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Seen and heard at SIME MIA

South Florida’s tech community and what it needs created lots of buzz at SIME MIA. Here are a few snippets. What's your view? 

Shel Israel, co-author of Age of Context: Miami, you don’t have to be like Silicon Valley. Be yourself, it’s a pretty cool place.

Salim Ismael, Singularity University: Everyone wants an innovation ecosystem, but no one wants to take a risk. In many parts of the world if you build a business and it fails, you are called a failure. In Silicon Valley, when you build a business and it fails, we call it experience…. I want to create an awards ceremony in Miami for the people who take the biggest risks and give them a prize, put them on TV.

Paul Walborsky, Gigaom: Talent. You need visionaries, designers and engineers. That’s the most important part of the equation but you have to support that with capital… Make it a place where Latin American capital can come and invest in startups…I would find what makes the talent special here. If it’s design, make it design. What makes Miami special, and focus on nurturing that talent.

Lori Anne Wardi, .CO Internet: People need to recognize that South Florida has far more to offer than beautiful  beaches, great good. … There is incredible energy, not only are people moving here but coming back. We need some spiritual figureheads, we need some cheerleaders.

Christian Hernandez, White Star Capital: Is the mayor here, how about free office space for entrepreneurs?

Boris Hirmas Said, Miami Dade College Entrepreneur in Residence: We need more points of encounter for the talent. We have plenty of talent but they haven’t all met each other.

Matt Haggman, Knight Foundation: The next thing we need is that big home run. We need those role models. We need those stars that can show that Miami is a place where an idea can be built.

Brian Breslin, Refresh Miami: I chose to be in Miami because I think I can make a big impact and all of you can make a big impact. … We need to stop thinking there is nothing here.

Andres Moreno, Open English: I would go to Latin America, i would produce funny commercials about life in Miami, branding Miami. I would put the top entrepreneurs on television there, I would fasciliate the transfer of ideas, to Miami. The investor set will follow the great ideas, but branding is very important.

Here are some thoughts on the entrepreneurial journey and the future of tech:

Catarina Fake, founder of Flickr and Findery: I describe myself as “chronically unemployable.” I think it is part of the entrepreneurial personality. … but  no company is created alone. The super entrepreneur is a myth.

Pablos Holman, Intellectual Ventures Laboratory, “America’s 99 percent are actually the top 14 percent globally. ... We need to look around at what we are doing --, do we make fart apps for the iphone  ... or do we take on a big problem, a problem that billions of people have?

Tim Kring, film maker:  Using narrative to create and promote positive change in the world is becoming increasingly important to me. I want to use the bully pulpit to say something. .. We are greater if we come together and share our experiences.

Andres Moreno, Open English, on leadership:  Passion is hard to scale. We have 2,000 working at Open English, a quarter hired in last quarter of year. We’re very proud of our culture... that is helping people find their purpose. Once they have the connection, then every call, every customer matters.

Ola Ahlvarsson, SIME host (he developed a subway newspaper as one of his first businesses): The best time to be in media is if you get it, the worst time to be in media is if you are trapped in traditional thinking.

Adriana Cisneros, Cisneros Group:  The words traditional and media cannot go together… If you want to be in media, you have to be multidisciplinary... I don’t think there has been a better time to be a media company.

Neil Jacobstein, Singularity University:  AIs will blow the roof off education. We now have a $35 tablet in India that is trending to free. MOOCs are just the start.

Stacey McGuirk Rodriguez  of Mom&.Co, one of the Knight Entrepreneurial Fellowship winners for SIME, just as the two-day conference ended: I'm incredibly energized and inspired. Last night my head hurt thinking about everything I learned and where I can take my company. And I've never felt so excited about being in Miami.

Read my recap of the event with photos and videos here.

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