Tag Archives: #SMCSFblog



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We went to Naples this Thanksgiving weekend. It still kind of amazes me that I have been coming here for over 40 years. My grandfather lived here and we have been visiting since I was a little kid. Now, my … Continue reading

Silly Fun

Sometimes you should just get away and have some silly fun. For Thanksgiving this year, we went on the Murder Mystery Dinner Train. The food was actually quite good, and the service was spectacular.

But, the really silly part was the dinner show. It was all about 4 ghosts who had died 70 years ago and were trying to figure out which one of them killed them all. Attendees were supposed to write down the clues and figure out who the killer was. As usual, I picked the main victim as the killer. I really suck at these things.

The thing is, it was just goofy fun, and sometimes that is all you really need. There are a lot of stresses and everyone needs a break. I know many people who are or were suffering from massive stress. It is often hard to break away from that and take a break. Paying bills always looms over your head. People are hustling and working so hard just to keep their heads above water. They are scared if they even take one day off that everything will come tumbling down.

I was like that. For about two years, I could barely breathe. Could not sleep. My waistline attests to the fact that I did not have trouble eating, but I still was ill much of the time. Finally, I had to step back and take some time off.

So take a day and go see a silly murder mystery. Or, whatever. Do something to take your mind off the stress for a little while. When you come back, you will be able to handle it better, I promise you.

#SMCSFblog 29/30


Happy Thanksgiving 2013!

Wishing all of my friends, fans, followers, and those soon to be, a very Happy Thanksgiving from Naples, Florida where we are visiting my parents. I hope you all are celebrating in a warm and happy way, while remembering those who may not have as much to be thankful for.

I am so very thankful of all my friends, it is only through your teamwork and support that we truly can change the world and bring a Happy Thanksgiving to Everyone!

#SMCSFblog 28/30


Go You!

Directly out of college, Annette and I started our own business. We purchased a pop culture retail store. Retail is, in my opinion, one of the hardest businesses available. Given that neither of us had studied business, I immediately began reading business and marketing books and magazines. I joined professionals organizations that related to our industry. I found experts and I solicited and listened to their advice. I quickly gained a decent amount of business knowledge.

After several years, when the collectibles business took a nosedive, we decided to get out and shut the store down, but the knowledge I gained was invaluable. For a time, I hung a shingle as a business coach. I helped new entrepreneurs pursue their passion. Many people who want to start their own business are content-experts, they are knowledgeable about their product or service line, but often lack basic business skills, such as financial planning, marketing or organization.

Like any business, it was different than I imagined it would be. As it turned out, what most people needed more than business advice was just plain cheerleading. Many people seem scared of doing their own thing. While they may have a passion they want to pursue, they like the security of having someone else make the tough decisions and give them a nice paycheck for successful executing their duties. And, this is fine, if they are happy with that.

I meet many, many people who (say they) want to go out on their own and do their own thing. They have a basic understanding that working for someone else only enriches their boss, but true potential lies in creating their own business. Or, they may just have a passion for something and would much rather be doing that than whatever they are doing for a paycheck.

Yet, they do not do it. They might make plan after plan and set deadline after deadline to step out on their own, yet there they are, year after year, stuck in their cubicle. There is always some excuse. Or, they just do not know where to start and are unable (unwilling) to figure out how to find out.

So, I find myself many times just saying, “you can do it!” I tell them to just go to sunbiz.org (or whatever your state’s business registry is) and register a name. It usually cost less than $100. Get their business cards and go.

Of course, there is often more to it than that, financing of equipment, acquisition of clients, hiring of staff, finding of location, etc. The thing is, all of that is doable. Thousands of people no smarter than them do that every single day. They can do it, too. I say that and I see fear in their eyes. Their breath catches in their throat. They stutter. But, but, but…

Often they tell me I make it sound so easy, and I assure them that it is. Of course, the truth is that it is harder than they can imagine, but not in the ways they think it will be, and the fact is, they can overcome all those hardships with perseverance, but they have to get started. They usually cannot even articulate what they are scared of. Failure probably. Looking like a fool in front of their peers. Monsters in the closet.

But, what they don’t seem to realize is that the only true failure is failure to start. You only fail when you give up. Until you give up, failure is only experience disguised as mistakes. As long as you continue to learn from those mistakes and continue to push forward, you have not failed. Success is always built on a mountain of failures, nobody gets it right the first time. So, get out there and start failing! The sooner you start failing, the sooner you build your mountain to success.

You CAN do it. You CAN continue to fail until you figure out all the ways not to do something, grinding it down to the only remaining way to do it right. It really isn’t that hard, but it is harder than you can imagine in ways more rewarding than you can possibly believe. So, go you!

#SMCSFblog 27/30

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Don’t Congratulate Me, Yet

So, I have been receiving a lot of congratulations on my recent move from my regular full-time job to focusing on my own businesses full-time. I appreciate the sentiment, but I keep trying to tell people this is premature. Right now, we are still in the pre-revenue stage. We are living off the money we saved up to make this move. Congratulate me in a year when (if) we haven’t starved.

The good thing is, now I will have time to monetize it. We need to find sponsors and funders to pay for the events. I have no doubt that we will, but until we do, we are living on borrowed time (money). When we land some big sponsors and grants, when the big events start rolling with thousands of attendees, then it congratulations will be appropriate. Until then, we really appreciate your support and your good wishes, but don’t congratulate me, yet!

#SMCSFblog 26/30

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Art Basel Is Coming

Can you believe it? I am certainly not ready. Art Basel Miami Beach 2013, the biggest art week of the year, with dozens of huge art fairs, and hundreds of shows, parties, exhibitions and events, starts in just a few days! That is why I am a day late on this edition of the #SMCSFblog challenge. I have been hard at work on our Soul Of Miami Art Basel Roundup.

