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Home » web news

South Florida Has No Tech Community?

Submitted by Craig Agranoff on Thursday, 26 March 2009 22 Comments

alex de carvalhoBrian BreslinTry telling that to the over 100 tech attendees last night at Refresh Miami. It is getting tiresome hearing people make comments like “South Florida has no quality Tech people”. As someone who has been around the country, making presentations, and attending dozens of tech events, I am not sure of many cities outside of the major San Francisco, NYC, Austin areas who have more quality.

The South Florida community is lucky to have members like Alex de Carvalho (and his blue eyes), Brian Breslin, Rick Tuttle, Yvette Ferry, and many others (who if I left out, I am truly sorry, it wasn’t on purpose) who are truly trying to make a difference down here. Planning these tech events isn’t a rewarding experience, and the organizers are not doing it for the money. They are doing it for their love of the peers, and the people who make up the community. Yet many of us just sit back and attend these events, and eat the food, and drink the beer, without actually offering anything to make our community stronger. Several events, the organizers have actually had to spend their own money supporting, just so we all had a good time. If everyone who attends these free events would make the most minuscule effort to contribute their time and promote South Florida events on the social platforms they use, then we would quickly see attendance double and triple. Another way to show your support is by helping find sponsors, or just sponsor the event yourself, such as we did last night. Just look at BarCamp Miami this year. There were almost as many attendees at this event, as were at a major draw like FOWA.

Now let’s talk about the local news organizations. At each event I go to, I notice that there are some folks walking around with VOIS name stickers saying they are from the Miami Herald, Sun Sentinel, and Palm Beach Post. Giving some coverage before and after the gatherings would also help our events get more sponsors from companies who would like to see their names in the articles, and help us throw bigger events, with more food, and everything that comes along with having a higher budget. It is amazing to me that these journalists are even attending our events and mingling with us, it would be awesome to see them help us grow!

I was happy to hear that South Florida is having Laidoffcamp, and FreelancerCamp events in the near future. For a location that has no Tech Community, we have BarCamp, FOWA, Refresh Miami, Social Media Club of South Florida, Tweetups, DrupalCon, and probably dozens I am missing. Not bad for No Tech Talent! Let us not forget, the tech companies also in South Florida. Websites like Multiply, Motorguru, and VOIS, originated out of Boca Raton. Yes that is right, Boca Raton has web companies that are growing and hiring! It might be enlightening to point out, that Boca Raton also has some major interactive agencies as well! Wake Interactive, and MDG just to name a couple. This is just Boca Raton, imagine all the amazing companies in West Palm Beach, Fort Lauderdale, and Miami. Here is a list of 100 other tech companies in South Florida click here.

What does all this mean? It means South Florida has a thriving Tech Community, made up of some of the finest talent in the world. Little by little more of these incredibly talented individuals are starting to learn about tech events and attending them. Tell your friends, and co-workers about these events, the bigger our community gets the more likely National companies will seek out local talent. SXSW did not start off with 10k attendees, it started off with a few hundred just like we are. Doesn’t it seem odd some local companies fly to Austin to meet fellow tekkies, but don’t come to local events? This is most likely due to the fact that they just don’t know!

I would like to thank Owen O’Malley from U star Videos for taking the video shown above from last night!


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  • http://jobs.linkablez.info/2009/03/26/south-florida-has-no-tech-community/ Topics about Jobs » Archive » South Florida Has No Tech Community?

    [...] sCommerce The Social Commerce Social Sourcing Space placed an observative post today on South Florida Has No Tech Community?Here’s a quick excerptTry telling that to the over 100 tech attendees last night at Refresh Miami. It is getting tiresome hearing people make comments like √¢‚Ǩ≈ìSouth Florida has no quality Tech people√¢‚Ǩ¬ù. As someone who has been around the country, making presentations, and attending dozens of tech events, I am not sure of many cities outside of the major San Francisco, NYC, Austin areas who have more quality. The South Florida community is lucky to have members like Alex de Carvalho (and his blue eyes), Brian Bres [...]

  • http://ustarvideos.wordpress.com Owen O'Malley

    Craig…great post. You guys did a great job last night at Refresh Miami…love that you are getting the word out there and thanks…for including the video.

  • http://www.pocarles.com Pierre-Olivier Carles

    Hi “tech” Folks,

    I'm coming from France (where there's no “tech” Community either) and let me tell you that, since I've been here, I've met great “tech” people working on amazing “tech” projects.

    Just a couple of days after moving in South Florida, in December 2008, I had a bunch of meetings with friendly, entrepreneur and smart “tech” people, one of the warmest “tech” welcome I ever had.

    We're in March 2009 and a “tech” company I'm creating right now with a “tech” guy living in Miami (South Florida) will hire – we hope so – many other “tech” guys right here to run innovative “tech” projects from the East Coast. The “tech” coming out should happen soon ;-)

    So the “tech” alien I am can highly confirm that there's a great “tech” community here and I'm very sad to have missed, once again, Refresh Miami, a cool “tech” event of many other cool and dynamic ones.

