Archive for February, 2017

Mixed Company

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TOWNMAR17017In life, we typically think in terms of what is. But there is also plenty of value in what isn’t. For instance, this isn’t strictly a tech issue or a design issue, a business issue or an urban issue. It’s about where these ideas intersect.

Thanks to the Internet and affordable, smart products that harness it, we’re in touch 5 miles and 5,000 miles away. Like nomadic shepherds, we carry our tools on our backs, by our sides, in our pockets. No longer must we have walls or even work where we work. I’m writing this note from a coffee shop near my office, which is more like a hub. The TOWN staff operates in an open environment, along with other colleagues at the Community Journals.

There are setbacks, sure—more noise, interruptions, lack of privacy. Still, I’ve found that this kind of workspace allows for smoother communication. Instead of waiting to discuss a problem, allowing it to fester and build, challenges are met in the moment and potential disagreements are dispelled before they become arguments. Collaborative workplaces allow for better ideas, faster solutions, and creative community.

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Co-working in Greenville is nothing new, but the last couple of years has seen an uptick of such spaces: Open Works, Endeavor, Textile Hall, and The Wheelhouse, to name a few. The mother of them all, however, is CoWork Greenville, which loosely began in 2007 as a solution for Matthew Smith and others to save on rent and get out of the house. Ten years later, CoWork has been rebranded as Atlas Local, making its home in the Brandon Mill in the Village of West Greenville (see “Map Quest,” page 78). It’s an airy space with spiffy design, comfy conversation areas, and funky details. Courtesy of high mill windows, sunlight pours in as tech CEOs, designers, developers, and entrepreneurs work at standing desks, communal tables, and in Eno hammocks. There is a game room, Methodical coffee, and even a sauna. It’s a beautiful marriage of work and play.

But isn’t that the point? In creative industries—especially marketing, design, and tech—the 8-to-5, corner office is done. We integrate work with life, because in the end it’s all about life. And the best ideas are born where all roads converge.

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Blair Knobel

Editor-in-Chief

Twitter / Instagram: @LBKNOBEL

Southern Noir

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blairknobel-headshotThe South is full of stories.

Maybe that’s why we raise the best storytellers. O’Connor, Capote, Lee, Faulkner. Big voices with an unmistakable drawl, whose tales were inspired by the dark and luminous, esteemed and forlorn, rich and wanting characters of this place.

Like his literary lineage, David Joy is Southern writer who picks at the heart of human nature. He explores violence like a boy in the woods, kicking over a log to see the bugs underneath (see “Ode to Joy,” by Scott Gould, page 68). By pushing into these dark places, he aims to reveal the essence of who we are. “Art should illuminate the human condition. That’s what I’m trying to do here—show us something about ourselves,” he says.

As Southerners, we are a complicated bunch. Among our paradoxical behavior, we adore animals and hunt them, host parties and seek seclusion—but this duality shapes our lives, keeps us entertained, and fascinates those who don’t live here.

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Joy, 33, makes his home in the mountains of western North Carolina, where life and death draw a little closer. His debut novel Where All Light Tends to Go has received national acclaim, and Joy’s next work The Weight of This World hits shelves in March. He gnaws at life’s bones. (That’s another thing we do in the South.) “I want to write a book that you can hang around your neck for the rest of your life,” he says—something that sticks.

We carry our stories close to the vest here, but we also live to tell them. Life in the South is unlike anywhere—and it unfolds in ways beautiful and destructive, right before our very eyes.

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Blair Knobel

Editor-in-Chief

Twitter / Instagram: @LBKNOBEL