In April 2011 Edward Glaeser wrote, “Over the last decade, January temperature continues to predict growth throughout the entire United States.”
In May 2006, Paul Graham wrote that, in order for an area to be a ‘Silicon Valley’, it needs wealthy individuals, entertainment, a relatively lax attitude toward regulation, and a world-class university.
South Florida has all of those in abundance, except for the world-class university.
Connect the dots, and you get a business plan. The administrators — especially the fundraisers — of the University of Miami, Florida International University, Florida Atlantic University, and Nova Southeastern University should be tripping over each other in the quest to hire a couple of Nobel Prize winners in Chemistry, Economics, Medicine, or Physics.
They even could specialize, the one taking Medicine; the other, Economics; the next, Chemistry or Physics.
Granted, the region probably would become known as Silicon Beach or Silicon Swamp — neither of which captures the essence of what lies more than a half mile (1 km) west of the ocean — but there’s no point in fighting the public’s branding expectations.
Already, the headquarters of AutoNation, Burger King, Citrix, DHL USA, Office Depot, Ralph Lauren, Ryder, and a lot of other lesser-known companies are down here. There is a very healthy culture of entrepreneurship here, and I expect that young individuals in technical fields could do worse than to look in South Florida for prospective spouses.
South Florida has gone from being literally the end of the road to The Gateway of the Americas. It is time to take that next, logical step and invest in the region’s blossoming into a truly world-class hub.
Or, we can scratch our heads in wonder, as the geeks and nerds go to the middle of the desert.