WordCamp Miami is back for another year on Feb. 19-21, with an expanded lineup of content, a Kids’ Workshop and more. Organizer David Bisset gives us the lowdown:
What WordCamps Are: WordCamps (wordcamp.org) are conferences that focuses on everything WordPress, which is open-source software that currently makes up 25% of the top million website of the web. Most weeks out of the year a WordCamp is happening somewhere in the world. From the United States to Europe, to places throughout Asia and Australia.
WordCamp Miami: WordCamp Miami has been an annual event in South Florida for the past 8 years. It’s grown from a 150 person event from its first year to over 770 attendees in 2015. The scope of the event has also grown in that time to not only include talks specifically on WordPress but also blogging, content creation, SEO, designing, marketing, and developer related topics. It’s been on of the longest running non-profit tech conferences in South Florida.
The 8th annual WordCamp Miami is happening next month - February 19-21 - at Florida International University. It has a full schedule lined up for everyone from those wanting to learn WordPress for the first time to those who are already skilled at developing with it.
Here are some of the highlights:
* If you’ve never used WordPress and want to learn, a full-day workshop is available on Friday February 19th. The class is limited to 100 individuals so that the instructors can take you step by step from learning hosting basics to being able to customize a basic WordPress site of your own.
* If you are a freelancer (whether you use WordPress or not), there’s a full-day freelancer’s workshop on Friday February 19th.
* The conference is especially family-friendly this year with a Kid’s Workshop Sunday morning (where parents and kids ages 8-13 can learn to create their first blog), an arts/crafts/STEM class in the afternoon, and then a kid’s panel to end the day (in which the invite is still open if you want to nominate your child who blogs to come and speak). Kids are welcome to attend both days on the weekend, and are free to attend.
Outside of the knowledge provided by over 70 speakers from across South Florida and the rest of the world, WordCamp Miami has many knowledgable sponsors on hand if you want to talk to anyone face to face about website hosting and security. There is also “Happiness Bar” staffed over the weekend by knowledgable WordPress users if you have a question about your WordPress site or need advice about your next website.
Because this is a non-profit event, ticket prices are a low $35 for the weekend (plus a little more if you want to attend a workshop on Friday). Discounts for students and teachers available. The event usually sells out so you might want to pick up your tickets as soon as possible. Weekend tickets include food, swag, t-shirts and access to the after-party.
Twitter is the latest Silicon Valley tech powerhouse to announce it is opening an office in Miami.
Twitter’s office, at 1395 Brickell Ave., opens with six employees but is expected to grow, said a spokswoman Thursday after the company announced the news on #DáleTwitterMiami. The local team will support large and mid-market sales, media partnerships, marketing Communications and brand strategy.
The Miami office will be lead by Guilherme Ribenboim, vice president of Twitter Latin America, with the help of Marco Botero, head of sales for Twitter Miami and Matt Drinkwater, head of agency relations. Ribenboim leads Twitter’s sales operation in Latin America as well as relations with sales partners that serve the needs of agencies and businesses in the region. Twitter, operating in Latin America since 2012, now has more than 100 employees distributed in offices in Brazil, Colombia, Mexico and now Miami.
Twitter, with $1.4 billion in revenue in 2014, joins Facebook, Google, Uber, Lyft, Square, Instacart, Postmates, Shyp and other Silicon Valley tech companies with offices in the Miami area.
Did you know Miami is No. 3 in the world for selfies? Alex de Carvalho shared this Magic City claim to fame and other facts, figures and advice about social media -- in which a third of the world is now participating in -- at a recent talk he gave to the Miami Herald Media Company earlier this week.
Want more about the present and future of social media and how better to use it in your business? You’ll have to go to Social Media Day South Florida on Sunday, June 28, with a full afternoon of talks planned, ending with a sunset cocktail hour. The event takes place from noon to 9 p.m. at the Hyatt Pier 66 in Fort Lauderdale.
Here’s more about the event from de Carvalho’s press release:
Popularized by Mashable, Social Media Day is an international celebration of digital media that attracts thousands to events around the world. Social Media Day South Florida was one of the first of these global meet-ups to take a conference-style approach. Attendees will learn from expert speakers on digital media trends, discover career opportunities and network with the region’s brightest digital media minds.
