Community Contributor
8:46 am
Mon January 27, 2014

'Pretty Silicon Beach': Tech Entrepreneur Responds To Phillip Levine

Editor's Note: This is a community contributor post that has been edited for clarity.  The views expressed here are those of the author and not WLRN or WLRN-Miami Herald News.

My name is Daniel DiMassa and tech start-ups are more of a religion than passion to me.

Miami Beach Mayor Phillip Levine was quoted Jan. 22 in the Washington Post saying "Miami Beach is never going to be a high tech hub. As much as it sounds great, it's sexy, that's not who we are."
Miami Beach Mayor Phillip Levine was quoted Jan. 22 in the Washington Post saying "Miami Beach is never going to be a high tech hub. As much as it sounds great, it's sexy, that's not who we are."
Credit Daniel DiMassa

I know start-ups. I know the pain of constantly telling newcomers or “wantrepreneurs” that tech start-ups are not like the movies: sexy large offices, chalkboard painted walls, office DJs spinning music, ending the day early to hit the bar. Tech start-ups are housed in tiny apartments, garages, and local meet-up groups at coffee shops and parks. We huddle behind the glow of our monitors working more hours than humanely possible with chewed-up fingernails.

So why Miami Beach?

One year ago today, I was subletting a Manhattan apartment, sharing a wall with the Empire State building and sorting through invitations for things like the closing bell at the New York Stock Exchange. My nights were filled with social scenes at incubators or private, whiteboard brainstorming events at places like IBM. And as much as I enjoyed that life, I knew I had to move back to Miami Beach after having a taste of living there years prior. Unlike my life in New York City -- where after completing a bleary-eyed 14-hour session, my only late-night escape came only after a trek through sub-zero temperatures -- in this great town of Miami Beach, a pair of flip flops would take me through the warm air and sunshine, no matter the time of year.

Upon arriving on Nov. 21, 2013, my very first stop before unpacking or finding a place to live was a RefreshMiami event with a Facebook engineer.

Every day is a celebration of life here: palm trees, neon lights, smiling tourists, perfect weather. It’s a non-drug mood booster. When I hit my stress-level peak or need a good brainstorming session, I simply paddle out on a crystal-clear ocean on a major coral reef. Some of my best brainstorming sessions come from “board members” in the form of fish 20 feet below the surface.

Outside of the sun and sand, Miami Beach is geographically attractive to tech start-ups. From this magical spot just a short 2.5-hour flight to NYC and a few hours to Orlando, any tech start-up can pack up their car and head for a tradeshow. Don’t forget about the posh CIO retreats in the Keys. Did you know there is a Florida university that offers a Master's in android development? I am proud to say we already made an appointment to tour the campus next month. The New York area doesn’t have that.

I could pick any town in the U.S. to set up shop. But here I live in paradise, with no state taxes, amazing food and a coral reef. So it pains me to hear someone whom I thought would be a supporter sound like a roadblock. I even registered a site and Twitter handle for SoBeTech to promote local tech news and events. I guess instead of building that out, I should volunteer on the committee that keeps inviting the Justin Biebers of the world to come down to drunkenly drag race. Yeah, we educated and polite tech guys don’t spend $75,000 at King of Diamonds either.

On Jan. 24, I kindly ask you to join me at The Corner bar downtown for a beer on me between 6 and 8 p.m. See, we have Avegant’s CEO making an appearance with his hot-from-the-Consumer-Electronics-Show Glyph wearable device. I’m “crashing” it with a group of Google glass Explorers to have a friendly, wearable event. Pretty Silicon Beach if you ask me (both devices aren’t out yet).

After that I will take you to the Clevelander Hotel in for a Bitcoin meetup. Yup, two disruptive tech events in one day. Again, pretty Silicon Beach If you ask me.