Mayor Philip Levine You Just Picked The Wrong Fight (Against Local Tech Startups).

Open Letter:
Dear Mayor Philip Levine of Miami Beach,
I get slapped in the face a lot at the local south beach boxing gym, but I haven’t been hit as hard as reading your stances on tech startups.

[response to “Miami Beach mayor: Take your tech start-up gospel, and shove it“]


Daniel DiMassa at South Beach Boxing with Google Glass.
Daniel DiMassa at South Beach Boxing  wearing unreleased Google Glass.

Let me introduce myself mayor, to whom you just picked a fight with. My name is Daniel DiMassa and tech startups are more of a religion than passion.  A year ago today, I was subletting in Manhattan sharing a wall with Empire State Building and being invited to closing the New York Stock Exchange. My nights were spent at Incubators like Alley NYC or in private whiteboard brainstorming events at IBM on Madison Ave.

But after having a taste of living on Miami Beach years prior, I knew I had to come back.  My visit back was Nov 21st when I came to apartment shop, but my very first stop was to hit a RefreshMiami event with a popular Facebook Engineer. Most would be worried about packing, stretching legs or finding a place –not I.

Looking at your resume, you know startups or at least one. So you know my pain of constantly telling new-comers or “wantrepreneurs” tech startups are not like the movies.  They aren’t sexy large offices, with chalkboard painted walls, dj’s spinning music and calling it quits early for the bar. Realistically, they are working from home behind the glow of a monitor for more hours then thought humanly possible, all while being stressed 24/7 (hence my chewed finger nails) and out right frightened. So I am confused by your lack of office space line. Lets look at one south beach startup I was advising years ago. The young entrepreneur had his biggest break with me at 10pm on a Friday night as we were sitting on his miami beach highrise’s washer and dryer. Again this isn’t the movies, so many top companies have been formed in garages and tiny apartments with pizza boxes strewn around.  Miami Beach has both. 

So why Miami Beach?  Many startups fail due to burnt out founders, we can agree.   A year ago, if I finished a 14 hour session I would walk out into the freezing cold, where it was dark early and possibly covered in snow. With the only option, hitting expensive bars to blow off steam. But here. Here in this great town of Miami Beach, everyday is a celebration of life. Palm trees, neon lights, smiling tourists, prefect weather it’s a drug free mood booster.

I think Andrew Zimmern, from Bizarre Foods, said it best:  “There’s a joy of living down here, and I hate to sound like a cliché, but it comes from the weather. When you’re in a warm-weather environment, people spend a lot more time outside. I think sunshine equals happiness, and I think there’s a biodynamic quality to that.”

Besides the culture and scene what my main vice down here? A crystal clear ocean on a major coral reef. When I hit my stress level peak or need a good brain storming session, I simply paddle out after work. Some of my best brainstorming sessions came from “board members” in the form of fish 20ft below the surface stress and gravity free. Now yes, we might not be able to recruit snowboard addict ran startups, but we do offer uniqueness (where your comments said we dont).

Tech startups are about solving a problem. It doesn’t need to be the next complex Facebook, but something as simple as SnapChat Mobile App. Do I know where SnapChat is based? Founded? Nope. I do know they turned down a $3 billion dollar offer. Could a few developers have coded that mobile app in a Miami Beach apartment or sitting in Flamingo Park? Yes.

I could pick any town in the USA to setup shop.  But here I live in paradise, in one of the few melting pots left, with no state taxes, amazing food and on a coral reef. For rare few times I get off working.  So it pains me to hear someone, who I thought would be a supporter sound like a road block. Months ago I even registered a site and twitter handle for “SoBeTech” to help start promoting local tech news and events.  But I guess instead of building that out, I should volunteer on the committee that keeps inviting the “Justin Beibers” of the world, to come down to drunkenly drag race. Yeah, us educated and polite tech guys are the worst as we dont spend $75,000 at King of Diamonds either.

But lets talk more about this magical spot that is just a short 2.5 hours flight to NYC.We are a few hours to Orlando, so any tech startup can pack up their car and head up for a tradeshow, as almost every industry makes an appearance there. Plus, don’t forget about the posh CIO retreats in keys. Did you know there is a FL university that offers a Masters in Android Development? NJ/NYC doesn’t have that, and Im proud to say we already made an appointment to tour their university next month.  But instead, you mentioned cruises lines.  So lets talk about them. I bet you the cruise industry doesn’t have a single need or pain that tech cant make better. Same goes for hospitality or importing/exporting industries. Nope, no tech innovations can ever be made there. 

Your comments will not stop me from promoting tech here on Miami Beach. And if I fail, the question is will you be laughing at me because you were right? Kinda double edged. This should be your struggle, as the leader not mine as the volunteer.

Tomorrow, Friday Jan 24th, I kindly ask you to join me at The Corner bar downtown for a beer on me between 6 and 8pm!  See we have Avegant’s CEO making an appearance with his hot from CES 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 even out yet). But wait there’s more! After that I will take you to the Clevelander for a Bitcoin meetup. Yup, 2 disruptive tech events in one day. Again, pretty Silicon Beach If you ask me.

By Daniel DiMassa [@TheDiMassa] [Google+] [Blog] [Enterprise Apps



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