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Old 12-07-2015, 11:06 AM
 
6,899 posts, read 2,558,031 times
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"(when was the last time you used "harbor" around here?)."
Silicon Marsh probably didn't have the same ring to it.
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Old 12-07-2015, 11:41 AM
 
Location: North Charleston, SC
295 posts, read 200,921 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ziggy100 View Post
"(when was the last time you used "harbor" around here?)."
Silicon Marsh probably didn't have the same ring to it.
lol

Like it!
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Old 12-08-2015, 09:08 AM
 
289 posts, read 203,314 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ziggy100 View Post
It's entirely possible for this area to be a tech hub. It's a chicken or the egg thing, it has to start somewhere and there's a lot this area has going for it. It's a desirable location to live, investment in the area is doing well, the local economy is becoming more diversified, there's a concentration of colleges in the area, population is growing, overall cost is relatively low, local politicians seem to support this kind of thing, there's already successful companies based her in this field, and there's a lot money being thrown around for a city this size. It may not replace Silicon Valley next year, but it can be a viable alternative given some time.

10 years ago we didn't make airplanes. Now we design, fabricate, assemble, and sell them.
That's a bit of an overstatement on all counts. First, re: Boeing, saying that "We design, fabricate, and assemble them [airplanes]" is really only partially true. Mostly, the facility assembles components and sticks them into place. There's a new design hub, but it's relatively small by R&D center standards, and is really only focused on one small specific part of the design process. Mostly, Boeing is a manufacturing plant. Relying on manufacturing in 2015 is, quite frankly, ludicrous. Boeing is here because Charleston gave it the best tax incentives. The minute it becomes cheaper to manufacture elsewhere, it's gone.

As to the tech scene - several people who are actually involved with the tech scene (both locally and globally) have listed out some requirements for a thriving tech scene. Currently, Charleston doesn't meet them. Is it possible that it will meet them at some point in the future? Sure, absolutely. Except while Charleston is slowly trying to diversify, other cities are racing to expand their tech qualifications. It's a zero-sum game: there can only be so many tech hubs, because the best talent and the easiest capital will always go to where the action is RIGHT NOW. So not only does Charleston have to put the pieces in place, it has to put them in place faster than competitors, or else it will face a massive uphill battle trying to bring talent and capital back home.

And more than that, I don't think Charleston will ever have the kind of investor mentality that breeds tech startups. People are far to conservative with their resources. A lot of the wealth is concentrated in a very few old money families who have gotten to be old money families by parking their wealth in safe, traditional investments and not touching the principal. That's a colossal mindset shift that needs to happen before tech becomes viable.

Quote:
Originally Posted by imagineskyscrapers View Post
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_o...licon%22_names

I remember the original FastCompany article that highlighted Twitpic (GONE) and CreateSpace (is this a tech company?)

Introducing "Silicon Harbor": Charleston, SC, Home Of TwitPic And Amazon's CreateSpace

Benefitfocus is a sleeker ADP, CreateSpace is a publishing company essentially, Twitpic is dead, leaving a bunch of startups and PeopleMatter (where did their growth go off and die?), BlueAcorn, PhishLabs, and Blackbaud. Sparc was killed when it was picked up by Booz Allen and defense contracting isn't "silicon-esque" at all. "Silicon" is more of a culture, it doesn't matter where the term came from in its definition today.

Silicon Harbor was termed by the Charleston Chamber of Commerce, in an effort to attract technology companies, largely by Riley and his team working Blackbaud and Benefitfocus. It certainly wasn't termed that by companies because we have a lot of software companies here. I get where they are coming from; we should advertise for any business and "Harbor" was free (when was the last time you used "harbor" around here?). But if there is no university and research triangle, it's probably not going to happen. Google Fiber has nothing to do with that.

Speed of the connection isn't necessary to build a company. All other markets are doing fine without Fiber. To suggest it here, sounds modern hipster that wants to torrent all he wants at a quick pace like an a**. I'll be just fine without Fiber and startups will, too.
Speed of connection is critical to a successful tech scene. I've built quite a few web projects, and assisted on some major builds. When you're pushing 50 revisions per hour and downloading the entire thing (whatever it may be) several times a day, Comcast cable and ATT Uverse just don't cut it. You have no idea how much time I wasted waiting for, say, an entire interactive website to download. Those are hours I'll never get back. And most of my pulls were relatively small, so anyone working on anything more complex is going to be wasting an hour or three every day just moving files to and from a server.

