey.
If we can raise at least $30,000 to produce the first OCP Survey, you'll be able to see the results. They may help you in your ventures, or they may just help you support Houston. Creative Houston will use the data to plan our activities and measure our performance in attracting and supporting talent in Houston.