    Great “tech” post Craig !

    PS : My English is not really good but putting more than 14 “tech” in my text was done on purpose ;-)

  • http://www.twitter.com/loritodd Lori Todd

    I'm a Miami Herald designer who was at my first Refresh last night. I had a great time and hope to continue to attend these events and take part in the community itself. But, I can't help but feel a tiny but unwelcomed. There was an off-hand comment made last night in regards to the Herald, and while I can't the person for saying it, it felt like a slap in the face.

    While I understand the gripes that many of you have with the lack of coverage the tech community gets in mainstream media, I am not a content producer or editor. I have a limited role in what actually is written for our website and newspaper, as do some of the other newspaper employees who attended last night. That said, I am a journalist. As more of us tech-friendly journalists take part in the community, it is likely that we will speak on behalf of the tech community to our editors. And that can't hurt, can it? I can't, however, make excuses on the part of my publication for having failed to cover previous events.

  • http://www.worstpizza.com Craig (lapp)

    Lori!
    Although I wasn't the person who made that herald comment or an event organizer, just a sponsor this time I think I can speak for everyone in saying we love having you at the events. You are a web designer first and foremost and it is irrelevant where you work!

    Seems like there is a lot of frustration as you have noted with the tech coverage in south Florida. This has nothing to do with a designer! Obviously an issue with the local reporters who fail to realize the importance of the tech events. Their counterparts in cities like nyc, San fran and Austin have found it to be more relevant and helped build their local economy and personal name.

    I think it would be great for you to speak at the next event and tell everyone your feelings that you just want to come to events and have fun and not be judged or labeled! You are a designer!! And you want to learn just as much as the next person!!

  • http://www.worstpizza.com Craig (lapp)

    Thanks for videotaping it owen. More local events should use you!!

  • http://www.twitter.com/loritodd Lori Todd

    Thanks Craig. I am a print and graphics designer here in the newsroom, but I am first and foremost, a journalist. Perhaps I took things a bit too personally, but it is hard to separate my internet and journalism identities, as I see them becoming intertwined more and more.

    I am pleasantly surprised to have found a thriving tech community, having returned to South Florida after the past three years elsewhere. I look forward to future events and friendships with all of you.

  • Pablo

    Hi,

    I am looking into moving to Miami very soon and as part of the process, I've been searching online job boards. I am a senior web developer and I don't find many jobs in the area, even less that require experience and that are willing to pay it, so from the outside perspective it really feels as if there is no strong tech movement.

    I am sure once there I will try to join the tech community.

  • http://www.worstpizza.com Craig (lapp)

    You will not find a more open, warm, and happy to help tech crowd around! Look forward to having you a part of this community!

  • http://www.worstpizza.com Craig (lapp)

    It is important to not Lori, that you are not there as a journalist though, but that you are just attending as another member of the tech world, who wants to learn and socialize with people with the same interests as you! You shouldn't have to almost worry that by putting Miami Herald on your beautiful VOIS name sticker that you will be looked down upon!

  • http://www.infinimedia.com brbreslin

    Pablo, there are definitely jobs down here for web developers. You just have to look around. We are working on building a better system for exposing those jobs to our members at refreshmiami, but just serarch web developer miami on indeed.com or simplyhired.com

  • http://www.infinimedia.com brbreslin

    Lori,
    I am sorry that someone made a comment that upset you. I think lots of web people in the crowd feel shunned by the Herald or old media in general. I guarantee you it was nothing personal. I think what we really need is more journalists covering the local tech community on their own blogs/on their own terms.

  • http://alexdc.org Alex de Carvalho

    Hi Lori,

    I'd like to thank you for participating in RefreshMiami last night, where you're more than welcome! I hope you enjoyed meeting the community; everyone's very friendly and warm.

    I met your colleagues over dinner after Refresh and we had a chance to clarify our views. I apologize I put you off by saying the bloggers and twitterers in the room have greater reach than the Herald. With a print circulation of about 200k, the people at last night's meetup are probably collectively reaching more people online across the multiple social media they use. They don't have the same reach as the online version of the Herald, although RefreshMiami's total membership may.

    The point of this off-hand statement was to highlight that since our local mainstream media are not covering the tech scene, we'd better do it ourselves. Makes sense, right?

    When the local mainstream media becomes interested in the tech activity in South Florida, the members of RefreshMiami will point them to dozens of startups and hundreds of entrepreneurs, freelancers, and independent consultants working on interesting new businesses. These entrepreneurs and startups will certainly benefit from having a light shined on them from time to time to get exposure to new resources and sources of financing. It will make a huge difference … when the day comes. By the way, many of these ventures create new jobs for others.

    South Florida is well known for certain industries, many of which have historically received enormous support from the local government as well as ample coverage in the press. These include the Real Estate, Construction, Banking, Trade, Tourism, and Healthcare industries.

