The other day I read an article on the Sarasota Day blog. I stumbled upon it through the HUB facebook page which I
decided to like, even though I am not yet sure what it is they do. The title of the article caught my attention which is what a good blog title should do and I was even more excited as I continued to read as I agreed with most everything the author was talking about.
As someone who lived here for 6.5 years, moved away for 2 years and then moved back 6 months ago to chase a dream I feel I have a unique viewpoint on why Sarasota is not ready to be number 1 or 100 for that matter. I love the area and came back here to build my empire, but reading this article sparked me to write about some of the unspoken issues that this city faces on its quest to be a viable option for any future top 10 lists.
So for all of you Sarasota homers, prepare to be offended with the hopes of better understanding why Sarasota is not ready to be #1
You think you are better than everyone else!
There is an air of sophistication in Sarasota that chokes most newcomers to the city like a bad red tide bloom, especially when they have to deal with the pretentious socialites and too cool for you crowd that makes up much of the Sarasota social scene. I moved down here in 2004 and instantly fell in love with the area. Who wouldn’t love the beaches and climate as well as a small town feel with big town amenities? I immediately got the feel though that the city of Sarasota was trying to be something more than it was.
There are wealthy people all over this country and I’m sure there is arrogance to spare in other parts of the country as well but it seems that the old money in Sarasota is hell bent on keeping this little piece of paradise to themselves by alienating anyone who does not jump in line with their tired beliefs of how things are supposed to be. There are a ton of creative visionaries in the community who have a million of ideas on how to take the city to the next level and the status quo would quickly squash them with the thought of protecting “Fort Establishment” from the intrusion of any new ideas or personalities. If the people here were less concerned with their image and instead shifted their focus on creating a city where challenging the status quo is not seen as a detriment but a asset to the community then maybe Sarasota could start climbing that list.
It’s like high school prom out there!
Piggy backing on my last point is the fact that Sarasota is segmented and cliquey. It’s like high school prom all over again. Everyone is so worried with the superficiality of their city and acting like it is so much more than it is that they are blinded to honest comparisons to what is really going on in other similar sized cities. Sarasota is just like prom night where nothing matters except getting the right dress and making sure you have a date so that you can take pictures with your friends and make a great memory but in reality you are so busy trying to look good and trying to have a good time that you actually forget to enjoy the event.
We are all in Sarasota for one reason, to live our lives and spend the little time we have on earth in a beautiful part of the world with the hope of one day leaving your mark on this world in one way or another. Quit acting like just because you are not a jock or part of the band that you can’t still have fun at prom. Forget about what the cameras are doing and ask someone new to the dance. You never know who you are going to meet or where that open door might lead.
Young Professionals, What Can We Do?
Both Sarasota and Manatee counties have active young professional groups but how effective are they at influencing the city culture and direction. With half of the world population under 30 years of age it is important that we develop these young leaders and listen to their ideas. This will after all be our city soon enough so why not include us now and engage us in the formation of strategic decision making.
I often hear people complaining that Sarasota is old and they can’t retain young talent but it shouldn’t have to be like that. The young professionals should be a huge asset to this community and treated as such. If the “old Professionals” would set their ego’s to the side they might find out that the city of Sarasota is prime for placement on any top 10 list in the country, and we might be able to help get it there.
To all the young leaders out there that think I am just interested in busting the chops of the establishment here you are sorely mistaken. I am just as critical of your efforts to get proactively involved. Networking can be fun but take the things you do seriously. Push for what you want and find a cause to support and get involved. If you don’t vote or pay attention to anything other than pushing for a better night life and open bar at the next networking event then you deserve to have a city that gives you no respect for your opinion. Your lack of interest in the future of the city you live in gives those of us trying to build something bigger here a bad name.
Quit Pretending Like Manatee County Is Your Annoying Little Brother
I get so tired of the people in Sarasota acting like Manatee County is home to the plague. Manatee County, you are not free from criticism on this either. You typecast the people of Sarasota just as much while criticizing them for doing the same to you.
Sarasota and Manatee counties should be working side by side in order to more effectively build the overall image of each of their respective cities. Tying in to all of my last points I will excoriate the people of both counties for being so bull headed that they miss out on opportunities to build bridges between the two communities instead of digging trenches between them.
As far as the young professionals go, why the hell do they both have their networking socials on the same Thursday of each month! It’s either the worst piece of planning ever or a deliberate attempt to make people pick between one or the other. As an active member of the young professional community I find this appalling! Fix this now!
Putting a Bow on it.
I am just one guy, I do what I can and I am honestly more focused on succeeding in spite of all of this as opposed to using it as a crutch but I wanted to get it out there. I am often the guy that says things that other people are too scared to bring up, especially in the public spotlight. Maybe this along with the efforts of a few other people in this community can open up a dialogue within the community that might ultimately lead to some progress on the issues.
It’s not hard, just set the egos aside, get a bunch of people who care involved and don’t stop until things get better. Quit being scared to do something different for the fear that is has never been done before. One of my favorite quotes is from Steve Jobs.
“To follow the path that others have laid before you is a reasonable course of action; therefore all progress is made by unreasonable men.”
Let’s Get Unreasonable!