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Most Innovative Cities in US – Why Not San Diego? (Part 2)

We recently responded to Fast Company’s feature about the edgiest cities reshaping our nation’s future, by posing the question: Why isn’t San Diego on the list?

Granted, as a company with its HQ in San Diego, we are likely a little biased. But we sincerely (and quasi objectively) believe our city is as innovative, progressive, and forward-thinking as the best of them.

Last week we highlighted some of San Diego’s environmentally-savvy initiatives, including going carbon neutral. Today, we’re keeping the conversation going by highlighting the tech industry’s migration to and expansion across our sunny shores.

We’re a Prospering Tech Hub

While the Bay Area catches a lot of national attention for innovation, San Diego has also been quietly driving innovation across the nation (and the world) for decades. Our history and recent numbers show this. We have world-renowned institutions that cured polio (Salk), caught the early signals of climate change (Scripps Institution of Oceanography and the Keeling Curve), and reinvented communication technology (Qualcomm).

More recently, according to a 2013 report from Connect.org, a total of 412 (documented) new tech businesses were added to our city’s tally, along with 1,200 new jobs. A year later, the next Connect report tallied another 228 startups in the first half of 2014 — the most ever created in San Diego at that rate — of which 128 were in the software industry, 43 in communications, and 46 in the life sciences and environmental technology industry.

This innovative spirit is in San Diego’s DNA, according to Greg McKee, CEO of Connect.org. ”We have some of the brightest minds in the world here in San Diego and there’s not enough exposure for what they’re working on or accomplishing. People are tackling some of the most difficult challenges facing our world today to make life better for generations to come – disease, aging, understanding the human brain.”

San Diego’s Positioned to Improve Cybersecurity

Cybersecurity is one of the world’s fastest growing industries, tasked with one of the most important jobs related to online commerce, data storage, and software development. Being a city with strong ties to the military and a rapidly emerging Internet technology and software ecosystem, San Diego’s cybersecurity industry has been gathering momentum right under our noses for years (see Cyberhive for more info). Selfishly, we hope that this emerging industry ushers in Gigafiber and city-wide free wifi sooner rather than later. This is on Mayor Kevin Faulconer’s radar too.

To strengthen our position as a leader in cybersecurity, the University of San Diego recently announced the creation of a center that will focus exclusively on cyber-security at a graduate degree level. The USD Center for Cyber Security Engineering and Technology will become part of the city’s technology security cluster, which includes the Navy’s Space and Naval Warfare System Command Center and anti-virus software maker, ESET, among others. Also, check out the aptly named Sherlock, over at San Diego’s Supercomputer Center.

“Just look to the Downtown skyline and you’ll see how our business leaders have reshaped our community and our economy for the better,” says Kris Michell, President and CEO of the Downtown San Diego Partnership. “Whether it is the new Central Library, Petco Park or the San Diego Convention Center, the business community has been an important partner in making those iconic structures a reality. But the work of the business community is not only about bricks and mortar, it is about investing in our communities to ensure opportunity for every San Diegan.”

The more tech industries we have in San Diego, the better. This not only drives high-paid job creation, it also debunks the perception that our tech industry has a “second-job problem”. In our industry, I can tell you from experience the digital marketing industry is booming in San Diego. There are plenty of opportunities to contribute to our city’s innovation and creative economy. In fact, we are always looking for talented folks, so feel free to apply.

The city’s growing tech presence is written on our streets, within the city’s heartbeat, and we’re seeing incredible development across industries. We believe the best is yet to come, so stay tuned. I’m willing to bet that, before you know it, San Diego will be featured in Fast Company’s list of innovative cities.

In our final installment of this discussion, we’ll dive deeper into the Urban Renaissance happening downtown and let you in on a few developments regarding our upcoming relocation to the East Village.

 

 

Photo Credit: Marilyn Ordorica

 

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