What else happened? Tech is moving to Miami.
What started as a tweet, is definitely happening. At this point, you’ve heard about it — and possibly sick of hearing about it.
I know, you’ve heard about “the Silicon Valley of X” before, and it didn’t work out.
This time is different. Not only are VCs and angel investors moving to Miami, as well as hedge funds and all kind of money men. New York’s best AI startup Hugging Face has moved to South Florida, as well.
In the post-2020 world of “remote,” it’s hard to think of location the same. It’s also hard to look at that office, and wish your co-working space didn’t look like that. It’s the middle of winter, and we all need more sunshine.
I’m with Balaji S. Srinivasan here — Miami is not about being a better place to live than NYC and SF — or certainly cheaper. It’s that the Bay has diminished as the undisputed tech capital of the world, at the expense of “everywhere else.” Once you can live anywhere — or anywhere with density, infrastructure, and where you can persuade tech talent to move to — Miami starts looking pretty good.
Spending most of 2020 in Brooklyn has been great. I’m glad I prioritized a view over space. I’m watching the sunset over 🗽 as writing this piece.
Going outside, I notice not only the cold, the shuttered businesses, but also the dozen regular drug addicts huddling in the subway entrance (they’ve been here since the city converted a hotel next door to a homeless shelter, back in March).
There’s always been a cost to living in The City. Critics pointing out that New York is dirty, smelly and expensive — compared to say Savannah Georgia (or any other pretty, second-tier city in America)— I’ve never disputed them on the facts. For some of us, the city was fun, and the cost was worth it — for others you had no choice. Imagine working for a hedge fund, a bank or Big Tech outside of NYC or the Bay Area. It wasn’t really an option — or if it was, you’d be out of the loop in your company, and compensated at a discount.
Things are different now. Remote has leveled the field — not completely but to a great extent. Living in SF or New York is no longer a must. Especially when the quality of life is better, you’re happier and more productive.
Last Saturday night, many tuned in on Clubhouse, as the mayors of SF, Austin and Miami called in to pitch their cities and answer questions from the tech community. The differences between SF and the new tech hubs were striking.
There’s more to say, but others have written better pieces on tech, Miami and SF. Please comment below and I’ll link them here.
I think Miami is much more likely to succeed than other “tech hubs” had done over the previous decade — primarily because existing working ecosystems are moving in, as opposed to starting from scratch. Just as the NYC startup scene was primed by Bay Area veterans moving to New York — now some of them are moving to Miami. Unlike, say the Canadian tech scene, which suffers from the “cold start” problem, without existing “Good Angels willing to play infinite games” as Alex Danco puts it in his Substack. You meet great 🇨🇦 founders and engineers, in the Bay Area.
Keith Rabois mentions in Antonio García Martínez’s Substack Pull Request — he envisions many tech companies that need “some engineering” but don’t do cutting edge technical work with huge teams — can move over pretty quickly.
I think there’s a lot of healthcare innovation here, which I actually like, I like to fund healthcare. So that alone might be an area where I can double down without any complete transformation of Miami.
I think building engineering culture will be harder. I’m less convinced though we need a massive engineering culture here in the short term. I do think you can get designers to want to be here. This is a much better place for designers. The sense of art, style, and design here is so much better than Silicon Valley. It’s why I wanted to move here personally, as it’s something that’s important to me. And there’s none of it in the Bay Area. So I’m pretty excited about that. And if you can get designers here, you can certainly build iconic companies like Airbnb or Square, which are more design driven than engineering driven.
I think that’s an easier starting place. The designers, whether they’re in New York, whether they’re in the Bay Area, whether they’re just recent graduates, get them to come here and then build around them. I also think you can build companies that require less engineering. So Cameo, for example, I don’t think they’d mind me sharing, it’s basically only 50 engineers for a billion dollar company. So you could build that sort of company here. If you need 1000 engineers, though, that might be a problem.
Then again you have Hugging Face moving to South Florida — and they are definitely doing cutting edge engineering and AI work. It helps, perhaps that they were alway a part-remote company, split between Brooklyn and Paris. Well now, Fort Lauderdale and Paris perhaps.
I’m looking forward to spending more time in South Florida, and glad to see it’s becoming a serious place for tech and business — with a morning run/bike by the beach year round. A “Tel Aviv of the West” as some have put it.