This is about tech in general and very specific to my current location. Kind of a rant.
Having another group use your by-laws isn't exactly what I call help, but I guess you have to take wins where you can find them.
- How many companies has TBTF helped get funded?
- Specifically, how have you helped mentor startups in Tampa Bay?
- What uniquely has TBTF done for companies in Tampa Bay that can be measured?
"We want to make Tampa Bay one of the top 10 technology hubs by 2015." I've heard this before from Amy Norman. What is your specfic plan to address that? It isn't going to happen by itself. Likely, you will need support from government and private sector. USF is certainly doing their part bringing in biomed grants and jobs.
If you are all community leaders, why do you snub community building events like TEDX? I have a separate rant about this as a whole that I will spare my readers, but you can't go around saying you support the community, you have to actually support it. Remember action speaks louder than words.
By expending energy to create a Florida Tech Council, how does that help Tampa Bay specifically? Just in Central Florida, you have at least 5 different economic concerns - Hillsborough, Sarasota, Pinellas, Lakeland, Orlando - all competing for the same jobs and dollars. That is a lot to tackle right there.
The Biggest Question that must be answered: How do you stop the Brain Drain in Tampa Bay? We are losing Creatives on a regular basis.
Here are some ideas that have been expressed to me:
Not enough Big Clients in Central Florida. It means a lot of travel. We have a great airport, but flying sucks, so people end up moving closer to big clients.
No Fortune 500 Headquarters. This stifles the growth of small businesses, since there is a lack of seasoned executive leaders here.
Too much politics for a small town. And in many cases, the pols only worry about tourism and construction. Without support from local government, how does the tech sector grow?
You are worried about all of Florida, when really the mission is local and vital to the existence of your very members. Without local talent, how do your members grow their businesses? Without local talent, how does TBTF membership grow?
Instead of working statewide, you should be working tri-county wide to bring groups to the table to work on the biggest problem that Tampa Bay faces: Brain Drain. (Notice I'm not even mentioning the Education problem that Florida faces. Big Business needs to wake up and realize that if the Education system doesn't become a priority, Big Business will dry up in Florida).
Stop the Brain Drain and grow as a Tech Hub are great ideas, but get granular. Where are the detailed plans? This hasn't happened in 10 years by accident, so I don't see it happening in the next 10 by accident either. Only with purposeful intent and a detailed plan will either initiative have a hope of success.