Does Miami need a tech ambassador?

Something that has been on my mind lately has been that of whether or not the local tech community here in South Florida, and more specifically Miami, is in need of a spokesperson. Do we need a face for tech in SFL?

Lacking any recognizable faces from successful companies here may be hampering us as there is no single person to identify the tech community with down here. California, New York, Boston, and Seattle have their “celebrity” startup founders or big tech CEOs acting as beacons and spokespeople for their communities, we unfortunately lack these assets.

So how do we solve this problem? Do we identify the leaders in each industry in tech in South Florida (healthcare, tourism, finance, etc) and push them to promote a common agenda? Do we find one person and arm him/her with a support team to coordinate our local efforts?

I believe we need a team, similar to the Beacon Council, that acts as ambassadors for tech. The role would be to bring in more companies to the area, promote the existing ones, and act on foreign trade efforts with the international markets interested in the region. This team would have to be funded by local companies, local government, and local foundations. Action items would involve promoting local companies, getting press coverage, finding biz opportunities for member companies or local companies both locally and outside the area as well.

Do you think this is viable? Who do you think would be willing to back this? This is an open discussion. Any drawbacks to this?

  • Auston Bunsen

    At face value (no pun intended), this feels too bureaucratic.

    I also feel like it’s asking the wrong question, I feel like the right question is: “How can we connect outsiders with inside information in the most efficient form?”

    There have plenty of (semi-)failed attempts. I definitely agree with you when you say “…would have to be funded by local companies, local government, and local foundations…” but I don’t think that putting all that weight behind a persons “personal brand” would be the best way to push us forward.

  • http://nobulb.com Michael Greenberg

    There needs to be a common thread of communication that everyone can buy into. Something that communicates the mission/momentum of our community. And let the community be the megaphone for that thread with each interaction they have with outsiders. 

    http://boulder.me/ is a great example of a “binding thread” that’s relatively low cost and many people reference and use in their community with outsiders.

    You and I have spoken about Refresh Miami’s role in this regard and while your push to use it as the soapbox South Florida needs is important and send a clear signal about the group’s motivations, I don’t know if we can set aside their agendas to let Refresh speak on “their” community’s behalf.

    When I look at Refresh Miami, I see a group pushing the community. I want to see the community (buy-in from local organizations and companies) pushing itself.

  • http://twitter.com/eddroid Ed Toro

    Identify a leader, then push and support him/her.
    - Who? Why? What’s in it for them?

    Identify goals, define tasks, and empower anyone in the community to step into a leadership position.
    - Why? What’s in it for them?

    Create some incentive (aka $ from companies, gov’t, and foundations) to incentivize someone to help the community accomplish goals (promoting companies, generating press, etc.)?
    - How much are we talking about? Would someone be willing to do it for that fee? Who would be responsible for collecting, administering, and distributing the cash? How much cash would be swallowed up by the bureaucracy of this organization?

    Partner with some existing organization (Beacon Council, Chamber of Commerce, etc.) to help us accomplish our goals?
    - Could they do it? Why would they do it? What’s in it for them?

  • http://www.DavideDiCillo.com Davide Di Cillo

    I don’t think these things can be created artificially. Usually these “celebrities” are so because they succeed, or were recognized by the people as successful (like Kavin Rose for San Francisco), or help consistently other people to succeed (like Fred Wilson for New York).

    If anyone from the community will have some huge success, that person will automatically seen as a local reference by the people outside this area.

  • http://carlosaordonez.com/ Carlos Ordonez

    I think what Miami needs is an independent non-competing group or forum, however you wanted to call it, organized by people that cares like you Brian, Auston, and others I include myself here, in order to facilitate and reach to those who could have a bigger influence in the community. 

    The board should be formed by a representative  from each different institution – finance, government, entrepreneurs, and Universities. Many of them already are working towards supporting the tech cause in Miami. Instead of working as silo, a united front could be more effective.