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It’s been a year since I’ve gotten back to Miami. I beat to death the differences between Miami and Vegas over on my old Tumblr, so I won’t get into it here all over again.
In a nutshell though, absence made the heart grow fonder, and despite the faults of Miami, I’m still glad I came back.
A lot of people rain on Miami’s parade at any opportunity. The “lack of culture” and the lack of “real” opportunities outside of the world of hospitality and tourism usually factor into most people’s discussions about the downsides of living in this area.
However, if you look closer, Miami is a very young city. Founded in 1896, it is the oldest municipality in South Florida. The area was settled prior to that, but no real development occurred until then. So, as it were, the city, and the area in general, have a scant 150 years of history to support it. Cultural meccas like Boston and New York have centuries of cultural development. Nonetheless, even with the relative age of our society here, certain things considered “cultural” have definitely taken hold. Gatherings and events like Art Walk and of course the almighty Art Basel Miami exemplify this. Along with our crop of homegrown musical talent, which spans way beyond the stereotypical “Latin” sound. Groups like ArtOfficial and Spam All-Stars are in the global music scene representing the 305, as it were.
Now, on the subject of opportunity. A lot of people bemoan the lack of “real” companies having branches or operations here. The fact is, they do. Most major corporations, ranging from heavyweights like Xerox and Canon, to more specialized outfits like Diageo (liquor) have their Latin American headquarters here. Along the same lines, the major South American banks are headquartered here for reasons of safety and stability, and proximity to their home countries. However, it’s the lack of “corporatism” in where Miami can shine. A city like Miami is ripe for the spirit of self-employment and entrepreneurship. Even educated people who choose to locate here, often start their own business in any number of fields, including “Miami typical” ones like hospitality, entertainment, the arts, and music, or even unexpected fields like software development and engineering. I personally know several local talented software developers who work from home or small office spaces on projects that are headquartered around the globe.
It’s actually people like these who represent the future of doing things. I see cities like Miami becoming immensely popular as a living location as self-employment and telecommuting become more and more accepted and popular. And why not? Most common tasks in any business environment don’t require much more than a computer with an internet connection, with the office space being a mere formality and comforter for employers. Of course, for such things to take hold, a sea change in our attitudes towards work and employment need to happen. I’ll leave that for another rant entirely.
However, it’s this unconventional environment which drew me here, and drew me back home after my absence. The travel opportunities were fun, but there’s definitely no place like home.
Besides, being unconventional is fun.