Author: UB Ciminieri, Creative Director at JobberTechTalk.com
Jobber took to the skies and traveled to Detroit for our first Techweek. Techweek is building the world’s largest community-driven tech platform to support tech entrepreneurship across the world. This takes shape in the form of a weeklong series of events in each city, hosted by different co-working spaces and other tech venues. Their 2016 series started in Detroit and continues to Chicago, Toronto, Kansas City, New York, Miami, Dallas and Los Angeles throughout the rest of the year.
Check out our Facebook Live Interview with CEO Amanda Signorelli for some insight into their mission and how Techweek chooses which cities to visit.
I want to talk about Detroit specifically. What an amazing experience it has been to travel back in time as I imagine what it would have been like to be part of the birth of Downtown Denver’s technology community. Only in the last year or two has Detroit seen a resurgence of energy throughout downtown, with new restaurants and bars planting their flags and companies like Amazon and Quicken Loans having a major presence.
Then you add in a growing number of co-working and collaborative workspaces, like TechTown and Bamboo Detroit, and coding boot camps like Grand Circus, and you have yourself the beginnings of what could be a major tech hub in the United States in the coming years. It’s so small now that all the startups and founders know each other very well, but that’s how it starts right?
This is just one of many tech hubs starting to grow across the country, and even across the globe. I believe, and it’s now one of Jobber’s missions, that we need to connect all these tech hubs through one platform and showcase each one’s unique community and value propositions. It’s not just Silicon Valley anymore. By connecting all these hubs, we give each one the opportunity to collaborate, share and learn from each other so that we build this truly interconnected “Smart Grid” system of technologically advanced cities. And before you know it, we’re the Borg. I kid, but we can truly start to see how technology will bring all of us even that much closer to each other and help us change how we live, for the better.
Back to Detroit. This city is hungry. And diverse. And excited. They are open to collaboration, connectivity and out of the box ideas for making this a great city again. And they know that they can’t rely on the automotive industry in its entirety to do that. Yes, they’re built on a foundation of manufacturing and engineering, which is great because that leads naturally into technology, and it’s technology that will help them grow and thrive again.
What I’m truly interested in understanding is what makes each tech hub unique. Detroit has grit. They experienced a massive fleeing from the city that left the city to waste away. Truth is, it created this blank slate that brings with it an affordable way to live and start your own company. This is why technical talent is flocking away from the coasts to The Motor City.
A consequence of this influx of talent and entrepreneurship is that it’s forcing Detroit to fix things – turning old historic buildings left vacant for years into new work and social places; and taking a hard look at its school system (not unlike most places in the US) because this new talent moving in will want or already have families, and their children will need education, so they’ll demand it.
Detroit’s other unique factor is its diversity. They thrive on it here. It’s what gives Detroit its greatest chance at succeeding. And I think the rest of us could learn a thing or two about diversity from this tech hub. There are no boundaries here because they are so thirsty to become Detroit again.
I’m now even more excited about the technology industry because of what I’ve witnessed here in Detroit. The innovation and growth coming out of Detroit’s unique challenges will certainly impact the way we all do many things in the future. And that’s why we can’t continue to all live in our little tech bubbles. We have to burst through and connect our tech hubs together to form a Federation if you will (too many Star Trek references?). I think that’s how we continue to take major leaps into the future because guess what? It’s coming and we can’t stop it, so let’s help it get here a little sooner, together.
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