Noted as one of the top Social Media Day events, the South Florida gathering is celebrating its fifth year. “There is a groundswell of digital media activity and expertise in South Florida. This is not just a celebration of social media in South Florida; it is a valuable opportunity for learning, networking and recruitment,” said de Carvalho, Knight Innovator in Residence at FIU School of Journalism and Mass Communication and President of Social Media Club South Florida.
This year’s keynote address will be provided by Adam Boalt, CEO of LiveAnswer. Based out of Pipeline Brickell, LiveAnswer is one of South Florida’s fastest growing startups and a shining example of the region’s prowess in digital innovation. While Boalt will be discussing the future of the digital media landscape, his company LiveAnswer also sees Social Media Day South Florida as a valuable opportunity for talent recruitment. “As South Florida grows its identity as a home for experts in social and digital technology and trends, Social Media Day South Florida is a platform to share our individual expertise while building our collective knowledge base,” said Boalt.
For instance, LiveAnswer has partnered with Enrique Iglesias’ Atlantico Rum to develop a VIP experience centered on talent recruitment. Those who apply to become LiveAnswer’s newest “Marketing Rockstar” will gain two access passes to the Atlantico Rum VIP Suite during Social Media Day.
Other topics include branding (personal and company), SEO trends, tweeting responsibly, building a blogging network and getting the most from the various platforms. Presentations and panel discussion topics can be viewed here: www.smdaysf.com/agenda.
Social Media Day South Florida is co-organized by local social media leaders and influencers Blanca Stella Mejia and Karl Nybergh. The event is being sponsored by LiveAnswer, Lift Digital Media and Ford en Español.
Those looking to join the online conversation can do so here:
For more information on Social Media Day South Florida and tickets, which cost $33 in advance or $48 at the door, visit www.smdaysf.com.
As Hispanicize opens Monday for its sixth annual weeklong event packed with workshops, speakers, awards and concerts all featuring U.S. Latinos, a lot of people may not know the unusual entrepreneurial journey of the man behind it all.
Hispanicize is the largest U.S. Hispanic social media and entertainment event of its kind, specializing in marketing, media, film and music, said its founder, Manny Ruiz. “What people really love about Hispanicize is that we are the one event that is laser-focused on the aspirations, opportunities and challenges of the U.S. Hispanic.”
Ruiz’s father was an early Cuban exile and his mother is a second-generation Cuban American: “I was born and raised in Little Havana and Hialeah, as blue collar as you can get. … My family didn’t have much in Cuba and they didn’t have anything in Miami either, [but] their work ethic has stayed with me … and kept me grounded.”
Today, Ruiz, 45, is the chairman and founder of the Hispanicize brand of platforms that include the annual Hispanicize event, the Latina Mom Bloggers network, Being Latino, Hispanicize Wire and the Hispanic PR Blog.
Before building his current grouping of media properties, Ruiz founded, led and sold Hispanic PR Wire for $5.5 million in 2008. In thinking about what his next project would be, he was inspired by South by Southwest, the big annual music, film and entrepreneurship event in Austin, Texas. The first Hispanicize was in 2010.
But here are some things you may not know about Ruiz. He almost flunked his senior year at Miami Southwest Senior High — twice.
“The shocking part of my second senior year was that despite a horrible academic record — I was 10 spots away from graduating last of my second senior year class — my high school principal believed in my investigative journalism work on the school newspaper so much she nominated me to be our high school’s [Miami Herald] Silver Knight representative for journalism,” Ruiz said.
Ruiz said he was moved to pursue journalism — he was affectionately known as “Geraldo“ in high school — after his middle school experience attending a corrupt and drug-ridden private school, Miami Aerospace Academy. It was ultimately the power of the press that got the place shut down, he said.
He then stoked that journalistic passion at Miami Southwest and later at Miami Dade College, which will install him next month in the MDC Alumni Hall of Fame, and at the Miami Herald before transitioning into marketing, online media and entrepreneurship.
The Miami Herald talked with Ruiz about his unusual entrepreneurial journey and plans for the 2015 Hispanicize, which opens Monday at the InterContinental Miami with an expected record attendance of more than 2,000. Here are excerpts of the conversation:
By Joe Kutchera
It is no surprise that media experts forecast that mobile will overtake web traffic, because, well, it already has in the developed world. To get an overview of that trend, take a look at Benedict Evans’ excellent presentation from the WSJD conference: Mobile is Eating the World. As a partner at Andreessen Horowitz, his research led him to discover that we will have two to three times more smartphones than PC’s globally by the year 2020 and that Facebook already earns more in advertising from visitors to its mobile platform that to its website.
