A few weeks ago a friend of mine who used to live in Miami (for about a year) suggested that I should promote Miami as a place for burnt out Valley types to come and recharge. They could benefit from the slower pace, the great lifestyle, lower cost of living, and recuperate for a while she suggested. All the while they could share their wisdom of the west coast or north east with us Miamians.
Not gonna lie, this really rubbed me the wrong way.
Miami may not be anywhere near as sophisticated as Silicon Valley or New York or Boston from a tech industry perspective, but we aren’t a bunch of glorified spa workers either. Sure Miami might be lower stress than some of these other cities due to our insistence on things like work-life balance (the horror!) or the fact we’re able to go outdoors 362 days a year (the other 3 days are usually hurricanes, the one day it dips below 55, and/or we’re hungover from celebrating calle ocho or noche buena).
The idea that Miami is where one goes for mid-career semi-retirement was counter to everything we’ve been hard at work on for the last decade. Miami is a place where people go to seize the American dream. People from all over the world come to Miami for opportunities that aren’t present in their home countries or states. There is a very good reason so few people you meet in Miami are actually from Miami (we’re like unicorns), people want to come here, so our population grows faster than some other booming metropolises (5% growth in just the last 4 years).
Miami is the embodiment of the American dream. 51% of our population was born outside the country vs 35% in San Francisco or 28% in New York. This makes us one of the most cosmopolitan cities in the US.
Sure Florida has a reputation for lots of less than stellar things, but that’s because Florida is so desirable to live in, people of ALL types will come here. That however doesn’t really paint the picture of what makes Miami great. As a native Floridian, I think the good far outweighs the bad. It’s not as if people outside the Valley think East Palo Alto is the same as the cozy confines of Palo Alto just across the highway or think the Tenderloin district really represents San Francisco’s heart and soul. Miami, and much of Florida, present fertile grounds for creativity and growth because we don’t have as much history or as many entrenched players impeding change.
In Miami if you have a vision, and know how to get the necessary capital, you can build it.