Everyone makes big New Year’s resolutions, including Miami leaders. Last year we asked them to share their hopes and aspirations for Miami’s tech scene 2016. Eleven months later, we asked them to think about how much actually came true.
Willie Avendano is the co-creator of the Wynwood Maker Camp, which teaches kids between eight and 15 years old with no experience in technology about electronics, microcomputers, virtual reality, 3D printing, collaboration, communication, and entrepreneurship.
“Miami’s tech scene just got out of the baby stage and now we’re heading to kindergarten.”
I think we’re still in kindergarten. We haven’t graduated yet, which means the work needed to be done is still happening. But we allowed more kids in kindergarten, so we’re impacting more neighborhoods and making the same at large impacts as Wynwood. There are more organizations moving things out of Wynwood and into Little Haiti and Downtown.
But there are some big kids, like Kairos, which has outgrown [The Lab]. And new people who have moved into the neighborhood like Clutch Prep, Blue Beta, the Miami University of Industrial Design and Moonlighter. A lot of the smaller groups are growing.
I think a lot of people right now are genuinely asking how they can give back to Miami, and build the Miami character and flair — which is something that is really helping the tech community.”
I think that’s the community of Miami in general, that’s not just the tech community. People are making a bigger initiative to giving back, to supporting more grassroots organizations, like Bammies or other local products like Palm Press or Lemon City Tea. In addition, initiatives like the Biscayne Green or Canvas are fostering a way to connect and give back.
I think some people were trying to make Miami more of a tech hub … I don’t think technologically there’s been too much of a delta, but there has been a noticeable impact. The change in social impact from last year today has been increased and noticed, but there hasn’t been a physical impact. For example, the Knight Foundation has been a good representative for new programs, and places like WIN Lab have grown and that’s noticeable.
[Other] partners or funding groups that have a direct or more concrete impact, those have not flourished as fast as others.
For example while there’s a lot of hype for Magic Leap, the residual of would happen if there was a billion dollar company in your midst, well that can can take [companies] to another level. But we’re still in kindergarden, and that fiscal investment […] hasn’t grown naturally or organically in my opinion.
What is one prediction you have for the Miami tech community in 2017?
There’s a lot of great companies, but there’s a small gap between great companies and the sustainability of those great companies. We have to make it more sustainable.
I think this is the year that we have to take it upon ourselves to build that missing piece. The people here doing great things we need to build the missing piece to level up and take all of these great companies and ideas and foster them to the point of the ecosystem at large.
Read his full 2016 resolution here.