The implications from this sea change in media consumption are, of course, enormous, but probably even more so for emerging markets like those in Latin America. That’s why I’m excited to attend and present at the 2014 M2Content & Apps LATAM Conference in Miami on December 2 and discuss “Monetizing Social Media” as well as share the story of how Flipboard launched its U.S. Latino content guide.
Here are three reasons to invest in Latin American mobile content:
One, Latin America will “leapfrog” the U.S. and other “developed” markets in adopting mobile technologies and content.
“Last year [in 2013] at this time, El Nuevo Día in Puerto Rico was getting 30 percent of its digital traffic from mobile devices, with the remaining 70 percent coming from the desktop. This year [in 2014] according to deputy general director Benjamín Morales Melendez, those numbers have reversed. They get 70 percent of their traffic from mobile devices. It switched in less than 12 months.”
Craig Silverman, an award-winning journalist and Adjunct Faculty at The Poynter Institute, recently shared this story in his article “3 lessons in mobile, social and viral from Latin American newspapers,” about attending and presenting at GDA’s (Grupo de Diarios América) annual conference for journalists. Read his full article here.
Two, LatAm is currently the world’s fastest growing mobile ad market.
LatAm is uniquely placed to ‘leapfrog’ the US and Europe in not only innovation but also in total advertising spending. In addition, smartphone population will surpass Internet population in 2017, with around 240 million users across the region. Yet, in 2012, the region only accounted for 0.6% of global mobile adspend. So, in the years ahead, advertisers will need to start thinking “mobile first” and create “made for mobile” content and advertising formats.
For more details, take a look at this presentation from Telefónica:
Three, LatAm leads the world in time spent on social media.
“5 of the top 10 most engaged markets with social content worldwide are located in Latin America,” according to digital market research firm comScore. In addition, its recent report shows that “consumers in Latin America spent 10 hours online per month on Social Networking sites, doubling the global average time spent.”
The Wall Street Journal concurs, reporting that Brazil is “The Social Media Capital of the Universe,” reporting that, “By the end of 2012, Brazil was also the biggest market outside the U.S. by number of unique visitors for YouTube, and one of YouTube’s top five markets by revenue.”
More recently, eMarketer reported that Latin American countries are among the fastest-growing Twitter markets worldwide, showing that “Emerging markets around the world are driving growth for Twitter, according to eMarketer’s forecast of worldwide usage of the microblogging service. And while the two fastest-growing markets worldwide this year—Indonesia and India—are in Asia-Pacific, the rest of the top five are in Latin America.”
Joe Kutchera is the head of Latin American and US Latino partnerships for Flipboard and helped launch both its US Latino and Latam content guides for the mobile application, which has over 100 million active users. Joe is the author of two books and writes for Fox News Latino, The Huffington Post and MediaPost. He will be speaking at 2014 M2Content & Apps LATAM Conference, Dec. 2-4, 2014 in Wynwood, at The Light Box at Goldman Warehouse.
By Nancy Dahlberg / firstname.lastname@example.org / Photos by Charles Trainor Jr.
Today social marketing is about combining social science, technology and media in creative ways to create messaging on multiple platforms that resonates with consumers so deeply they are moved to share.
Nobox, a Miami-based technology company and digital marketing agency, calls it “social muscle,” a strategy the company embraced about three years when Nobox pivoted its entire focus to human-to-human marketing through social media.
“It was a big move because back then social marketing was in its infancy, but we knew the future of marketing was in social,” said Jayson Fittipaldi, president and chief creative officer of Nobox, who co-founded the company with Carlos García. “Social is the center is of everything we do.”
Nobox was founded nearly 14 years ago in Puerto Rico and moved to Miami in 2004. Since its transformation into a social-media-focused marketing company by early 2012, Nobox has grown to 37 employees, has operations in Sao Paulo, San Francisco and New York as well as its Miami Midtown base and has grown its annual revenue fivefold to about $10 million. With a focus on consumer technology, travel and Latin America, Nobox has attracted marquee clients such as Sony PlayStation, Netflix, Samsung and Marriott.
