‘Miami Tech Week’ Unprepared. But Hype Is Contagious
Farhaj Mayan was is just beginning to raise seeds for the beginning of his cannabis career when a few traders urged him to go east. “Come to Miami,” he told her. “Many people will attend.”
Mayan, who lives in Oklahoma City, bought a plane ticket and booked Airbnb. He later found out that Keith Rabois, a business capital who had recently moved to Miami, was conducting four-week relationships with entrepreneurs and businesses. Mayan registered, entered, and arrived in the city on Wednesday, just before the start of a possible party gather 100 people “Exploring ideas, designing, and expanding their networks.”
When the Mayan plane arrived, more than 100 people had arrived. The plane was crawling with money-making capitalists. A large road sign urged city dwellers to “consider Miami as the next state of the art.” A few miles away, more than 200 people gathered in front of City Hall to hear Mayor Francis Suarez toast to a technical future in Miami. Later, people joined in to take pictures of him. The city had hosted the entire “Miami Tech Week,” a term that did not refer to a meeting or event, but grace.
“Ladies and Gentlemen, Welcome to Miami Tech Week,” said Delian Asparouhov, founder of the Founders Fund, he wrote on the Sabbath. “I know at least 100 founders, VCs and everyone else who is flying.” In response, hundreds of people took turns when and where they wanted to stay. Flights from San Francisco have more than doubled their normal cost, according to Google Flights. “I knew the tweet would start again,” Asparouhov said. “It made a secret meeting in vain.”
“It has evolved into a meaningless event,” Mayan said. He invited several start-up friends to share Airbnb; now, he knows 35 people are flying. “We all call it SXSE.”
The Miami Tech Sabbath celebration may last for just a few days, but the expansion of the city has been under construction for several months. Top businesses like Rabois and Jack Abraham moved there last year from San Francisco, and shared more about their new lives on Twitter. Others have followed, abandoning their fur coats and taxes. In December, Mayor Suarez made it his goal to become make Miami the next capital. He stood up a large sign in San Francisco which looks like one of his tweets: “Are you thinking of moving to Miami? Show me.”
“We’ve gone through the first group of people coming here, and now we’re going into the second wave where their friends are coming from,” said Ryan Rea, founder of Sky Organics, an ecommerce company. Rea moved to Miami from the San Francisco Bay Area four years ago, and has become an anonymous professional ambassador for the city. They love meeting people and showing them around town, advising them on where to stay or socialize. “Since December, I have had more than 75 meetings with newbies,” he says. “I had to tell my real estate agent to prepare for what might happen.” Miami has seen record house prices and sales figures so far this year, according to company reports—Part of a larger practice in Florida since the outbreak (and which is not entirely affected by the originators).
This winter, Rea and a few other Miami fighters have launched a WhatsApp group, called Miami Tech Life, to answer questions from the latest technology. Someone would move to Miami, find one of them on Twitter, and then join a messaging group to learn about events, make friends, or ask for advice. The group actively reduced the WhatsApp capacity of 256 people, and they are now communicating on Telegram. “We do everything from fun times, dinner, cycling, dinner, wine tasting, using the internet,” says Rea. “There have been a number of fundraisers in this group.”