Try 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!