“The way we have been able to fivefold revenue is we have focused on what we know best,” said Carlos García, Nobox’s CEO. “We consider ourselves to be marketing hackers. Our client base is looking to execute their marketing in Latin America. “
The Miami Foundation staff cheers after reaching a milestone last year.
We interrupt our regularly scheduled programming for this important message: Give to your favorite nonprofit today.
By Carli Teproff / email@example.com
Nearly 16 years ago, Keri Brooke Heiken lost her life in a horrific car accident as she and four friends headed back to the University of Florida after spending a weekend in South Florida.
Since her death in 1998, her family has worked to keep Keri’s memory alive by giving $2,500 scholarships to high school seniors who have helped the community and want to make a difference in the world.
This year, the Keri Brooke Heiken Foundation, which in the past has held dinner and raffle fundraisers, is reaching out for donations in a new way.
It has joined The Miami Foundation’s Give Miami Day — a 24-hour period in which donations can be made online to more than 500 charities. The blitz begins 12:01 a.m. Thursday and runs for 24 hours.
“It’s an opportunity to reach a lot more people,” said Keri’s mother, Lori Heiken. “We have been working hard to spread the word.”
Give Miami Day, now in its third year, has gained popularity with each campaign, with more and more charities coming on board. This year, Give Miami will include 115 new charities — among them Goodwill Industries, the South Beach Chamber Ensemble, the South Florida SPCA Horse Rescue and Honor Flight South Florida.
Miami Foundation CEO Javier Alberto Soto said the momentum has been incredible. This year the foundation, a philanthropy incubator that helps charities with their fundraising, has even planned a block party from 6 to 9 p.m. in the West Plaza of the Miami Marlins’ stadium in Little Havana to give people a chance to mingle.
“I think we have created an event people look forward to each year to make our community better,” Soto said. “It’s about civic pride.”
And the pride has been contagious.
Returning charities including Miami Lighthouse for the Blind and Visually Impaired Inc., Miami Herald Charities — which benefits the Wish Book project — and Shake-A-Leg Miami have been blasting the message through Facebook and through other social media platforms.
The Arsht Center, which is raising money for its Arts Education programs, has planned Dance Party on the Plaza to spotlight Give Miami Day and has encouraged the staff effort to raise money. Others including Heiken will hold an open house to thank supporters.
The way it works is simple: People can visit givemiamiday.org, look at the profiles of each charity and make a donation. Donations between $25 and $10,000 will qualify for a bonus for the recipient, distributed based on how much is raised and how much is collected in the bonus pool. The Miami Foundation, Knight Foundation and other sponsors have contributed as an “incentive” for giving, Soto said.
There are also about 20 prizes throughout the giving period to boost donations. The gifts include the $1,500 Early Bird Gets the Worm prize for the organization that receives the most individual gifts from midnight to 1:30 a.m., the $500 Good Morning, Sunshine prize for the organization that receives the gift made closest to the official sunrise at 6:43 a.m., and the $500 Giancarlo Stanton Home Run prize for the organization that receives the gift made closest to 1:54 p.m. celebrating the Miami Marlins all-time career home run leader.
Last year, Give Miami Day received more than 10,000 individual gifts and raised $3.2 million to support 407 local nonprofit organizations. The Greater Miami Jewish Federation topped the leader board with $207,362.
Soto said the goal is to continue to have an “impact on South Florida.”
“There are a lot of charities doing a lot of great things and we want to recognize that.”
What: The Miami Foundation’s Give Miami Day
When: Thursday through Friday
How: Visit givemiamiday.org and either click on the charity of your choice or search through the database. Donations between $25 and $10,000 qualify for a percentage of the bonus pool.
Social media: @MiamiFoundation on Twitter and Instagram and #givemiamiday.
For more information: givemiamiday.org.
Headquarters: Miami, at Pipeline Brickell.
Concept: Splyst is a platform for discovering and sharing content that revolutionizes the way people interact with information. The social network leverages machine learning to curate personalized real-time Internet content for its users and gives them the ability to share that content with their follower base.
Story: Recent University of Miami grad Travis Montaque founded Splyst as a sophomore. He conceived the Splyst concept after he found a study that showed 75 percent percent of people spent more time searching for and sharing information on the Internet than they’d like to, and he realized that younger demographics relied heavily on social media as a primary means to acquire information.
