What Happened to LittleHavanaGuide.com?

You may have arrived here expecting to find LittleHavanaGuide.com, a very comprehensive online guide to Little Havana that I launched in 2011. LittleHavanaGuide.com now leads to PeoplePlaceConnect.com.

Why?

The quick answer is because it is impossible for me to keep updating it. As with any city guide, the need for revision is constant — especially when information is online. Businesses close, businesses open, addresses change. New articles must be posted to keep the content fresh.

Plus, I launched my site using the CSS (Content Management System) Drupal, which is the powerhouse of CSS but not very user friendly. I was always dependent on an outside contractor for fixes to the technical issues with the site, and those issues kept coming up. I am most definitely a convert to WordPress, the CSS I am using for this site.

Although I have enjoyed being able to provide information about my beloved neighborhood, I realized that I was spending many, many hours — on a volunteer basis — updating the site, preparing the weekly e-newsletter, gathering content, editing content. It was a labor of love, because I only had one active advertiser. I discovered I do not like to sell online ads, either (so much for that revenue model!).

I was constantly updating LittleHavanaGuide.com’s Facebook page, too, and Twitter, but to the point where I constantly felt I must document, document, document — share, share, share. My own experience of this place was being affected by my constant sense of obligation to “report.”

While spending hours on LittleHavanaGuide.com, I was also serving as a volunteer board member of the Little Havana Merchant Alliance and Viernes Culturales, Little Havana’s monthly arts and culture festival. These commitments are very important to me: I do not want to give them up. I was accepted as a board member of the Urban Environment League but had to resign because I was spending more of my time on volunteer activities than on the work that paid my bills.

With all these activities, moreover, on top of my tour and consulting work, I was sacrificing the time I wanted and needed to do the writing I love best. I wanted to write from a personal perspective. I wanted the time to work on my two book projects, which I was constantly having to relegate to the back burner. My calling to do the writing I truly love was tugging at me, constantly.

I also wanted time to further develop the workshops I was planning to launch in 2013.

When did I sign up to be the “updater”? I had put myself in this position out of a sense of obligation to my neighborhood. Now the responsibility was weighing on me. I honestly felt like a slave to it.

I think my sentiments represent a normal burnout experienced by entrepreneurs who can lift an idea into flight, and work for many hundreds of hours (or days) on a project (as I did for LittleHavanaGuide) in the process of getting it off the ground, but who squirm at the thought of being the operations person who manages it day to day. We are idea people.

I recall a conversation a dear friend of mine, a very successful entrepreneur who has launched numerous businesses. When he was in his twenties, he sold his business to a major Web company for millions, and then accepted a VP position. He hated it.

“Corinna, I like to launch things,” I remember him saying. “I’m not a corporate person. I’m feeling stir crazy.” He eventually left the company to start more businesses and get into venture capitalism.

As a social entrepreneur, I thrive on being able to use my creativity. My spirit is also fed by the comfort that I am making a difference through my work.

During the last few months, however, I had to admit to myself that while I was providing a valuable service to those who wanted to learn more about what was going on in the neighborhood, I was also holding myself back from other callings, callings that could perhaps have an even greater impact on my neighborhood and beyond.

The catalyst for my decision about what to do with LittleHavanaGuide.com arrived on the morning of Monday, February 11th, on the first day of the Knight Foundation’s Media Learning Seminar. I was browsing the vendor displays when I came across the booth for Local Wiki. The founder was there, speaking with another attendee of the conference, so I went off to find coffee.

I returned, and I’m glad I did, because I learned that LocalWiki is an effort “to create community-owned, living information repositories that provide much-needed context behind the people, places and events that shape our local communities.”

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