As I pull quotes from this article, I can’t help but see a connection to Detroit as well, a city that has gone through some serious change in the past few years. While there are the titans in GM and Quicken Loans, it feels like there is a community of younger businesses making their mark. Working within the context of DukeEngage, and Small Batch in particular, has given me exposure to this part of the city- a part I might not have otherwise witnessed.
The other day we were at an outdoor pop-up restaurant feasting on some fresh food. It felt less like a restaurant, and more a block party. At one point the director of Small Batch, Jake, was speaking with the owner of a small food business. They ended up agreeing to meet and discuss the possibility of working together. They were not (at least I don’t think) scheming to take each other down as competitors. They were working together to grow as a unit. This is a common occurrence in the area. It feels like companies are aiming to grow not only for themselves but for the greater community, moving the city forward.
I saw the same thing reading this article on Wyandotte. There seems to be a synergy among the growing businesses, as though they aren’t satisfied with just their own success, but they need the whole area to move forward as well.
Growing up in bigger cities my whole life, from Washington, D.C. to Paris, I haven’t ever witnessed something like this. It has always been a dog-eat-dog environment, one in which people push others out to get ahead. That’s how I thought the world of business operated. At the risk of sounding harsh, I thought friends were made in the context of the neighborhood, and enemies were made in the context of work. It’s different here.
“We work so well together as a community. It’s kind of a beautiful dance.”