As some of you may know 39 Inc. (my company) and Pikchur Inc. recently launched SquarePik, the first Foursquare client for iPhone with picture and video support. Users seems to love it, and, even if they are not a big number, most of them are really active users. That makes me happy. What really makes me happy is the fact that SquarePik is the perfect example of how we should cultivate a local tech community in places like South Florida. Yes, meetups and tweetups are important to know each other, exchange business cards and maybe create connections, but what really makes a difference is what we build. The more successful things we build, the more people will realize that there are talents to invest on here in South Florida.
SquarePik was exactly that: a group effort where local startups collaborate on something tangible. It didn’t take months of planning, neither dozens of meeting. It took two weeks of building and doing and making. Not only, we also had the support of other local geeks who helped us with testing, suggestions and trying to find every possible way to give us exposure. Doesn’t matter where we got featured and how many downloads we had since then, what matters is that we built something and now people know about it. Did it make a difference in Florida reputation as far as tech startups? No, but like Romans were used to say “gutta cavat lapidem” (a drop hollows out the stone), and a drop hollows out the stone by falling not twice, but many times. If we stop for a second to talk, and we start to build one thing after another, then we will be able to grow our community and attract those founds and that attention that everybody claim.
Do you want to help the your tech community to grow but you aren’t in the business of building things? Start using Pikchur instead of Twitpic, try Imaneed.com next time you need a plumber or give a shot to JCompare.com for your online shopping. And while you do that, give them feedbacks, talks to them, ask them what you can do to help them. This is how you build a real tech community, this is how you attract investors in South Florida, this is how you prevent the few startups we have to move away. It’s not about having the biggest group on Google or the biggest fan page on Facebook, because remember, even a pickle can have more fans than Nickleback .