Rhode Island: It's All in Our Backyard

The grass is pretty darn green here

October 4, 2013 by lauren

Alex Beckett, a creative partner at  Nail, tells John Taraborelli why he chooses to live and work in Rhode Island. Below are a few highlights from the interview. We highly recommended you check out the full interview on Taraborelli’s blog Cityscapesmag.

Why is Nail based in Providence?

Nail is here because in the 21st century we can be pretty much anywhere, and this is where we want to live. Providence is a city – but just barely. We’ve got the culture, the food, the activities that make life in a city fun and meaningful. But it doesn’t come with the cost, congestion, and craziness of a big city.

I lived in NYC, Boston, and Los Angeles, and I shake my head when I think of what I paid for my dinky little apartment or how we’d wait an hour and a half for a cramped, overpriced brunch or the hours spent in mind-bending traffic jams.

Providence does not have everything we need. But we are doing post-production on a TV spot up in Boston this week. Next week we are meeting a new client down in NYC. Just a walk from the office and hop on the train – almost a glorified subway ride for us.

The media is always harping about Providence’s “bad climate for business.” What’s your perspective, as a businessman based here? Can/should the government be doing more to create a better climate?

I honestly don’t know what “bad climate for business” means. At least for us, we are the ultimate creators of our “business climate.” If we are making our clients happy and our employees enjoy coming to work every day then our “climate” is fine. There is really nothing the mayor or the General Assembly can or should do to help us; just keep the city clean, safe, and pleasant, and we’ll do the rest.

What keeps you in the city, personally? Why not work here and go live in the suburbs?

There is a sterility to the suburbs that depresses the crap out of me. The energy, creativity, diversity, open-mindedness, and intellectual firepower of an Eastern seaboard city is exactly the kind of environment I want my kids growing up in.

To live the lifestyle we do in New York would require us to be billionaires. In Boston we’d have to be millionaires. But here in Providence we can be regular, old thousandaires.

What are the things we can do to make Providence a more appealing place?

Providence (and RI in general) could do with a little less cynicism. I have lived and traveled all over the place, and I chose to live here. And a lot of the people I know who are most passionate about RI and Providence come from elsewhere. Perhaps a reverse Peace Corps is in order to send bitter Rhode Islanders out into the world where I think a lot of them may realize that the grass is pretty darn green here.