    Should we not dream that one day South Florida will be known as Silicon Beach (rather than silicone beach) … and that the press will one day cover the tech scene?

    In the meantime, I hope you and your colleagues will participate at the various events and local user groups that have been set up. Who knows, you may in time start up a new online venture yourself?

    -Alex

  • http://www.twitter.com/loritodd Lori Todd

    Thanks, Alex. I was at the dinner and heard the start of the conversation. I have to say that I am worried this is being blown a tad out of proportion. However, please don't feel like I was trying to call you out. There were a few other tiny comments that led to me feeling as I did. At this point, I'd love to put the past in the past so I can look forward to the next Refresh! I realize that the comments were not meant in a harmful nature (at all!) and really weren't pointed at me or my coworkers, but rather towards the newspaper in general.

    Like I said, I am enthused to have have found the tech community thriving, because when I three years ago, it was very bare. I hope that by attending more of these, I can network and learn a lot for myself (outside of journalism) and hopefully take some of this knowledge and apply it in the newsroom.

  • http://www.worstpizza.com Craig (lapp)

    I think it would be great to give them some time during a future event to talk about the tech stuff they do at the papers!

  • http://www.infinimedia.com brbreslin

    Pablo, there are definitely jobs down here for web developers. You just have to look around. We are working on building a better system for exposing those jobs to our members at refreshmiami, but just serarch web developer miami on indeed.com or simplyhired.com

  • http://www.infinimedia.com brbreslin

    Lori,
    I am sorry that someone made a comment that upset you. I think lots of web people in the crowd feel shunned by the Herald or old media in general. I guarantee you it was nothing personal. I think what we really need is more journalists covering the local tech community on their own blogs/on their own terms.

  • http://alexdc.org Alex de Carvalho

    Hi Lori,

    I'd like to thank you for participating in RefreshMiami last night, where you're more than welcome! I hope you enjoyed meeting the community; everyone's very friendly and warm.

    I met your colleagues over dinner after Refresh and we had a chance to clarify our views. I apologize I put you off by saying the bloggers and twitterers in the room have greater reach than the Herald. With a print circulation of about 200k, the people at last night's meetup are probably collectively reaching more people online across the multiple social media they use. They don't have the same reach as the online version of the Herald, although RefreshMiami's total membership may.

    The point of this off-hand statement was to highlight that since our local mainstream media are not covering the tech scene, we'd better do it ourselves. Makes sense, right?

    When the local mainstream media becomes interested in the tech activity in South Florida, the members of RefreshMiami will point them to dozens of startups and hundreds of entrepreneurs, freelancers, and independent consultants working on interesting new businesses. These entrepreneurs and startups will certainly benefit from having a light shined on them from time to time to get exposure to new resources and sources of financing. It will make a huge difference … when the day comes. By the way, many of these ventures create new jobs for others.

    South Florida is well known for certain industries, many of which have historically received enormous support from the local government as well as ample coverage in the press. These include the Real Estate, Construction, Banking, Trade, Tourism, and Healthcare industries.

    Should we not dream that one day South Florida will be known as Silicon Beach (rather than silicone beach) … and that the press will one day cover the tech scene?

    In the meantime, I hope you and your colleagues will participate at the various events and local user groups that have been set up. Who knows, you may in time start up a new online venture yourself?

    -Alex

  • http://www.sensonize.com/posts-about-technology-as-of-march-27-2009/ Posts about technology as of March 27, 2009 | Sensonize.com – Make Money Online, Blogging Tips and Reviews

    [...] developer Crytek played at GDC, showcasing the new engine. Click here to read the full article South Florida Has No Tech Community? – scommerce.com 03/26/2009 Try telling that to the over 100 strong class=keywordtech/strong [...]

  • http://www.twitter.com/loritodd Lori Todd

    Thanks, Alex. I was at the dinner and heard the start of the conversation. I have to say that I am worried this is being blown a tad out of proportion. However, please don't feel like I was trying to call you out. There were a few other tiny comments that led to me feeling as I did. At this point, I'd love to put the past in the past so I can look forward to the next Refresh! I realize that the comments were not meant in a harmful nature (at all!) and really weren't pointed at me or my coworkers, but rather towards the newspaper in general.

    Like I said, I am enthused to have have found the tech community thriving, because when I three years ago, it was very bare. I hope that by attending more of these, I can network and learn a lot for myself (outside of journalism) and hopefully take some of this knowledge and apply it in the newsroom.

  • http://www.worstpizza.com Craig (lapp)

    I think it would be great to give them some time during a future event to talk about the tech stuff they do at the papers!

  • http://alexdc.org/2009/07/retrospective-of-south-floridas-startup-community.html Retrospective of South Florida’s startup community

    [...] development of our vibrant community of new media professionals√Ǭ† (see Craig’s post: “South Florida has no tech community?“). These include RefreshMiami, BarCamp Miami, Mobile Monday Miami, and Social Media Club [...]