Thursday, February 19, 2009

A South Sound Tech Universe?

This Sunday I am speaking at the "6th Annual Lecture" at the Bremer Student Center on the Olympic College, Bremerton Campus. The topic is on how technology can fuel economic growth given favorable conditions. Those conditions revolve around an educated and experienced workforce, invention/innovation and funding.

I am heading up to Seattle today to pick up a visual aid that I will be bringing with me. A poster put out by the Washington Technology Industry Association (WTIA) which is a visual history of the Puget Sound technology universe.

A synopsis:

The Puget Sound is home to thousands of thriving technology companies in a variety of sectors including Software, Aerospace, Digital Media, Medical Devices, Telecommunications, Webservices, and more.

In a joint project with Virginia Tech and Seattle University, the WTIA has created a poster which illustrates a portion of the industry by focusing on the movement of founders from six key institutions along with venture capitalists, supporting institutions, and many of the larger technology businesses located in the region.

The question I have, is how many companies or institutions from the South Sound are represented? Or a better question might be, can this Tech Universe expand into the South Sound? We have a nice cluster of companies here, but there are a lack of start ups on a comparative basis. It could be argued that it is an unfair comparison, apples to oranges, and there is truth to that. But we are only twenty miles out of the nucleus of activity.

But there are new advantages and opportunities here that suggest progress can be made in expanding our own universe.

Our workforce educated in Computer Science, Computer Engineering and Technology related degrees is increasing.

We have an organized angel group in the Tacoma Angel Network that was established only three years ago.

We have inventive, original and innovative artists, marketers, business people and community leaders.

Given the job losses in the economic down turn, there might be a number of people who need to create jobs for themselves by setting up their own businesses.

The funding aspect to seed things is still a major issue, but it still seems an opportune time.

For a great inventory of Tacoma and South Sound tech companies, refer to Jamie's posting at There is no reason this list shouldn't grow.

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