Orlando tech enters crucial period as events re-emerge

It’s no secret that Orlando tech-like communities that build together will create momentum, depth and have more potential for success than ones that are splintered or siloed. Meet Orlando’s tech community. My schedule will take me out of town for a couple of weeks here in late June and early July. I’m excited because part of my trip will be a stop in my old college town to help train high school journalists. It’s something I do every year and I plan to follow that up with a visit home to meet my first great-nephew for the first time. It’s important that I make clear: I’m very much looking forward to both of those stops. However, what’s been interesting this time around is my excitement to get back. I look forward to returning and contributing to the growth of Orlando’s tech scene. Namely, its collective cohesion around the “MetaCenter” moniker. On Monday morning, tech entrepreneur Gordon Folkes posted on LinkedIn what amounts to a schedule of events in the next few weeks. What’s impressive isn’t the number of events, though it’s going to be a busy week for the tech community. What strikes me as impressive and super encouraging is the number of groups hosting the events. Lean Startup Orlando. Indienomicon. Orlando Tech Council. Lab3. University of Central Florida. Central Florida Tech Grove. Wow. Remember, this is all just in the next 10 days.

What it all means for Orlando tech

Those who have read my recent posts know that my excitement is always tempered with a little reality check. We could host 100 events in a month but if no connections come from them, they are a wasted 100. But as we emerge, to an extent, from the pandemic, it is important to remember that these are the places where “manufactured serendipity” happens. That is, the community creates the situations, atmosphere and environment. Those sites become the places where two people with similar goals in mind might meet. Some of the more interesting stories I wrote at the Orlando Sentinel were those that documented these “happy accidents.” It would always be cool to attend a meetup, see an introduction between two people and eventually write about them forming a business together. But now, there is a common theme that should basically inform many of those meetings. If it contributes to our reputation as a Metaverse leader, it’s up to Orlando tech to create the narrative, share it and spread the word everywhere. Now that the “MetaCenter” alter ego has been created, the next step is a coordinated effort to keep that in the forefront or risk it getting stale. So far, I’m seeing some great things along those lines on LinkedIn. City representatives have done a good job of keeping our profile in front of larger audiences.

The power of attention

Yes, it’s fantastic to have Cathy Hackl leading the charge in telling Orlando’s Metaverse story. Her expertise and prolific content creation around the Metaverse will surely help us tell the story. But I’m curious to see who emerges as the next great storyteller from Orlando who takes hold of the narrative and helps drive it. Charlie Lewis, Sheena Fowler and David Adelson are three key figures right now. But it’ll take more than them for this to continue to build momentum, of course. When I return from my trip, that will be one of my top priorities. I can’t wait to dig in and learn all I can from so many sources I have built over the years. Until then, however, I’m excited to see what emerges in Orlando tech from these upcoming events. Please keep me posted.
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