The Future of Tech in South Florida

By August 24, 2009 Miami 37 Comments

A couple weeks ago my friend Alex De Carvalho wrote a great piece about the history of the tech community in Miami over the last few years. He isn’t the only one in South Florida who has been extolling the virtues of our blossoming community, my friend Craig Agranoff the pizza expert also wrote about the community down here a few months back. This got me thinking: what do we need to take the community to the next level? Can Miami and South Florida make it to the next level where it doesn’t need tireless community organizers like AlexDC and myself?

What is it going to take to make Miami the Silicon Beach we need it to become? It’s going to require a lot of money, time, space, energy, and dedication. It’s also going to need a space to revolve around, an incubator/coworking facility/meeting space etc.

Key things that I see being necessary to make this happen:

  1. Support from the local government
    1. That means getting the mayor and others to invest some money in order to spur the local economy. This is about bringing businesses to the city that employ people. That in turn leads to tax revenue.
  2. Support from local businesses
    1. We need companies to be willing to sponsor the space/effort, put up money for events, hire companies from the area, and provide marketing support, etc.
  3. Support from individuals/entrepreneurs
    1. People need to be willing to get out of their home-offices, get off their couches, and rally behind the space/concept.
    2. People need to bring their laptops, their energy, their enthusiasm, and their ideas.
  4. Support from investors
    1. Every investor is looking for deal flow. A central hub would expose them to what’s around here every day.
  5. Support from the community/groups
    1. At the moment there is very little collaboration between social groups in South Florida, which is very much a reflection of how individuals in South Florida self-segregate into their respective cliques. But to succeed, these groups will need to rally together for the good of the whole.
  6. Support from the media
    1. We need to get coverage for these companies

So are these things possible in South Florida? I sure hope so. I’m very interested in making this happen. Much of this stems from my idea of turning Coconut Grove into a tech hub, which I wrote about a few months ago. I still consider the Grove the best location for this type of endeavor to come together.

How can you help? Tweet about this, comment, share this with friends, colleagues, etc. Let’s use the power of social media to get the ball rolling on an idea like this. This is more than an individual part of the city; this is about a movement. A movement to bring forward thinking, innovating, enterprising people to South Florida.  Our future as a city and a region is dependent on fostering the innovation that will fuel the economy locally, regionally, and internationally. There is no compelling reason why we can’t be the innovation capital of Latin America and the South East.

Throughout this week I will be expanding on each of these points, presenting solutions and ideas for each one.

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

    A first step could be to help the Florida’s tech scene being appreciated outside our little nook.

    SXSW could be a big window for us, so please help South Florida panels to be pick voting for them
    Here’s a list with all the South Florida panels i could find: http://www.davidedicillo.com/social/sofla-at-sxsw/

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

    A first step could be to help the Florida’s tech scene being appreciated outside our little nook.

    SXSW could be a big window for us, so please help South Florida panels to be pick voting for them
    Here’s a list with all the South Florida panels i could find: http://www.davidedicillo.com/social/sofla-at-sxsw/

  • Tom

    A lot of enterprising people are already in South Florida. Boca Raton-based Vicor Technologies is commercializing a quick, highly-sensitive test to predict heart attacks, and their technology far outshines their competition.

  • Tom

    A lot of enterprising people are already in South Florida. Boca Raton-based Vicor Technologies is commercializing a quick, highly-sensitive test to predict heart attacks, and their technology far outshines their competition.

  • http://wilywordsmith.blogspot.com/ Vicequeenmaria

    We need to reach out to people who are *not* in our little tech community. Many out there are closed to social media, which of course I am always evangelizing about. I’m going to post this on the forums at Miami Beach 411.

    We do have a vital, exciting seed community here. And you’re right, it’s time to take it to the next level.

  • http://wilywordsmith.blogspot.com Vicequeenmaria

    We need to reach out to people who are *not* in our little tech community. Many out there are closed to social media, which of course I am always evangelizing about. I’m going to post this on the forums at Miami Beach 411.

    We do have a vital, exciting seed community here. And you’re right, it’s time to take it to the next level.

  • http://www.smlatam.com/ Christian Lisogorsky

    We have to leverage on existing companies based on SF. There are +1000 hq for Latam. Reach out to people outside of the tech and social media spectrum and invite them to join the community.
    Social Media and tech are not a fad, more $ are generated every minute by technology and in 3 years Social Media ad investment will reach $3B

  • http://www.smlatam.com Christian Lisogorsky

    We have to leverage on existing companies based on SF. There are +1000 hq for Latam. Reach out to people outside of the tech and social media spectrum and invite them to join the community.
    Social Media and tech are not a fad, more $ are generated every minute by technology and in 3 years Social Media ad investment will reach $3B

  • http://infinimedia.com/ Brian Breslin

    @Tom, traditionally down here we’ve had a ton of support for biotech initiatives, but not the rest of tech (info, computer, robotics, web, etc.) Rich old people fuel the biotech industry in boca.

