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Building blocks of community

By March 19, 20123 Comments2 min read

Recently (the last few months), quite a bit of momentum has been building around the tech community down here in South Florida (mainly Miami). Different actors in the theater that is Miami have started to assume their roles and take part in the act that encompasses the renaissance of tech in Miami. Movement can be seen from the government, from the private investors, from the social groups, and even from the individual startups.

The next Silicon Valley?
The question over and over keeps getting asked of what are the pieces or building blocks necessary to foster the creation of a solid tech community. How can we build the next San Francisco, or Boston, or New York. Well I think those are the wrong questions, because we really can’t replicate the pieces and perfect storm that has created Silicon Valley or other tech hubs. Miami needs to create its own unique identity, and base it on the strengths and weaknesses that it has. Miami cannot replicate Stanford, MIT, NYU, or any of the other prestigious schools; Miami cannot replicate the fact that HP, or Raytheon, or Wall St don’t exist down here. So the question is not can Miami become the next Silicon Valley, but rather can Miami be the next hub for innovation and entrepreneurship this country, and region needs?

Planning the next hub
Many newcomers and old timers are asking how they can get involved in this planning. I tell them one simple way: show up. The discourse necessary to get things moving does not happen from the comfort of your home, it happens from the trenches, from the real world meetups that are already going on all around you. If you want to make a lasting impact you need to be in a position to let people put a face to your ideas. Online communities can coalesce without the need for physical meetups, but when you’ve got real money and real assets (like real estate) on the line, its impossible to make things happen purely via emails. The community leaders down here make every possible effort to include as many people as possible in the discussion, so if you’re passionate about building something down here, then make sure you show up.

The components
Every startup ecosystem has components it needs in order to thrive. These components are, in no particular order:

  • Schools
  • Space
  • Companies
  • Money
  • People

So the question is, how do we involve as many people as possible, and still maintain order and get things done, while avoiding the too many cooks in the kitchen problem. There is a great discussion going on around this topic on Quora.


  • Brian, in addtion to the components you mentioned I think it is important to consider policy, culture and demand. I really suggest the March issue of the HBR on “Reinveting America” there is a number of good educational articles about the startup ecosystem.

  • Taylor Barr says:

    Good thoughts here. We have always had the tech building blocks of community discussion up here in Raleigh-Durham North Carolina. A lot of the items you mentioned are definitely needed to accelerate and create thriving spaces to attract companies and ideas.