Of course, the ironic part is that, for the first time ever, Soul Of Miami will not be covering the official @ArtBasel. For the first time since event before the start of our site, we were not granted media credentials. We have promoted this show since their second year (our first year in Miami), but this year, they did not find Soul Of Miami to be “arty” enough.

In any case, there is way too much to do that week, anyway. Be sure to check out our massive Soul Of Miami Art Basel Guide. We do our best to include all the events, but even we miss a few. Also, start your #ArtBasel week off at the Life Is Art Award and Art Basel Welcome Party on December 2! Only $20 for tons of eventainment, food and drinks!

#SMCSFblog 25/30
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Happy Happy Joy Joy

So, for those of you who know me, you know I am not always the most positive person. My Facebook #LateNightRants are fairly (in)famous. I drunk rant on Twitter sometimes, also to much acclaim.

But, it is more than just being a lunatic on social media. I pretty much just tell it like it is. I try to keep it somewhat reserved, but if you ask me “How are you,” you may get more than you bargained for. If I have an event that sucks, or business is doing bad, or I am not feeling well, I don’t do very well at hiding that. I admit it. I even wrote a long description of my breakdown of a couple years ago.

Yet, I have been counseled, numerous times, to keep things on the bright side. If an event does not go as well as planned, keep a positive spin on it. Keep things positive. If things are not going good, put on a sunny smile, anyway. It is actually a common strategy and one that many, many people and businesses use. And if it works for them, great.

But, I don’t buy into that. I’m more into “keepin’ it rrreahh”. I like to be “representin'”. (Bonus points for identifying those quotes.) You know, life is what it is, sometimes good, sometimes bad. I think people appreciate it when you are more like a human and less like a billboard. I think that letting people know that things are not always sunshine and flowers lets them trust you more.

If all you ever do is accentuate the positive, even when things go wrong, how will people trust you? How will they know that you are not just leading them along? If all you ever say is good stuff, while hiding the bad, then people have no way to know whether you are being truthful at any given time.

People know I will tell it how it is. If things are going badly, they know I will tell them. That way, when I say things are going well, they can also know I am being straight-up. I guess this is what they call being genuine.

Of course, same issue applies in reverse, you don’t want to overdo it and be a negative-nanny or whiner, so just admit when things aren’t perfect, but don’t overdo it and complain all the time.

#SMCSFblog 24/30

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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.

23/30 #SMCSFblog
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Where Are You From?

People ask that all the time in Miami. Personally, I hate the question. I was born near Los Angeles because my parents met at college, far from both their hometowns. I lived in Seattle until I was 8 because my father was a professor at Puget Sound. Then my dad got a job in Dallas and I lived there for many years. But that is not where I am FROM.

Honestly, I do not care where you are from. I always ask, “What do you do?” Not, “what do you do for a living,” because that is often different. But, I often have to rephrase the question to, “What do you want to do?” The follow-up is inevitably, “Why are not doing that?” But that is a different story.

Anyway, where am I from? I usually feel like I am from nowhere. Or maybe everywhere. I am from Earth, in the Solar System. in the Milky Way Galaxy, in this Universe. What else matters?

I am definitely not from where I grew up. I have almost no family there, except the sister we left behind, and her husband and kids, and I have very little in common with the prevailing attitude of the area. I do still have some good friends back there, but most of those are not childhood friends, they are from high school or later. I definitely have no “hometown” affinity for where I happened to grow up. So, what is the point of “Where are you from?”

My mother’s family is midwestern, spread out across many states. When I go there, I do feel some affinity for the place. I can see the look in my maternal relatives, you can tell these are hardy midwestern stock, and they did survive some of those hardships you see in the movies or books. And I am proud to have their blood in my veins, I think it is what gives me a lot of my perseverence.

My father’s family is southern, though sometimes it is hard to tell (there is even an Echols county in Georgia that is named after my family line). The trail of my direct surname ancestors leads down the eastern seaboard starting in 1650. My grandfather moved to Everglades City in the 1930s from the Alabama/Georgia line, with seven of his female cousins. More Echols followed into Florida and now I have literally hundreds of second and third cousings/aunts/uncles all the way from Naples to Clewiston.


So, you tell me where I am from. I do think salt water runs in my veins. I feel most at home in the Everglades, more than any other place I have been. I am definitely a water person and the ocean is one of my loves. But, even there I feel restless.

I think mostly, I am always keenly aware that I am, like every other being on the planet, stardust.

So, you ask me where I am from? I am from the stars, just like you.

22/30 #SMCSFblog


I made this commitment to blog every day for November, and even on days like today, when I have already worked 15 hours, when I don’t have any inspiration for what to write about, when I am running behind, I am keeping with it. This is one of the most important keys to success. When you say you are going to do something, you do it, no matter what. So, I’m lying on the couch, dead dog tired, without a thought in my head, and blogging about not being able to blog. It still counts!

This is one thing I have noticed with many people, they do not have the commitment. They might have good ideas, they might even have great ideas, but I’ve said it before and I will say it again, ideas are worthless. Ideas are just words until they are put into action. And the action is worthless unless it has commitment and follow-through. So many people just give up when they find out their idea is harder than they thought. Nothing wrong with that, of course. We need people to sit in cubicles and do the grunt work. But, if you really want to be an independent success, you have to learn to commit.

So, even though this is just a personal challenge with no real penalties for giving up, here I am, about to fall asleep, typing out whatever comes into my brain because I am committed (or should be).

21/30 #SMCSFblog

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