    @maria i agree 100%, but the key to reaching those outside our community is to get support from groups that overlap our community and the rest (gov, media, etc.)

    @christian I agree, but most of these company HQ are insular and not realizing who else is here and who they can do business with. This is due to lack of any simple way for them to discover each other.

  • http://infinimedia.com Brian Breslin

    @Tom, traditionally down here we’ve had a ton of support for biotech initiatives, but not the rest of tech (info, computer, robotics, web, etc.) Rich old people fuel the biotech industry in boca.

    @maria i agree 100%, but the key to reaching those outside our community is to get support from groups that overlap our community and the rest (gov, media, etc.)

    @christian I agree, but most of these company HQ are insular and not realizing who else is here and who they can do business with. This is due to lack of any simple way for them to discover each other.

  • auston

    Overall I think there is not enough talent to support this kind of growth – a bunch of “Business Guy”s hiring freelance from the rest of the country will never lead to that.

    It’s important that talent pools together to create & marketing one particular company / product that becomes so large that it becomes it’s own small economy.

  • auston

    Overall I think there is not enough talent to support this kind of growth – a bunch of “Business Guy”s hiring freelance from the rest of the country will never lead to that.

    It’s important that talent pools together to create & marketing one particular company / product that becomes so large that it becomes it’s own small economy.

  • http://infinimedia.com/ Brian Breslin

    @auston I disagree. There is talent, there are like 5 million people in greater south florida. Its a matter of making it easy for them to move from company to company and exposing them to the opportunities. In california thats how it works, there is always another company looking for talent, and they all know it. So ideas get spread from company to company easily.

    I agree 100% with the small economy idea though. But that is a much tougher thing to accomplish. Though i disagree with pushing 1 single company, there are a few multi billion $ companies down here in tech (citrix for one), but they don’t support the local community much.

  • http://infinimedia.com Brian Breslin

    @auston I disagree. There is talent, there are like 5 million people in greater south florida. Its a matter of making it easy for them to move from company to company and exposing them to the opportunities. In california thats how it works, there is always another company looking for talent, and they all know it. So ideas get spread from company to company easily.

    I agree 100% with the small economy idea though. But that is a much tougher thing to accomplish. Though i disagree with pushing 1 single company, there are a few multi billion $ companies down here in tech (citrix for one), but they don’t support the local community much.

  • http://www.modulism.com/ Claudio Luís Vera (@modulist)

    I’ve seen it done it Boston: they simply got a few interactive shops together and declared the Fort Point Channel area to be the “Cyberdistrict”. They held monthly meetings and issued press releases.

    With social media we can do so much more.

    It’s just a matter of planting a flag and saying “it’s here”, very loudly.

  • http://www.modulism.com Claudio Luís Vera (@modulist)

    I’ve seen it done it Boston: they simply got a few interactive shops together and declared the Fort Point Channel area to be the “Cyberdistrict”. They held monthly meetings and issued press releases.

    With social media we can do so much more.

    It’s just a matter of planting a flag and saying “it’s here”, very loudly.

  • http://twitter.com/mylifeandart Irina Patterson

    Thank you, Brian. I suggest we start with #3. Anyone got an idea for a profitable business? I’d be glad to set up a panel to validate your idea and help you along. Today, you don’t need millions to launch a successful business, you need an idea, great mentors and hard work. If you got any ideas & desire to work hard, I will find you mentors. I already mentor a few people in Miami and they can tell you: I mean business and I am tough! (LOL)

  • http://twitter.com/mylifeandart Irina Patterson

    Thank you, Brian. I suggest we start with #3. Anyone got an idea for a profitable business? I’d be glad to set up a panel to validate your idea and help you along. Today, you don’t need millions to launch a successful business, you need an idea, great mentors and hard work. If you got any ideas & desire to work hard, I will find you mentors. I already mentor a few people in Miami and they can tell you: I mean business and I am tough! (LOL)

  • http://twitter.com/mylifeandart Irina Patterson

    To add to my previous comment, here is a primer on how to get ideas for a profitable star-up that everyone would want to support: http://paulgraham.com/ideas.html

  • http://twitter.com/mylifeandart Irina Patterson

    To add to my previous comment, here is a primer on how to get ideas for a profitable star-up that everyone would want to support: http://paulgraham.com/ideas.html

  • http://sophisticatedfinance.typepad.com/ Robert Hacker

    Available capital particularly for seed stage deals is a critical need. Better quality university involvement in the tech seen here would also help. This post on the new Florida Growth Fund may be of interest http://bit.ly/zFzC9

  • http://sophisticatedfinance.typepad.com Robert Hacker

    Available capital particularly for seed stage deals is a critical need. Better quality university involvement in the tech seen here would also help. This post on the new Florida Growth Fund may be of interest http://bit.ly/zFzC9

  • http://www.venmarkmedia.com/ claudio alegre

    It’s slowly growing Brian, and I agree that there needs to be a strong local push, at a steady pace.

