The competitive advantage of hiring artists, A conversation with Chris Ashworth

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Chris_ashworth_bw Christopher Ashworth makes software and theater in Baltimore, Maryland. His QLab software makes it simple to create rich multimedia designs for live performances and installations. Qlab has been used in high schools, colleges, Tony awards winning productions and the live audience and broadcast audio for the 2010 Olympic medal ceremonies. The diversity of venues is partly due to some really interesting ways that Chris has found to make his work accessible to a broad range of price points.

When I read Chris Ashworth's post My Competitive Advantage: I Hire Artists, I knew I had to get him on Art Heroes— he has stuff to say that you, as artists, should hear. His passion impressed me as much as his thinking.

Then I read Chris' post My 2 Bucks on Pricing on why he raised the price of his software by 500% at the request of his existing customers. Let me repeat that— His customers told him he wasn't charging them enough. Why? They wanted to continue using QLab and they wanted Chris to be able to sustain his business so he'd be there for them. Yeah, artists could learn from that too.

Not only does Chris value artists for their skills and devotion, he understands that adapting the work environment to their needs provides a win for everyone involved. If you don't read his essay I Hire Artists here's a snip that gives you the essence of the post.

So here's the thing, here is my tip, and here is what I want the business owners of America to think about very hard:

Artists, as a species, are amazing people. And America, as a general rule, does not fully get this. Show me a good artist and I will show you a highly educated, highly creative, highly passionate, highly driven human being. If they're a performing artist, I will show you someone who breathes teamwork. I will show you someone who eats healthy critiques for breakfast and grows an inch that day because of it. I will show you a communicator, and a thinker.

I will show you someone you want to hire.

And all you have to do, is not destroy the whole reason you want to hire them.

Hell, yeah.

Learn More about Chris Ashworth

  1. Read Chris' blog:
  2. Follow Christopher on Twitter.
  3. Check out Figure 53 software.
  4. Check out Single Carrot Theatre

Further Resources:

  1. My Competitive Advantage: I Hire Artists
  2. My 2 Bucks on Pricing
  3. The Illustrated History of QLab, Personal Milestone Edition

Show Highlights: Excerpts From the Conversation

Once the transcription is completed I'll include some of the best portions here.

« How to get your art into galleries, a conversation with Clint Watson | Main | Why artists have an unfair advantage at internet marketing, a conversation with Mark McGuinness »

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Statement + Bio | Curriculum Vitae | Bibliography

I'm best known as an artist and designer. Relaxing makes me tense, so I tend to put in a lot of hours on diverse projects.

On the way to a successful art career I've been a poet and writer, a tech geek, a print and web designer, illustrator, industrial designer, musician, teacher, actor, set designer and even a paid guru once.

It's all the same thing in the end— I wake up most days thinking about how I want to change, fix or improve some aspect of the world. And after a couple cups of coffee I get started on it.

My specialty is impossibility remediation: if it can't be done, I'm on it.

Mobile: 231.584.2710 (9 to 5 PST only) | Email me
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