The marketing guru at RM Marketing Group says that San Diego is vastly underrated as a digital hub and the nucleus of techpreneurship activity.
San Diego recorded the highest number of startups in 2016, which proves that techpreneurship is alive and well in the city. According to the San Diego Innovation report, prepared by Connect, nearly 500 start-ups were launched in the city in 2016, or 70 more compared to the 2015 figures.
“Indeed, the city is a far bigger player in the digital arena than people realize,” says Ryan Mack. “This could be partly because Silicon Valley continues to dominate the narrative as the go-to destination for start-ups and venture capitalists.”
The innovation report, for instance, noted that 280 firms that opened in 2016 were software companies, while 63 were computer companies. Among the other industries were biotechnology, marine and aerospace technology, environmental technology and recreation.
San Diego is already positioning itself as one of the country’s leaders in fully integrating the Smart City concept. In fact, early this year, the local government announced that it will deploy 3,200 smart sensors as part of its plan to upgrade its streetlights as an Internet of Things platform. It’s billed to be the most ambitious plan of its kind in the world.
The sensors will be used to implement traffic laws and regulate parking, boost the safety of pedestrians and even monitor the quality of the air. This is also part of the city’s “Vision Zero” program, which seeks to minimize traffic incidents that may result in loss of life or damage to property.
As early as 2015, Internet provider Cox installed 250 Wi-Fi routes all over downtown San Diego. Unfortunately, it’s only available for subscribers. But there are a lot of public hotspots for those who work on their laptops and mobile devices, Mack says.
“This is why San Diego is perfect for people who are considered as digital nomads,” he explains. “These are people who built a career using the Internet. These are consultants, web designers, bloggers, writers, and techpreneurs.”
For those looking for an affordable standard of living in California (at least compared to San Francisco and Los Angeles), he says that San Diego should be their next destination. “This would be one of the most competitive places when it comes to digital marketing, startups and venture capital endeavors in the near future if it isn’t already,” he says.
Small and medium-businesses will also benefit from the willingness of larger companies to lend their expertise—as well as the strong support of the local government–to give a better chance for startups to succeed.
Ryan Mack is one of the more successful digital marketing players in the San Diego area. Although he certainly has the experience to work anywhere in the world and still make a good living, he prefers to stay in the city he grew up in to give back to the community. In the past 20 years, Mack has founded 20 companies and sold most of them.