Orlando tech community set for breakout in 2023

A conversation I had with a friend about the Chicago Bulls of the 1990s really got me thinking about the Orlando tech community.

Stick with me here.

As a kid growing up in the Chicago area, everybody knew that you don’t mess with Michael Jordan.

After three straight championships, Jordan retired.

His departure turned the Bulls into an average, run-of-the-mill contender without a closer.

They had no leader.

Fast forward two years.

Michael Jordan unretires.

During a transition season, the Bulls are once again contenders but Jordan needs time to get his legs back under him.

That is, he needed to knock the rust off and get back to who he was, which is the GOAT (fight me!).

Orlando tech is the Bulls

That’s what 2022 was for Orlando’s technology community: a year to get our legs back under us.

After some real momentum was disrupted by the pandemic, we have had to weather a couple of Jordan-less years, meaning time during which businesses and community leaders had to tread lightly while looking to rediscover their comfort zone.

Don’t get me wrong, now.

There is a tendency for people in this scene to take content and statements the wrong way.

I think we accomplished quite a bit last year and I’m 100 percent bullish on our community moving forward.

In 2022, more of the recognizable meetups came back to IRL meetings.

New organizations that appear to have a thriving tech community as their main goal popped up.

Existing organizations shifted gears, bringing their focus to where it likely should have been years ago – that is, businesses of all industries, shapes and sizes.

Some office shuffling introduced us to a new look for the tech community, including one of the region’s largest companies, Electronic Arts, now having a presence downtown.

However, it was a year of getting our feet and legs back under us as a community.

There is no ecosystem in existence that did not feel the effects of the coronavirus pandemic.

It’s a transition year

So, a year of transition is only natural once the majority started to creep back out into the community.

Fortunately, Orlando tech has some depth already and there is a ton to be excited about.

While I’ll eschew a formal “Three great things about Orlando’s tech scene in 2022,” there were a handful of key moments.

They could both inform our future and help establish our identity moving forward.

The flag planted this year in the Metaverse by the Orlando Economic Partnership was a gamble, but it was bold.

I applauded it when it happened. I applaud it again today.

Electronic Arts’ moving downtown also presents an opportunity for the region to continue to build an identity.

In addition, a wave of meetups and in-person events has already started to bear fruit, which makes sense.

Keep people inside for two years and they’ll come out with business cards a-blazing.

So, look, you don’t have to be a basketball historian to know what happened with the Chicago Bulls once Jordan knocked the rust off.

They won three more championships as Jordan cemented his place in NBA history.

Do we have that in us?

I think we do but now that the calendar has turned the page on 2022 into 2023, it’s time we focus on our accomplishments, learn to tell those stories and have them build upon each other to really drive our community’s profile and stature.

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