Tag Archives: Miami

The Impending Miami Changemaker Collapse

The Impending Miami Changemaker Collapse

I don’t really know if this should be called a #LateNightRant or just a #MondayMorning #RealDeal, but here goes. This is something I have been mulling over for quite a while now. Anyway, sit back, this is going to be a long one.

You all know I tend to overshare, and about two months ago, I overshared about my battle with anxiety and stress. I was near collapse at the time. Many people gave me much great advice, some of which I have followed and am greatly improved. However, that is not the point of this post.

Because of my propensity to share and be open about my trials, it seems that many people are willing to be open with about theirs. What I learned due to my sharing is that not only is my condition not unique, it is not even unusual. It is practically commonplace. It seems that there is an epidemic of burnout spreading throughout Miami’s changemakers and do-gooders.

When I shared my problems, other people started to share theirs with me. Once I started noticing a trend, I dug deeper. When I would run into someone I know, which happens often, of course, and we exchanged the common courtesies of, “How are you!?” and they would inevitably respond with, “I’m great!” I would ask again, “But, how are you really?” More times than not, the response was different and not near as positive Then, knowing that they knew about my fight with anxiety, I would ask if they ever dealt with the same issue. Because I had shared my problems, they felt comfortable sharing with me, as well. The majority, the vast majority of people who I asked said that they indeed were fighting the same battle as I.

Also, after co-founding an organization dedicated to supporting those changemakers, I have become much more familiar with the processes that many of them operate under. I have been researching the funding process and have spoken with many of these organizations and changemakers about their experience. I have also been studying the formula that local funders use to assign funds to refine our own processes in obtaining said funds. I have spoken with many, many changemakers and leaders regarding their experiences. I have probably spoken directly and honestly to more changemakers than almost anyone else in Miami.

Again, as an oversharer, people are much more willing to share the actual truth with me than they are with most people, especially those in power. More on that later.

So. Here is the trend I am seeing, there is an impending epidemic of changemaker collapse coming in the next few years unless we significantly improve the way things work. There are so many more people working on so many different aspects of the community than there were just 10 years ago, not to mention 20 or 30, and the support infrastructure has not kept up. We need to restructure the institutional support systems for the changemakers. There are not enough resources to support what everyone is doing, even though it is all good work. The resources we do have are significantly misallocated.

The current state of affairs is not sustainable. All of this changemaking is wonderful, but we see people drop out all the time due to inability to continue and we need to look at what changes need to take place in order to better manage our resources. These are issues that we are currently socializing to bring it into the light and really start talking about it on a large scale. Think about it for a while, and we can go into more depth later.

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Hey World, Welcome to the New Miami!

It is time for the world to wake up and realize that Miami is different than it once was. Miami is now more than just beautiful beaches, awesome nightlife and rabid corruption (though we still do have all those things). Recently, the Miami New Times reported that the Huffington Post ranked Miami “Eighth Most Overrated Place in the World”. (Actually, pretty much the entire list is nonsense. Where would they like to visit?)

Of course, all they mention are the overpriced drinks, humidity and nightclubs. It is time for the world to wake up and realize Miami is much more than that. Just this week, we are in the midst of the Miami Book Fair International, one of the largest and oldest annual literary gatherings in the world. In a world of video games and social media, that is really something of which to be proud.

Following almost immediately on that, of course, is the Art Basel Miami Beach week of art. Thousands upon thousands of people from all over the world come to Miami to take part in the dozens of art fairs and shows. It has even far surpassed the original Art Basel in Basel.

Aside from our big cultural fairs and festivals, we have a growing arts and cultural establishment. The Adrienne Arsht Center has grown from the early days of empty seats to regularly sold-out shows, with some of the most prestigious companies passing through their doors, as well as a host of unique, alternative productions. The Perez Art Museum Miami (forever Miami Art Museum to me) is nearly finished with its spectacular new space. For those who have not seen the amazing renderings of the new Miami Science Museum, you really have to check them out. The HistoryMiami museum is taking over the old Miami Art Museum space in the Miami-Dade Cultural Center and will have greatly expanded exhibition and program space, including a theatre.

In addition to the big institutions, more and more arts and cultural groups are popping up all over. Life Is Art, Miami’s Independent Thinkers, YOMiami, Cannonball, Locust Projects and many others have started supporting the arts over the last decade or so (a few are a little older).

The tech scene is small, but growing. Places like MEC261 and LAB Miami are helping to bring the tech community together and provide resources. We have resource groups forming to help entrepreneurs find investors. The Beacon Council works diligently to court business big and small to move to Miami.

I will skip over our food scene due to time constraints, but suffice it to say, we have many excellent food choices, once you get your head out of the… tourist traps.

So Mr. and Mrs. HuffPo, and you, the rest of the world, yes, we do have amazing weather, beautiful beaches and some of the best nightlife in the world (stop being jealous), but we have much more than that and are growing every day. Come by and I will be happy to give you a tour.

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Mean to Brag

The other day I was talking to a very nice lady who had recently moved here from a much colder climate. I asked her what the temperature was there and she said 21. So, I asked her if she was going to start posting photos of how amazing and warm it is here to taunt her family and friends back home. Everybody does that, right? She said, no, she was not going to do that. She said her father had done it when he moved to South Florida years ago, and so she did not want to do the same to her friends.

So, what do you think, do you taunt your friends from back where you came from? Post pictures of yourself on the beach while they are posting pictures of themselves digging their car out of six foot snow drifts? Do you complain about how cold you are at 65, while everyone else is wearing parkas? Even in the summer do you post about our balmy 85 degree weather, while places like New York swelter at near 100 degrees? Yes, it does get warm here, but other places are much hotter.

I eventually quit doing direct taunting, after about the first three years of living here, but I do still like to post about how amazing the weather is. It’s hard not to!

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Full Circle

As you can imagine, we have been watching the Miami event scene for many years. Even before we started Soul Of Miami, we got out and about on a regular basis. And now, Miami has finally closed the circle.

Years ago, I can remember when THE thing to do on one Thursday a month was JAM at MAM. That was really the start of mid-week evening events. People moved their art shows, networkers, happy hours, grand openings and other special events off the weekends because they started to get too busy. There was a time when Thursday was king. You would sit around the house Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday, then have a dozen events to choose from on Thursday. There was a time when full days would be empty on Soul Of Miami, just no events listed at all.

Slowly, it creeped across the week. After competition got too fierce on Thursdays, people started Wednesdays. I remember, a few years back, talking to friends about it. “Oh, this is as far as it can go, nobody would do Tuesday. Nobody would go out on Tuesday.” Well, needless to say, we were wrong.

Eventually it did creep across Tuesday. I think it was the Brickell Art Walk that finally sealed Tuesday’s fate. After they started hosting their walk on one Tuesday a month, more and more people started testing Tuesdays. We even plan to hold regular Life Is Art events on Tuesdays starting in 2014, whereas last year, we would not have entertained that idea at all.

We thought Monday would be the final hold out. There was a time when we personally designated it “Movie Monday” because nothing ever happened on Monday and we could actually take a personal day and attend a movie. Surely, nobody would be crazy enough to host events on Monday. The day after a big weekend in Miami, nobody would come out, right? Everybody needs a break, right? Wrong, again.

For the past several weeks, we have been attending events pretty much every night of the week, including Mondays. We are even contributing to the situation, our next two Life Is Art are on Mondays. Tonight (Monday, November 11), there are several nice events to choose from.

Can this continue? Will people continue to populate events every night of the week? Where do we go from here? Will we need to invent a new day just to cram more events into the week? So, I ask you, what are you doing tonight?

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