All the other tech hubs have high speed internet that is significantly faster and cheaper than Charleston. The DSL and throttled cable that are currently the only options in Chaz (and not even really options everywhere downtown) are a non-starter.

Now, it doesn't have to be Google Fiber - it could be a municipality broadband initiative (won't happen because the state is run by republicans) or Verizon Fios (won't happen because population density isn't there to make it worthwhile for Verizon) or another high-speed competitor, but it has to happen.
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Old 12-08-2015, 09:12 AM
 
Location: North Charleston, SC
295 posts, read 200,921 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Lusiphur View Post
Speed of connection is critical to a successful tech scene. I've built quite a few web projects, and assisted on some major builds. When you're pushing 50 revisions per hour and downloading the entire thing (whatever it may be) several times a day, Comcast cable and ATT Uverse just don't cut it. You have no idea how much time I wasted waiting for, say, an entire interactive website to download. Those are hours I'll never get back. And most of my pulls were relatively small, so anyone working on anything more complex is going to be wasting an hour or three every day just moving files to and from a server.

All the other tech hubs have high speed internet that is significantly faster and cheaper than Charleston. The DSL and throttled cable that are currently the only options in Chaz (and not even really options everywhere downtown) are a non-starter.

Now, it doesn't have to be Google Fiber - it could be a municipality broadband initiative (won't happen because the state is run by republicans) or Verizon Fios (won't happen because population density isn't there to make it worthwhile for Verizon) or another high-speed competitor, but it has to happen.
This all sounds like you've never experienced business class. I've subscribed to business class that was 150 down 65 up. No problem there.
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Old 12-08-2015, 10:18 AM
 
6,899 posts, read 2,558,031 times
Reputation: 4691
Quote:
Originally Posted by Lusiphur View Post
That's a bit of an overstatement on all counts. First, re: Boeing, saying that "We design, fabricate, and assemble them [airplanes]" is really only partially true. Mostly, the facility assembles components and sticks them into place. There's a new design hub, but it's relatively small by R&D center standards, and is really only focused on one small specific part of the design process. Mostly, Boeing is a manufacturing plant. Relying on manufacturing in 2015 is, quite frankly, ludicrous. Boeing is here because Charleston gave it the best tax incentives. The minute it becomes cheaper to manufacture elsewhere, it's gone.

As to the tech scene - several people who are actually involved with the tech scene (both locally and globally) have listed out some requirements for a thriving tech scene. Currently, Charleston doesn't meet them. Is it possible that it will meet them at some point in the future? Sure, absolutely. Except while Charleston is slowly trying to diversify, other cities are racing to expand their tech qualifications. It's a zero-sum game: there can only be so many tech hubs, because the best talent and the easiest capital will always go to where the action is RIGHT NOW. So not only does Charleston have to put the pieces in place, it has to put them in place faster than competitors, or else it will face a massive uphill battle trying to bring talent and capital back home.

And more than that, I don't think Charleston will ever have the kind of investor mentality that breeds tech startups. People are far to conservative with their resources. A lot of the wealth is concentrated in a very few old money families who have gotten to be old money families by parking their wealth in safe, traditional investments and not touching the principal. That's a colossal mindset shift that needs to happen before tech becomes viable.



Speed of connection is critical to a successful tech scene. I've built quite a few web projects, and assisted on some major builds. When you're pushing 50 revisions per hour and downloading the entire thing (whatever it may be) several times a day, Comcast cable and ATT Uverse just don't cut it. You have no idea how much time I wasted waiting for, say, an entire interactive website to download. Those are hours I'll never get back. And most of my pulls were relatively small, so anyone working on anything more complex is going to be wasting an hour or three every day just moving files to and from a server.

All the other tech hubs have high speed internet that is significantly faster and cheaper than Charleston. The DSL and throttled cable that are currently the only options in Chaz (and not even really options everywhere downtown) are a non-starter.

