By Megan Tierney
South Florida; a special, eccentric, exciting and multicultural paradise. A land filled with opportunity and for the lucky, a place to call home. Born and raised in the Silicon Valley, I've lived in S. Florida for the past 6 years and have been fortunate to be a part of and witness to the emerging tech scene.
We've seen Caffeine Spaces open, a co-working center in Boca Raton, offering startups a place to call home while getting their companies off the ground, Venture Hive's accelerator and incubator launching in Miami, The Knight Foundation, Rokk3r Labs and Brad Feld teaming up to bring entrepreneurs and the community together to share ideas and action plans for a tech driven ecosystem. The success of Miami Startup Weekend, Social Media Day and TEDx broadcasts offer an excellent educational and networking opportunity to join like minded entrepreneurs. Organizations and movements such as New Tech Community, Refresh and South Florida Social Media Club bring tech professionals together for comradery and a breeding grounds for original ideas.
I think Wikipedia's account of South Florida resonates with our growing tech scene, "as with all vernacular regions, South Florida has no official boundaries or status, and is defined differently by different sources. " Recently, "outsiders", meaning anyone living in the US not surrounded by palm trees, year round sunshine and 80 degree weather, have been coming to South Florida to offer advice, investment and guidance as to how we should brand our tech community.
We welcome outside talent and their brilliant ideas. It's exciting, validating and progressive that such accomplished, well respected individuals have taken notice. We've heard name suggestions to brand our tech scene and personally, I think it's a disservice to Silicon Valley and to South Florida to brand us with anything "Silicon" in the title. Just as the valley is unique to itself, so is South Florida. Give us a chance to stand on our own, become a brand that's original to our area, personalities and culture. Just as sure as the temperature is to climb, given the opportunity, you can bet on us to find our own way to shine.
Megan Tierney is an entrepreneur who is involved in tech and real estate and is currently in the process of writing a book. She lives in Miami and California.