“What’s the first thing that you need to do?” Iman asked.
“I need to commit to making Sarasota a marketing mecca,” I said.
“I need to have the desire to do it.”
“Beautiful. Then what?”
“I need to realize my resources.”
“What are they?”
“Well, let’s see,” I started. “Sarasota has a lot of artists.”
“Painters. Musicians. Writers. Filmmakers. Graphic Designers. Sculptors. Poets. Actors. Dancers. You name it.”
“That’s a lot of creativity. What are your other assets?”
“Well,” I continued, “we’ve got a wide range of industries.”
“We’ve got a few marketing firms already.”
“That’s a good start. What else?”
“There are manufacturing jobs. Did you know that Sarasota is the world supplier of the Tervis Tumbler? You know, those cups that don’t sweat?”
“Who do you think gave them the technology? What else do you got?”
“We’ve got quite a bit of agricultural jobs. Oranges, cattle, that sort of thing.” I thought for another moment. “Real estate was really kicking here for awhile, but I don’t think I’d give that much credence these days.”
“Why is that?”
“The economy’s down. Nobody’s buying.”
“Do people have no need for a place to live anymore?”
“Sure they do.”
“Then why aren’t they buying them?” he asked.
“Well, with the boom a few years ago, the prices skyrocketed. People were buying and selling hand over fist. Now that the bottom’s fallen out, there’s no more money to be made so no one’s buying.”
“What about people who need a place to live?” he asked.
“Most of them are waiting until the prices go down again. Those that really need a place to live are renting.”
“What do you suppose all of the other businesses are doing that allows them to thrive while the real estate market fails?” he asked.
“Well, I guess real estate’s a finite market. You know? There’s only so much land to go around.”
“So is there no more property available?”
“No. There’s still plenty available. It’s just that nobody’s buying anymore.”
“Why not?” he prompted.
“I don’t know.”
Iman took a deep breath and folded his hands in his lap. “Consider the manufacturing businesses you mentioned. How do they serve your society?”
“They make things for people to use,” I said.
“And what about the creative people. How do they serve your society?”
“In all sorts of ways, I suppose. They help people to see the world from a different point of view. They create works of beauty. They communicate ideas.”
Iman leaned a bit forward. “And what about the real estate industry. How do they serve your society?”
“They help people find places to live and do business.”
“But they can’t really do that now.”
“Not really,” I said.
I considered it for a moment, looking at what the industry had become in the last few years as prices got higher and higher. “I guess because they stopped.”
“Stopped what?” he asked.
“Stopped finding places for people to live and do business. When the market was really cooking, a good part of it was done to make money more than finding a place to live. People were flipping houses all over, jacking up the prices, trying to make as much money as they could while demand was up.”
“Where was the service?”
“In large part, I suppose it was just serving investors.”
“Would you say they lost the focus of their purpose?”
“It would seem that way.”
“What do you suppose caused that to happen?”
There was only one word that sprang to mind. “Desire.”
This is an excerpt from How to Survive an Estralarian Mind Meld. Come back weekly for the next part or order your copy in ebook or paperback today!