Thursday, November 29th, 2012

Please Support the Mission of the Urbanophile

I don’t often run commercial appeals on the blog. But as we approach the end of the year, I wanted to ask and challenge all of you out there to look for ways you can help support the mission of the Urbanophile financially.

That mission is to help cities find real, sustainable, inclusive success in the 21st century, through serious, in depth, original, independent, non-partisan, and non-dogmatic analysis and discussion of the issues facing America’s cities and regions in the 21st century. I think you’ll agree that I work hard to make that a reality, and do a pretty good job of it on most days, particularly with original and independent thinking. While there are other great folks out there in the field, I don’t think there’s anyone else working the exact same territory I do here.

The blog itself generates no revenue. This is something I do out of passion. If I only wanted to maximize my pay, I’d never have left the technology field.

Nevertheless, this does take a lot of time to do. I can only continue to devote that time to the extent that it’s financially practical to do so. As the newspaper industry’s decline demonstrates, just because people believe something fulfills an import role in our lives doesn’t mean it’s viable. As my friend Carl likes to say, the marketplace doesn’t care what I think. And alas the marketplace is the ultimate judge of what makes it and what does not.

So I’m asking for your support in helping make it possible for the work here to continue. I know many of my readers have very senior (even CEO-level) positions in organizations ranging from moderately to extremely well-funded. It’s you especially I’d like to ask to find a way to participate.

Before telling you how you can do that, I want to take a minute to thank all of you who’ve already encouraged, helped, and hired me, especially those who did it when I had nothing to offer in return or at risk to yourself. It’s always a risk naming names, since I’ll undoubtedly leave someone out by mistake. If so, I’ll apologize in advance. But I want to particularly thank a few people who had milestone impact, including John Beeler, the ULI-Minnesota Chapter, Ron Gifford, Joel Kotkin, Carol Coletta, Jim Russell, Richard Longworth, the Chicagoland Chamber of Commerce, Richard Florida, and Kristian Andersen. And I most especially want to note Frank Modruson and Karl Browning, who both put huge amounts of their own personal capital on the line for me. I may not be able to pay anybody back, but I hope to at least be able to pay it forward.

So then, how can you help? There are any number ways I can suggest:

1. Hire me to speak at your event. As you already know, I have very compelling insights to share, and generally also try to address your own event and goals directly, not just give some pre-canned talk that may not be relevant.

2. If you’re a grant-making organization like a foundation, and think you have programs I might qualify for, please contact me about them.

3. Buy a subscription to my Telestrian data system. At only $49 per year, it’s practically a no-brainer and well within the purchasing authority of anyone who has a bona fide use for it in an organization. This is what powers the bulk of my own data analysis and maps and it’s a huge time saver for me.

4. I’m available for strategic consulting on a variety of topics. I think you get from my blog that I bring a keen analytical approach to issues, am data oriented, am very focused on strategic context and competitive advantage, and have truly unique insights and points of view on issues that you might not be able to get anywhere else no matter how much you paid.

My email address is, which is the best way to reach me with inquiries.

Again, please think about ways you and your organization can help enable this site to continue. Your support and readership are greatly appreciated.

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The Urban State of Mind: Meditations on the City is the first Urbanophile e-book, featuring provocative essays on the key issues facing our cities, including innovation, talent attraction and brain drain, global soft power, sustainability, economic development, and localism. Included are 28 carefully curated essays out of nearly 1,200 posts in the first seven years of the Urbanophile, plus 9 original pieces. It's great for anyone who cares about our cities.

About the Urbanophile


Aaron M. Renn is an opinion-leading urban analyst, consultant, speaker, and writer on a mission to help America’s cities thrive and find sustainable success in the 21st century.

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