Now, it doesn't have to be Google Fiber - it could be a municipality broadband initiative (won't happen because the state is run by republicans) or Verizon Fios (won't happen because population density isn't there to make it worthwhile for Verizon) or another high-speed competitor, but it has to happen.
You're missing the point. Boeing Reseach and Technology just ended up in Charleston this year. 5 years ago it was simply a fabrication and assembly plant. 5 years before that there was no aviation in South Carolina. I've heard people say that Boeing Design Engineering would never leave Washington because they have been there for too long. Look at that concept now. In the 90's everybody wanted to work for Microsoft in Seattle. Now that scene has shifted back to California. The tech industry is even more portable than heavy manufacturing. Your simple problems of talent and startup capital pales in comparison to what it takes to move manufacturing hubs.

You're visions of Charleston being only "old money" is severely out of date. Everyone I know with money is from somewhere else.
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Old 12-08-2015, 10:30 AM
 
Location: North Charleston, SC
295 posts, read 200,921 times
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Google's super-fast Fiber internet could come to Los Angeles and Chicago | The Verge

I guess Chicago and Los Angeles must have done the most marketing to get on that list, right?
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Old 12-08-2015, 11:05 AM
 
3,034 posts, read 2,916,002 times
Reputation: 1327
Quote:
Originally Posted by imagineskyscrapers View Post
This all sounds like you've never experienced business class. I've subscribed to business class that was 150 down 65 up. No problem there.
Yea you mean the same Comcast business class that rides on the same infrastructure as residential? The same infrastructure that Comcast placed almost last in the entire nation to upgrade because of the poor condition the local plant is in? The one that peers you out of Miami instead of Atlanta after jumps in Savanna?

The highest non Ethernet bundle Comcast business offers is 150/20 for $250/month. Chattanooga's municipal fiber is 1GB bidirectional for under $80. Google fiber 1GB bidirectional is $70/month. Even FIOS for 150mb bidirectional is $64/month.

To attract enough IT companies to locate to Charleston you need to be seen as a having an environment friendly to that business sector.

You need:
  • Quality, Reliable, Inexpensive Internet connectivity
  • Depth in the local workforce pool
  • Quality of life
  • Good transportation choices
Companies want to be around other companies in the same industry. Tech companies tend to have revolving doors of people moving between them. They often telecommute and work on again/off again hours. They need the bandwidth in the office and at home.


They want quality of life not only for themselves but as a way to attract potential employees not from the local area. They also need it to maintain employees.


They need good transportation to manage their consultants, support staff, and sales staff. Sometimes this can be handled remotely hubbing those people out of Atlanta, Charlotte, LA, etc. But smaller firms can't do that.


The education not only helps the workforce pool, but helps elevate the area as a technology center. People are one of a tech company's greatest assets. Thus you want to be as close to your resources as possible. Plus young minds and research universities spawn new ideas and creates an environment conducive of such. You want to be close to that, evolved with the local schools. It creates an atmosphere.

While Charleston has a great quality of life, it's an expensive city to live in. No matter how many little puff pieces like this they trot out, it's simply not seen as a Tech destination. A few successful small to medium tech companies doesn't make a "Silicon Harbor". Today's tech companies and their employees live online. If you can't offer top tier connectivity these innovators are simply going to move to where they can be. Today's industry isn't the same as it was 10 years ago.

A few companies have chosen to locate here. You don't have more beating down you doors because you continue to misunderstand the industry and what it takes to attract that kind of business here. Obviously what you currently have isn't enough otherwise we'd have a lot more than we do now. So instead of shouting down those of use trying to tell you want needs to change, maybe you might try listening.
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Old 12-08-2015, 11:26 AM
 
Location: North Charleston, SC
295 posts, read 200,921 times
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I'll give you that Comcast and TW business don't offer what they usually do in other markets, but there still is Windstream and WoW that can give you 1G-10G, both scalable and negotiable. Not to mention, those are necessary for large consumption; companies of 100+ users, which would have the budget for dedicated fiber anyway. I don't see connectivity as a big deal from my experience. Business class has always been scalable, you don't have to get the packaged deals (have any of you ever even negotiated one of these deals?). The Google Fiber argument oozes of shut-ins who want to torrent in their bedroom without Comcast caps. It's great (I hear), but you don't NEED it to survive or even grow. Many cities have been fine as compression goes on.

