Brian Breslin tagged me once again, this time by e-mail, with some questions about doing business in Miami:
1. What do you see as the primary benefits to doing business in Miami?
Miami has always been a hub for South American business and ties are being made to the Old Continent through a growing community of Europeans. Miami's attractions include the outstanding weather, the facilities and infrastructure, the many options for entertainment, the great boating and watersports and the dynamic, multicultural, latin population. Miami's financial center, ports, airport, free-trade zone and top hotels and conference facilities make it easy to conduct business here and attract investment.
2. What downsides/obstacles have you encountered as a businesman in Miami?
More so than ever, Miami seems to be going through growing pains as the city booms. The resulting inconveniences include frustratingly slow traffic during rush hours or downpours and many eyesore constructions sites. Friends of mine have counted up to 30 tower cranes just North and South of the downtown area. The real estate market also seems to be saturated and overpriced as supply has outstripped demand for the first time in a decade. Of course, these things will correct themselves with time and traffic is not a real problem for locals who know the ins and outs of Miami.
3. How has being in Miami affected your company's short term and long term strategies?
Apart for a few notable companies in Fort Lauderdale and Boca Raton, South Florida is not considered a technology center. This means that for those of us working in the internet or telecoms, it is harder to find talent, interest, or investment. This has started to change over the past year or so and we are seeing new initiatives and conferences that will help organize and hopefully galvanize the web/tech scene.
4. Where do you see the most growth in Miami over the next 5 years? 10?
Because of the attractiveness of Miami mentioned above, construction and real estate values will continue to grow. As the city grows, there will be more interest in art and culture and we will see more top notch performances at the Carnival and Knight Centers for the Performing Arts and other, new cultural venues. The other top industries in South Florida will hold steady, including import-export (which is heavily dependent on South American politics and trade restrictions), healthcare, and finance. Finally, hopefully web/tech/telecoms related industries will make significant headway in Miami in the next 5 to 10 years.
5. What would you like to see in Miami in relations to the web and business?
A wish list would include better cellphone coverage, more choices in smartphones, greater broadband speeds and municipal wi-fi or WiMax deployment. This would foster innovation ... but this would presuppose easier access to high-tech venture capital.
I tag Alesh, Nick, and Monica.
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