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Saturday, September 26, 2009

Just Like Us, Only Different!

Apex, NC... 9-26-09

The term "made in" is an interesting term. We see it everywhere,from clothes to cars. In fact with the automotive industry, the phrase "Made in Detroit" has changed over time. We now see "Made in Japan" and most recently "Made in China" as very credible partners of the U.S car business.

Being a native Detroiter, I still wish everyone drove a Ford or Chevy. But that is not current reality. Imports are the majority of what we drive in the Triangle. In fact, I was stunned when I was passed the other day, while I drove my HUMMER, by a Toyota Prius with DUAL EXHAUSTS! Times have certainly changed.

I was really reminded of that yesterday at the Final Friday Forum, the always excellent opportunity to network, that is hosted by Dancing Elephants in Cary every month.

The guest speaker, the best I have seen this year, was Gary S. Davis. He is a speaker on business networking and is the author of Networking In The South. He had recently visited China and he spoke to us about the commonality and the differences of the American and the Chinese "world view". It was very cool stuff.

That got me thinking. At the 2009 Detroit Auto Show the Chinese had presence. Believe this, China has about 30 automotive manufacturers. Saab and HUMMER are part of this stable. According to, auto sales are up 36% from last year in China. And they will soon have a big foot print here in the US.

Chery Automobile, Tenyzhong, Geely Automotive, and Beijing Automotive will be here in the near future with good quality products that will sit in neighborhood driveways.

I will still always drive Detroit. It is my "world view". But the Chinese people are indeed just like us only different. We are as Gary Davis said, "wired the same".

Think of this. Although China is thousands of years old, its automotive industry is less than 20 years old. And it is building steam, and with that opportunity.

And if it helps the car business, man I am all over that. I am not afraid to line Beijing up with Tokyo, Stuttgart and Detroit. It is as inevitable as a Toyota with dual exhausts. Because this Chinese variable will make Detroit and Tokyo better. And I want Detroit thriving again. It will always be the Motor City. I love the town!

In fact, the Oakland County Schools, in a plush suburban community north of Detroit, is teaching Manderin Chinese to its students!

We live in a small world with global posture. We need to be a major part of it. Our commonalities must always overcome our differences. It is a message much larger than the Automotive Industry. And it would fix a lot of things beyond cars!

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Community is Everything

Apex, NC September 17, 2009

I have had the rare privilege to be in the midst of the community over the past couple weeks. I have been meeting with the small and large business owners in Apex and Cary as the Peak City Film Festival seeks partners whose support will make the Festival a continuing success. And from a funding perspective, it has been challenging. Selling sponsorships is not easy. People indeed are having a harder time, and as the 4th Quarter fast approaches, some "marketing" avenues set in January have been met.

There are businesses owners out there, who although it has been a heck of a year, are very much supportive of the Festival and what it brings to community, especially what it brings to the town of Apex and the neighboring community of Cary.

To the letter, the business owners are 100% behind the Peak City Film Festival. It will bring a much needed nudge just before Thanksgiving, with hundreds of people utilizing area hotels, eating at our fine dining establishments and spending money at the local level.

Our community is local. John Demers, the Peak City Film Festival's Executive Producer understands and is reminded of this critical value. He told me: "Jim, I wanted this Peak City Film Festival - Family Style to happen at this time. I think the timing is perfect. We are the right medicine in a world still concerned with so many things!"

He is right about the so many things... Bizarre performances at the MTV Awards, congress verbally imploding; famous people losing their cool or acting in ways we just cannot fathom, man I am glad I have community.

This Festival is an integral part of our community. It is made up of community and it reflects community. It was born from community. With so many of us here in this area with family hundreds of miles away, our neighbors and friends are our family. They help us watch the kids. They bring cookies over during the holidays and they call on us during sickness and sadness. We are US. And that is pretty cool and dang refreshing.

The next time the Evening News makes you sober about your own situation, call a neighbor or go play catch with the kid next store. All Community is local!

And when I walk into your store or call you to say hi, smile when I mention community!