Brian Kornfeld cringes whenever he hears that any ecosystem strives to be the “next Silicon Valley.”
What they should be doing, he said, is capitalizing on their own strengths while building community.
It’s the approach he tries to spread as he builds Synapse Florida, an organization that runs events around the state and will return to Orlando on Friday for the second time.
“Everything is about identity,” Kornfeld said. “What I’ve always loved about Florida is that it tends to be the most authentic state in the country. Keeping our identity and innovative thoughts, leveraging them and using the resources we have here are what will take this community to its max potential.”
As he unwinds from welcoming thousands of innovators, community leaders and entrepreneurs to downtown Orlando on Friday, he chatted briefly with Orlando Tech News, sharing his team’s mission along with a message to those who remain on the fence about engaging the community his team at Synapse is building.
Spoiler alert: He says you should be a part of it.
Q: Thanks for joining me Brian. Give me and my readers an idea of Synapse Florida, why it’s important to the community.
A: Synapse’s mission has always been to make Florida an incredible place to innovate and grow innovative organizations. We want the community to scale, start new companies and hire talent. We focus on the entire state because it just adds so many opportunities and resources together. Florida is a resource-rich state when you think of our university system, talent pipeline and some of the companies that are here.
Q: You have hosted several events in Orlando, including last Friday’s Synapse Orlando event. How important is this community to what you are building at Synapse?
A: Orlando is a big part of that because it’s home to so many of the elements that make up the elements of the Metaverse. We want to spotlight that and get this community engaged locally. We want to give those who are not sure how to engage a first step into opportunities.
Q: Where are we, as a state and community, when it comes to our innovation ecosystem’s growth?
A: A lot of the development that started places like Silicon Valley was done in the 60s and 70s. This takes time. If we can combine efforts and truly act as a community, ask questions like ‘how can I help deliver on collaboration?’ – and not just say we want to – the market will pave its own path. There is no limit to where this can go. For other markets, the future is already scripted. Here, we are in a very cool place because we’re still getting this scripted.
Q: We just had Synapse Orlando. It was phenomenal. What would you say to those who missed out and have hesitated to join this community?
A: Give it one chance. If you don’t [interact], you know exactly what will happen. If you give it a chance, you could open up an opportunity you didn’t realize was there. You might learn something new, meet someone new or find out something you didn’t’ know before.
Q: Finally, what message would you want to share with those who attended?
A: My favorite part of this whole event is not the event days itself. We set this up as a one-day event to propel the community forward for the next 365 days.