Neil Tambe

I'm a Detroiter who happens to enjoy writing, national parks, orange juice, the performing arts, and fanciful socks. More than anything though, I aspire to be a good husband, father, and citizen.

Detroiters, what do you make?

I make ideas, connections between communities, slam poems, and pancakes. Detroit, what do you make? ---

BERLIN, GERMANY - In the short time I've been here, I've come to realize that Berlin was Detroit before Detroit was Detroit. We have many lessons to learn from Berlin, but it comes down to this: Make Something.

Berlin has a distinct culture, for the same reason that any city has a culture, people have agency and create things - whether it's art, food, businesses, or ideas. As people here have gone out and just created, it's turned Berlin into a vibrant, international, hard-working, party-all-night, entrepreneurial city. It's really an amazing place.

I'm not suggesting we try to make Detroit to look and feel like Berlin. What I am suggesting though is that we focus on making and creating, because that's the only way cultures form - when passionate people go out, do what their heart desires, share their experiences, and learn from other people.

Right now, in my opinion, the culture of Detroit is more consuming than it is creating. There are a small group of people creating valuable products and experiences and many more people free-riding and consuming them. That's fine for a time, but the city will never grow if we consume more awesome things than we create.

We have no other choice by to make things. Working a 9-5 job and calling it a day doesn't count because those profits and value gets extracted by a private entity...there's ever any spillover to the community.

So my fellow Detroiters, I think it's time we stopped trying to do the next big thing and just started created something by following our hearts and sticking with it. Who cares if it'll get press or get big accolades. Let's just make something that represents who we are and what we care about.

So, I ask again, what do you make?