July 21, 2013

What the Cincinnati Tech Scene Needs

Some fun discussion on Twitter the past few days.

tl;dr Maybe we should throw energy and efforts into making Cintrifuse, the non-profit, successful.

I'm not set on this as a solution. I've written thousands of words on this topic today. Deleted most of them. Below are the ones that are left.

The problem

I'm a fan of independant, expansionistic experiments - starting a meetup, running a conference, making a podcast, writing a blog.

Our region needs more innovation — more and more and more. 100x our current level.

But when we want to do something at scale, we need to centralize efforts. We haven't been very good at this.

Form a non-profit?

Maybe we do need a new, open non-profit with some sort of "constitution" that allows all of us to participate the way we want to. I don't know what that looks like — and sounds painful. But maybe needed.

But I wonder if we need to create new organizations, or can we evolve existing organizations to work for us?

Candidate: The Circuit

It might be cool to talk to Jim Cunningham about The Circuit, which is billed as an IT association. I for one would welcome anyone who thinks of themselves as IT into our web/tech/startup community. These people could be valuable to mix in with the younger web-tech statup scene.

Candidate: Cintrifuse

They're a non-profit with a big goal: to accelerate innovation in our region.

They're trying to build a bridge between the large organizations in Cincinnati to the startup community.

Jeff Weedman has a strong, compelling vision. I see him taking people through his paper presentation, over and over, day after day. He's doing exactly what he should be doing. Leading. It's our opportunity to follow.

I've now spent months co-located with the Cintrifuse team. Great people, great vision.

What community are we talking about?

I struggle to label exactly what the "top-level" community is. I really like the idea of adopting "innovation" as the word, over "tech", "startup", etc.

Especially if we want to centralize under Cintrifuse.

Some people are happy with calling it "tech" and would prefer to run with that mantle.

So we could call this big meetup the "Cincinnati Innovation Meetup" — it will inevitably be centered around the cool shit that tech startups are doing. But it does leave the door open for the greater community to engage. Hopefully it'll draw people from the Circuit's IT community, and the many terrific arts organizations we have.

"Accelerating innovation" is Cintrifuse's mission, and it's probably yours too, once you abtract it a bit.

Why not throw in with them? Should we centralize our efforts under their banner?