If you are an active member of the Miami "tech" community, one of the issues that you constantly hear complaints about from other startup leaders, as well as investors, is that their is a "lack of talent" in our city when compared to other leading tech cities from around the world.
In our company, Senzari, we are working on some really complex graph computing and AI problems to recommend music and movies in a real-time and contextual manner, some of which require individuals with advanced educational and work experience, and we definitely have felt the pain of recruiting the right candidates locally. We are trying to work closely with local educational institutions to solve this issue, but is a long term process and like any startup, we can't wait.
We are also seeing that the few "A" players that graduate locally are leaving to San Francisco or New York, as here they feel alone in the context of broader community. Being in the only "expert in town"
sounds very prestigious, but in the volatile world of startups, it creates job security concerns (hard to find similar work) and lack of professional networking opportunities. For example, if you look at job postings for "machine learning" jobs in Mountain View, New York and San Francisco, you get 30, 78 and 72 respectively. In Miami, ZERO.
So, what do we do in Senzari to make up for this? I personally travel to every corner of the world to network and meet the most amazing minds I can find. Then, I invite them to Miami to enjoy the city and work with my team. Some of them do so as consultants, some as friends, and some do it because they are just nuts like us. By doing this, I believe that my team feels pretty connected to the world. Even from our cool, but humble, Brickell Key office, our team can work closely with amazing engineers and executives from global companies such as Viacom, Arago, Comcast, Fon, Mozilla, etc.
But, as leaders of this community, I think it is time to take it to the next level and help share some of this amazing network with the broader community. So we have partnered with our friends from LAB Miami to create what we call the Knowledge MIA Series, which are a series of workshops to help expand the depth of knowledge and network of our technology community by bringing rockstar entrepreneurs, engineers and scientists to Miami so they can share their insights and engage on hands-on exercises with attendees. The idea is that not only you get to listen to them, but you actually get to work with them for a few hours and connect personally in order to build a relationship that may be leveraged in the future. This is how we will help you "connect the dots".
The first Knowledge MIA full-day workshop will take place this month, on July 29th, and to prove how ambitious we are about it, we are bringing Marko Rodriguez, one of the world's leading experts in graph computing, whose job consists of helping leading organizations understand the graph space and apply its ecosystem of technologies to solving real-world problems. Marko holds a PhD from the University of California at Santa Cruz and past work experience includes AT&T Interactive, where he was a graph systems architect, and five years at the Los Alamos National Laboratory.
Who should attend?
I would say that anyone interested in "Big Data", or learning how, for example, Facebook Graph Search works by leveraging their innovative Open Graph architecture, needs to attend. Or maybe you can come to learn how to add features like LinkedIn or Twitter's people suggestion to your service. Graphs are also used to optimize telecommunication networks, make movie recommendations, increase e-commerce sales, target advertising, find cures for cancer, etc.
So, if you are an investor, CEO, CTO, CFO, or even an epidemiologist, spending a day understanding how graphs can help you solve almost any real-world problem is time well spent. In my case, it has changed how I view the technology landscape, and it is of no surprise that this is the space where Facebook, Twitter and Google are years ahead of everyone else, and employ some of the most active contributors to the space.
I believe that by the end of the day, you will probably see a wide range of opportunities where graph technologies can give you and edge over the competition. You can even bring your own data set, and we will try to show you how you can solve a problem you are having by "walking the graph". We call it "BYOD" or Bring Your Own Data :)
To learn more and sign up, please visit http://graphcomputing.eventbrite.com/. For a 25 percent discount for Starting Gate readers, the discount code is heraldgraphs.
Demian Bellumio is COO of Senzari. Follow him on Twitter @bellumio