    Having new faces show up is critical, and that’s up to us. Raising awareness is totally grassroots and it starts with the business community, our friends and clients.

    Other cities have done it…we have the talent pool, no reason we can’t!

    Great piece, thanks :)

  • http://www.venmarkmedia.com claudio alegre

    It’s slowly growing Brian, and I agree that there needs to be a strong local push, at a steady pace.

    Having new faces show up is critical, and that’s up to us. Raising awareness is totally grassroots and it starts with the business community, our friends and clients.

    Other cities have done it…we have the talent pool, no reason we can’t!

    Great piece, thanks :)

  • http://www.cyloop.com/ Ed Toro

    Support from local schools. We can’t always depend on out-of-state transplants and self-taught engineers to keep feeding the movement. We need to start growing our own techies. Where have UM, FIU, Nova, and MDC been during all this? Who’s teaching the engineering and computer science courses around here?

  • http://www.cyloop.com Ed Toro

    Support from local schools. We can’t always depend on out-of-state transplants and self-taught engineers to keep feeding the movement. We need to start growing our own techies. Where have UM, FIU, Nova, and MDC been during all this? Who’s teaching the engineering and computer science courses around here?

  • http://pulsosocial.com/ Andres Barreto

    We should follow some of the initiatives done in several parts of Latin America like Palermo Valley in Argentina, Lima Valley in Perú, and Tequila Valley in México. Plus some extra features. Ill specify:

    #1, Highlight/profile local startups in a centralized location (launch WP-blog) <- this will give us a tool from promotion of our talent, becoming the first platform for a local startup to receive press and recognition.
    #2. Host startup specific events: Networking / DemoDay / 3-min pitch
    #4. Work together with entrepreneurship centers from the universities. CEI from FIU for example.

    I can help you with all 3, I know its easy to give ideas/criticism but harder to implement.

  • http://pulsosocial.com Andres Barreto

    We should follow some of the initiatives done in several parts of Latin America like Palermo Valley in Argentina, Lima Valley in Perú, and Tequila Valley in México. Plus some extra features. Ill specify:

    #1, Highlight/profile local startups in a centralized location (launch WP-blog) <- this will give us a tool from promotion of our talent, becoming the first platform for a local startup to receive press and recognition.
    #2. Host startup specific events: Networking / DemoDay / 3-min pitch
    #4. Work together with entrepreneurship centers from the universities. CEI from FIU for example.

    I can help you with all 3, I know its easy to give ideas/criticism but harder to implement.

  • http://twitter.com/mylifeandart Irina Patterson

    What I would like to see more at our South Florida techie meet-ups is a serious talks about seriously profitable business ideas.

    A good business ideas is solid and good when it can be validated using this or similar framework: http://bit.ly/2Vtm7z

    My background is in corporate tech PR http://thepengroup.com and I talked to a number of business and academic leaders in this community about the future of tech in South Florida.

    I don’t think that an incubator would solve the problem. We need to be more serious about generating and validating our ideas.

    Good ideas can be executed in a garage, at home, on the street. And angel support is always available for great ideas.

    Validate your ideas using this frame work: http://bit.ly/2Vtm7z and I will personally help you to present them to Beacon Council http://www.beaconcouncil.com or at The Launch Pad of UM http://www.thelaunchpad.org/ or FIU Global Entrepreneurship Center http://www.entrepreneurship.fiu.edu/ and, most importantly, I will help you to seek mentors who succeeded in Silicon Valley at similar businesses.

    Once you start validating your ideas using this framework: http://bit.ly/2Vtm7z you will, hopefully, be on the your way to a great idea. If you are serious, I am here to help.

    Best way to reach me is at @mylifeandart or come and I am at the most meet-ups.

  • http://twitter.com/mylifeandart Irina Patterson

    What I would like to see more at our South Florida techie meet-ups is a serious talks about seriously profitable business ideas.

    A good business ideas is solid and good when it can be validated using this or similar framework: http://bit.ly/2Vtm7z

    My background is in corporate tech PR http://thepengroup.com and I talked to a number of business and academic leaders in this community about the future of tech in South Florida.

    I don’t think that an incubator would solve the problem. We need to be more serious about generating and validating our ideas.

    Good ideas can be executed in a garage, at home, on the street. And angel support is always available for great ideas.

    Validate your ideas using this frame work: http://bit.ly/2Vtm7z and I will personally help you to present them to Beacon Council http://www.beaconcouncil.com or at The Launch Pad of UM http://www.thelaunchpad.org/ or FIU Global Entrepreneurship Center http://www.entrepreneurship.fiu.edu/ and, most importantly, I will help you to seek mentors who succeeded in Silicon Valley at similar businesses.

    Once you start validating your ideas using this framework: http://bit.ly/2Vtm7z you will, hopefully, be on the your way to a great idea. If you are serious, I am here to help.

    Best way to reach me is at @mylifeandart or come and I am at the most meet-ups.