Saturday, February 20, 2016

Miami as a major center for Blacks in technology

Last update: Saturday 12/20/15
The second annual Blacktech Week came to a close today. It was organized by Code Fever and scheduled as part of Black History Month (February). As editor of the TECH-Levers blog, I storyfied the week's most important events: its opening reception (Tuesday), White House Twitter Chat (Wednesday morning), 3-day Technology Summit (Wednesday, Thursday, Friday), and Women's Innovation Brunch (Saturday). 

These storifies gave me a virtual perspective that was the next best thing to actually being there, a perspective that convinced me that, yes, metropolitan Miami is on the verge of becoming a major center for Blacks in technology. 

I say "on the verge" because Miami has not yet attained the high level of year-round Black tech activity found in Oakland, Chicago, or New York; but most of the required big asset pieces are already in place. So no one should be surprised if/when Miami suddenly jumps from wherever it's at now to the top of the list, especially with regards to the development of Black tech opportunities in the Caribbean, South America, and sub-Saharan Africa.
  • Location
    The map in the upper left corner of this note reminds us that Miami, on the southeast coast of Florida, is the U.S. metro area that is closest to the Caribbean, South America, and Sub-Saharan Africa.

  • The "strength of weak ties"
    While it's always good to have friends in high places, it's almost as good to know somebody who knows somebody up there. Fortunately, substantial segments of the decision makers in the Caribbean and Sub-Saharan Africa were educated at HBCUs and at other colleges in the eastern U.S. Therefore most Black U.S. entrepreneurs already have friends and colleagues who can introduce them to 
    the right people in the Caribbean and sub-Saharan markets.
  • Miami as the home base of the Cuban-American community
    In my opinion, Castro's revolution was a personal catastrophe for the thousands of Cuban entrepreneurs and their families who fled to south Florida after Castro assumed power in 1959. However it is also my opinion that their flight to Florida was one of the best things that ever happened to the U.S. economy.  Their new business initiatives in the far more open U.S. economy attained a scale of success that would have been highly unlikely under the corrupt regime that Castro displaced ... or under Castro.
  • Miami as the "financial capital" of South America
    Miami's vibrant Cuban-American business community is not the only cause of Miami's financial ascendency, but is certainly one of the most important contributing factors.  Soooooooo, living in Miami provides Black entrepreneurs with opportunities to interact with the Cuban-American business community and thereby establish valuable indirect links to the networks of decision makers in the South American markets.

  • "Forget Silicon Valley"
    This notion was tweeted and retweeted a few times throughout the week, not so often as to call it a meme, but often enough to know that it was rumbling through the consciousness of more than a few attendees. As I've noted elsewhere on this blog, Silicon Valley only provides a small percentage of the opportunities in information technology, however you define this term. So Miami's location should make it easier for its Black techs to turn their backs, forget Silicon Valley, and focus on better opportunities to the east and south.
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