Fed up with inefficient, unreliable tools to receive and share Internet content, he set out to develop a platform that would change the way people would receive and share things they found interesting. Montaque was managing two Chick-fil-A franchises at age 19 before launching into entrepreneurship. At 21, he was invited by former President Bill Clinton to give a talk to world leaders at the Clinton Global Initiative 2013 Annual Meeting on solving the global youth unemployment problem through entrepreneurship.
Splyst’s application learns its users’ behaviors and brings them what they want to see, allows them to share their reactions with friends using emojis, and allows users to collect what they like. Enjoy browsing new content on the ‘for you’ feed or follow your friends and see what they have recently reacted to.
Launched: August 2014.
Management team: Travis Montaque, CEO; Mike Ojemann, CTO; Keisuke Inoue, VP of Data Science.
Number of employees: 9
Financing: Raised a $570,000 seed round.
Recent milestones: Splyst released its iOS application in the Apple App Store on Aug. 4; formed high-profile strategic relationships in New York; closed an additional $270,000 in financing; acquired John Fanning, co-founder and former chairman of Napster, as an advisor.
Biggest startup challenge: Building a team of individuals with the correct competencies, personalities and motivations. “Everything fell into place afterwards,” Montaque said.
Next step: Splyst just opened its Series A round seeking to raise $2 million to scale up the company and achieve massive adoption.
Strategy for next step: The company is in discussions with several large media and technology firms and intends to partner with them to accelerate user adoption.
Advisor’s view: “It has been amazing to watch an energetic college kid with an idea hire a team, build a product, close investors, put a product in the market, and have real customers and users flock to it, all in an incredibly short period of time. It’s exciting,” said Fanning, chairman of Netcapital who advises Montaque on strategy, relationship introductions, connections to capital, recruiting, product development and marketing.
“The biggest challenge is getting support from the Miami community. Most companies who are able to achieve the success Travis has already achieved simply just move to Silicon Valley because they already have the people, support and infrastructure to get your early-stage company to the next level. People in that community like to have the companies within driving distance of their own office. It’s a long drive to Miami,” said Fanning. “Travis believes in Miami and has found a few great people to support him, but he needs more or he will simply have to move the company."
Posted Sept. 22, 2014
Read past Startup Spotlights in the Startup Spotlight category of this blog.
To fuel its product expansions, Everypost, the social media publishing platform, raised $850,000 in seed funding from Miami-based Krillion Ventures, NXTP of Buenos Aires and Handmade Ventures of San Francisco, as well as angel investors in Miami, Silicon Valley, Argentina and Brazil, the Miami-based company announced Thursday.
Led by CEO and co-founder Fernando Cuscuela, Everypost plans to use the funding for product development, including a web version of its social media publishing tool that it plans to launch in October and tablet versions for both iPad and Android. It will also ramp up marketing and advertisings over the next 12 months, mainly in Latin America and U.S. markets, Cuscuela said.
With an average user growth of 10 percent a week, Everypost not only makes it easy to schedule and share content on all your social networks at once but it allows you to quickly customize the post for each network. It also helps users post quality content by giving photo filters and trending hashtags, and allowing them to search and curate content from different sources right on the platform.
“We have active and enthusiastic users who are contributing to our success by sharing their suggestions and even translating parts of the app so that we can offer it in more languages,” said Cuscuela, adding that Everypost is offered so far in English, Spanish, Portuguese, Japanese, French and German. “Our international collection of investors is also providing invaluable support and guidance.”
That would include Alexandre Hohagen, VP of Facebook Latin America and based in Miami, Stefano Zunino, who heads Digital Worldwide for JWT, Miami-based Nobox CEO Carlos Garcia and Mark Kingdon, an early investor in Twitter and Fab.com. “Everypost’s mobile-first business approach was a smart move, allowing them to offer a tool that competitors just aren’t ready to compete with,” said Kingdon, who recently moved to Miami from New York and is one of Everypost's newest investors.
Cuscuela moved his family here in 2013 as part of the first accelerator class at Venture Hive. The team has now grown to 12 – nine in Argentina and three in Miami - and Everypost plans to soon hire business development and marketing managers in Miami, Cuscuela said.
"Everypost has an exceptionally talented founding team with long-term vision and global ambition. We believe that their easy-to-use, time-saving social media publishing solution is a must-have for brands, bloggers, journalists and professionals," said Melissa Krinzman, managing partner of Krillion Ventures. "As their lead investor, we look forward to helping them realize their potential.”