At this year’s second Digital Orlando Conference, the panelists engaged in topics about getting involved, starting a movement, virtual reality, leveraging local talent, and the future of Orlando as a tech hub. There was a common thread between all the panelists and their discussions: a push for utilizing the resources Orlando has to offer and a push for the community to take action.
When people think of Orlando they don’t necessarily think of innovation, although they should. In fact, Orlando is now getting the national recognition it’s been wanting as both a tech and creative hub. Yes, the city beautiful has come far, but it is still ways away from being taken seriously as a tech city.
Many of the panelists felt that there needs to be more time invested in recruiting local talent and expanding of ideas in Orlando, instead of looking elsewhere. Application Development Manager for Highwinds, Austin Musice, pointed out that we have all the competition we need here, locally. “Orlando’s a very competitive environment. We have great companies, environments, great cultures and top notch people,” said Musice.
During the Leveraging Local Talent discussion many of the panelists felt there should be a push for hiring more local interns. Rupert Meghnot, Founder of Burn Out Game Ventures said, “Bring in the talent, the interns, the students and give them the tools they need to succeed and get hired in the industry.” By utilizing the resources and people Orlando has it gives off the impression that the city is supportive of up-and-coming talent and Orlando is worth investing in.
Founder & CEO of Unikey Phil Dumas said, “Let’s focus on the quality, not the quantity.” Panelists encouraged universities to communicate more by incorporating key, influential events and collaborating with hiring partners to ensure future talent stay here, locally. Rainer Flor, Co-Founder & Senior Vice President of Design for Snapshots said, “You’ve got nothing to lose and everything to gain.”
Pushing the community to take action was another major discussion among the panelists. The problem is many people in the community want the tech scene to expand, but aren’t doing anything different themselves to make anything grow or change. During Orlando’s Future as a Tech Hub discussion, Vice President & Group COO of EA Sports Daryl Holt said, “It needs to be about the action we make and not the words that we make.” Panelists want to see more people participating in local meetups, events and supporting the local tech startups and companies that are in the city.
Orlando has made great progress since the rise of the tech scene in 2011. In the last 5 years, the city went from having about four resources for tech to now having over a hundred at their hands. All in all, if Orlando wants to be treated like a big city, it needs to start behaving like one. Carlos Carbonell, Founder & CEO of Echo Interaction Group stated, “There is hope and opportunity in Orlando.” By empowering each other and implementing change within ourselves, Orlando can aspire to one-day be a leading tech industry.