10 years ago I came to Miami and invested in over a billion dollars in real estate. I told people I came here to create a global tech hub, and they laughed.

Now that it is becoming reality, I want to share my story and why I saw a bright future for Miami…
I came to this country from Israel in the 80s with nothing.

In my opinion, the US is built by hard-working immigrants. Miami is a city where nearly everyone is from somewhere else, and I've never seen so much built-in diversity in any city. That, by itself, was exciting. Image
I worked hard in the 90s to revitalize the Meatpacking district in New York City. I learned the power of creative, intelligent people to fix anything if they cooperate.

I saw the same potential and the same type of people in Miami. I knew right then it would be special.
I started to buy property in Miami and most of the owners didn't live here and laughed at my ideas. They had given up on the city. In my opinion Miami frequently gets overlooked.

They gladly sold me the property and called me many names-- crazy, "eccentric", clueless. Image
One person who always believed Miami could be a top global city is @FrancisSuarez. He was a young man on the city council at the time, but he did all he could to point me in the right directions. He showed me that not everyone in Miami had given up. We are good friends still. Image
Miami was a tourist city, but the thing about people is that if they do something once, they usually do it again. So I thought if we could get people to visit Miami a few times we could also get them to live here.

We started in Wynwood.
Wynwood was an industrial area, with warehouses. It was in a bad neighborhood.

I grew up in bad neighborhoods and knew that if you could get people used to going there, it wouldn't be so bad anymore. So we threw events in the area and painted beautiful art over the graffiti.
Soon Wynwood became a cultural hub, with big artists taking over walls and painting beautiful murals. Many people made Wynwood a wonderful place including Tony Goldman, David Lombardi and many others.

The experiment worked. Now tech companies are putting offices there. Image
Now we are rebuilding an area of Downtown Miami called the Flagler District. It is so perfect to be the economic engine of the city.

It has (free) mass transit and is at the center of everything. When Henry Flagler built his railroad here, they laughed at him too. Image
Miami has built-in diversity that makes it very special. It's not like California where they put a brown person like me on a brochure and say "See? We're diverse."

Everyone here is accepting of others and trying to work together to make a great city.
With the neighborhoods we are revitalizing in Miami we aren't flipping buildings to some hedge fund and pushing out people who aren't rich.

We're staying here. We're making sure everyone benefits, including those who made the neighborhoods cool in the first place.
We've established a Mana Tech division to build and nurture the tech community in Miami.

We have an amazing FEMALE director (@MichelleAbbs) who I hired not because of her gender but because she was best for the job. Tech can't succeed if women (50% of humans) can’t participate.
There is something special happening in Miami and it's a great time to be here. They are tackling difficult problems head-on: climate, income inequality, housing, schools, transit, and not pretending everything is fine. But every year they make progress and it's inspiring to see
I believe in Miami. You should too.

#LongMiami

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