Business letters: To be tech hub, PR is not the main concern

Published March 13, 2015

Trigaux column | March 1

It takes more than PR to drive tech

I appreciate the coverage in your recent article about the tech community, but felt I had to write to make an important point: All tech is not the same (jobs or companies). When I am speaking on economic development at business workshops or to government groups such as the County Commission, I make it a point to position tech in three different categories:

• Companies that buy and use technology — this is most of Tampa Bay's employers.

• Companies that enable tech (logistics or profession services) — Tech Data, Jabil, Tribridge, PWC.

• Companies that produce tech — Fair Warning, Numara (now BMC), ConnectWise, MyMatrixx.

It is important for our growth as a tech-friendly region that we understand these distinctions and the value that each brings in terms of workforce, wealth and global recognition. Painting the tech community with one big brush not only diminishes the efforts of those actually developing new products and organically generating high-skilled jobs, but it also perpetuates the notion that all we need is better PR to draw attention to our region.

As someone who has lived and/or worked in most of the major tech hubs, I can tell you that PR is not the answer. Regions are known for notable products and the companies/talent that creates them. People don't look at Seattle and say, "they have lots of tech events and great community PR," they mention the native companies like Amazon, Microsoft, Real, Tableau, Zillow, etc., or the companies that have recently opened up large facilities to take advantage of the region's tech talent. Yes, poaching talent, not tax incentives or cheap land, is the primary motivation that draws great tech companies to an area. Imagine having that uncomfortable discussion at the Tampa EDC's next board meeting.

Central Florida's tech community has much to be proud of, but we also realize that there is much more to do, and the promise of national/global recognition rests squarely on the shoulders of those companies that focus on solving problems and building great products.

Please keep up the good coverage of this journey. Feel free to reach out to folks who understand that products, not puffery (or swagger), are the path to building a sustainable tech ecosystem.

Ken Evans, Tampa

(Evans has worked for various Tampa area technology firms. He currently serves as the interim CMO for a security company in Reston, Va.)

High-rise nuisance | Feb. 28

Forget the gossip; stick to real news

The high spot of my early-morning is coffee with the Tampa Bay Times. My low is when I read the business page. Saturday's features were "High-rise nuisance sued," and "You can even eat the dishes." I question whether your readers expect these as business news. Don't your business page readers deserve serious articles on the national economy, investment news, and state and local developments? Instead you dish out light gossip such as "Warren Buffet drinks his first Coke of the day for breakfast." Mayor Buckhorn is encouraging business investment here in Tampa Bay. Are you providing the kind of business news relocating businesses want and expect? This light-hearted page is fun, but another page of genuine and valuable news is needed.

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Burton Osiason, Tampa

Mature tastes | March 1

Right on the mark with shopper bios

Sean Daly absolutely hit the nail on the head. His story was absolutely hysterical and spot on. His field guide to upscale grocery shoppers was a hoot! I have been a Publix shopper my whole life and it is as if Sean Daly was helping me in the parking lot and the store. The story made my day. His research must have been daunting, but as accurate as he was with Publix, I must assume he had all the stores right on the mark. Great work, Mr. Daly.

Judy Lavaron, St. Petersburg

Florida adds jobs, but Feb. 22

Letter cut to core of 'jobs' success

The letter by Linda Alexionok of Voices for Florida deserves to be front-page news. It cuts to the heart of what this state is doing to keep working-class Floridians begging at the door. This is despicable in view of the amount of wealth in our state. While Gov. Scott shouts, "jobs, jobs, jobs," we know the real agenda is to continue to provide a cheap labor force for the greedy corporations. Every working Floridian understands this basic truth because it reflects their everyday existence.

John R. Gallo, Ruskin

Gender pay gap costly for women | Feb. 24

If they withhold pay, withhold vote

Not only have women come a long way, they are an important driving force in the economy, with surging numbers in the workplace. But women are still being discriminated against, as the gender pay gap indicates.

It's not as though men are more intelligent. They also don't work any harder or do a better job. Yet women continue to earn roughly 77 cents for every dollar a man makes. To fix this issue, we'd need a gender pay equality bill. The only way to get any action is for women to vote strictly for those legislators who support equal pay and are willing to pass such a bill. Indeed, hit them where it hurts.

JoAnn Lee Frank, Clearwater

Construction workers

Union wages and benefits needed

The reason there is a shortage is because of the lack of unionized workers. The associated builders and contractors has always been anti-union. Without union wages and benefits, there is very little incentive to work in the building trades.

Steven Moran, Largo