But I think we agree on the other points, as I have said them many times before. Tech companies aren't coming here because it's just not a significant market of talent, wages are lower for many reasons, and there is not a great deal of mobility in employment nor education. It's just a small market starting out. But the education has always been the key, problem is, it's the most difficult one to solve. You won't get companies coming without a pool and you won't enact sweeping change to QoL for the high-tech youth without significant enough market share.
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Old 12-08-2015, 11:51 AM
 
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Windstream can't deliver. FCC data shows it's one of the worst ISPs in the country for delivering capacity. I don't have a lot of data points for WoW. But you missed my point that the connectivity not only needs to exist for the company, but for it's employees too. While you may think this is about shut-ins running torrent out of the homes (which many tech people do... and want the ability to do), you're missing the fundamental shift of what today's tech industry consumes.

Yes, those things are scalable and negotiable for the business, but the costs are simply higher here for those scalable negotiable items because the infrastructure doesn't exist in enough abundance to drive down the cost. We currently have a 10GB connection, but it costs us far more than the same 10G connection in other areas of the country. So again.. costs are higher for a fundamental resource a tech company relies on.

Tech people place a very high value on high speed low cost connectivity. Not just fixed line but wireless too. If I'm a company and am considering locating in Charleston, which doesn't have a lot of workforce depth for my industry, I've got to pull that in from the outside. These employees look for things that fit their lifestyle. Comcast's high priced capped service doesn't place highly when compared to their existing FIOS. So again, it's a negative aspect of living in Charleston.

I've spoken with several of our IT vendors to find out what it might take to open or locate to Charleston as they all love to come visit and vacation. Everyone of them claim it's a nice place to visit, but their businesses would never work here because of these issues. The other item that always comes up is tax incentives. They've never gotten past the above issues to find out what incentives Charleston might be willing to offer. So like it or not, Charleston doesn't even get to the realistic consideration phase in most cases.
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Old 12-08-2015, 01:05 PM
 
289 posts, read 203,314 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ziggy100 View Post
You're missing the point. Boeing Reseach and Technology just ended up in Charleston this year. 5 years ago it was simply a fabrication and assembly plant. 5 years before that there was no aviation in South Carolina. I've heard people say that Boeing Design Engineering would never leave Washington because they have been there for too long. Look at that concept now. In the 90's everybody wanted to work for Microsoft in Seattle. Now that scene has shifted back to California. The tech industry is even more portable than heavy manufacturing. Your simple problems of talent and startup capital pales in comparison to what it takes to move manufacturing hubs.

You're visions of Charleston being only "old money" is severely out of date. Everyone I know with money is from somewhere else.
You must have hung around with a different crowd than I did. I spent a lot of time with the Ashley Hall/Porter-Gaud crowd, since we had acquaintances in common. They still largely run things. It's changing, slowly, sure. But it's not changing as rapidly as other cities are changing.

Take a similarly-sized city for comparison: Pittsburgh. Pittsburgh is trying as hard as they can to capitalize on tech. Charleston and Pittsburgh are close enough in size that they are essentially competing for the same resources - talent and capital. Pittsburgh is winning, largely due to some great universities nearby, and the fact that everyone involved in the city is going full-out to make it as easy as possible to start a tech company there.

Charleston, meanwhile, is split. Part of the city council wants it to be a tourist destination. Part of the city council wants it to be a manufacturing town. Part of the city council is working on tech. And part of the city council doesn't want anything to change and wants everyone who was not born in Charleston (or at least those people who were not born in Charleston and can't pass for genteel Charlestonians) to GTFO. Reinvigorating a city takes a monumental force of will, because there are a hundred cities competing with you for the same prize. Charleston might get there first, but I just can't see it happening.

Quote:
Originally Posted by imagineskyscrapers View Post
This all sounds like you've never experienced business class. I've subscribed to business class that was 150 down 65 up. No problem there.
I'm on business class downtown on king street. I think the most we were offered was 75/something, and this was about a year ago. Even then, the connection is spotty, and we still lose service once every couple of days for an hour or two. We also pay a ludicrous sum for it. That may have changed in the last year, but I can't imagine running a tech company on those speeds and at those costs. And that's for business class. For a guy tinkering at home until he gets some funding, paying $150 per month for a spotty 75 down is crazy.

It's not the ultimate nail in the coffin, but it is A nail in the coffin.
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