Water Cooler Chat: The Future is Here

407

By Jeff Perlman Courtesy YourDelrayBoca.com Entrepreneurs have discovered Delray. I don’t believe in the status quo. I’m not even sure it’s possible to stay in place even if you are determined to do so. Change seems to be the rule of the universe and while sometimes it can be hard to embrace, it’s inevitable. Time passes; things change. I also don’t believe in the conventional wisdom when it comes to living the good life. For many that means winning the lottery or cashing in big in business and living on a beach somewhere. Seems pretty good in the abstract, but it doesn’t explain why: • Entrepreneurs begin yet another business even after cashing out big. • Humans seek constant mental, spiritual, and creative development. People aspire, we are restless and we constantly seek knowledge and progress. A pessimist would view this as living in a permanent state of dissatisfaction. But an optimist celebrates the journey and sees the hammock on the beach as a rest stop, not a permanent destination. I think people, organizations, schools and communities thrive when they have a sense of purpose; when they strive, envision, iterate and engage with the world. Consequently, I think the same entities erode when they cling to the status quo. Last week, I attended one of the most exciting events I’ve been to in a long, long time. It was called “Smart Uprising” and it was hosted by an immensely gifted young entrepreneur named Jeremy Office and his wonderful team at MacLendon Wealth Management right here in Delray Beach. Jeremy is a financial professional with a sterling reputation; but he’s also an entrepreneur brimming with ideas, enthusiasm, warmth and vision. He’s an investor, community volunteer, VC, and deeply involved in our community with pursuits ranging from education to mentoring entrepreneurs. The Uprising was staged at Honey, a smart, sophisticated new bar/lounge at 16 E. Atlantic Avenue. When you walk through the doors of Honey, the first thought you have is the bar has indeed been raised in Delray. (Pun intended). The Smart Uprising event is proof that Delray has reached a new level in its development. The creative class is here and they are embracing Delray in a big, big way. As I soaked in the event at Honey; listening to a brilliant young Goldman Sachs executive speak about market opportunities and my friend Nabyl Charania, co-founder and CEO of Rokk3r Labs, discuss disruptive technologies I couldn’t help but feel energized and excited for the future. I hung out at the event with John Ferber, a super guy and a world class entrepreneur who has fallen hard for Delray; choosing our village to build more businesses and a life, with his lovely wife Jenna. A few years ago, I had the pleasure of marrying John and Jenna on the beach and was thrilled to see them put roots down in our city because I know that John and Jenna will create great things and provide opportunities and inspiration for others. On the way out, I chatted with Jeremy’s colleague Kilburn Sherman who heads the Young Professionals Association of Delray. YPAD is a group to watch, they are not only focused on growing their businesses but on a new initiative called #BekindDelray which is encouraging kindness in our community; much needed at this time. I also ran into the talented Ryan Boylston, who has a creative agency called Woo Creative and is a co-founder of The Pineapple Newspaper. He has an office on Atlantic Avenue that he is transforming into a hub for conversation and events. I also spoke with some out-of-towners who marveled at Delray’s energy and vibe. All this is not to say that we don’t have real and enduring problems and challenges to overcome. There’s still too much crime, vagrancy, drugs, poverty and lack of economic opportunity. We have educational challenges and neighborhood concerns to address. We are a diverse community and that is a real strength, but we are also segregated in so many ways. We suffer from terrible political divisiveness and sometimes the level of our debate is debilitating and dare I say less than intellectual. But…there is a youth movement in Delray and it’s not just chronological. It’s a youthful mindset, one that embraces change, community and challenge. Our host, Jeremy Office summed it up when he said he sensed a “brotherly love” taking hold in the business community; an ethos that embraces building relationships, trust and value. There is a belief that problems can be solved; opportunities can and should be created and that there is a desperate need for leadership, entrepreneurship and community. We can keep our charm and evolve. We can respect our heritage and history and still embrace change. We can welcome new people and ideas without fear and we can engage each other to solve some of our city’s pressing problems. Delray 2.0 is here and it’s a good thing.