I Predict

New things brought by the new year.

by André Natta


It’s the time of year when some of us with tech-based columns start to make predictions about what’s to come. It can become quite noisy, and most times, it leads to a lot of wild guesses. Here’s my take on what we can expect.

The “return” of TechBirmingham. It’s not as though they ever really went away. The nonprofit organization (www.techbirmingham.com) has been operating under the radar in recent months as they prepared to unveil a new logo and a renewed focus on “strengthening and promoting” the metro area’s tech ecosystem.

The scene has already received increased exposure this year—most recently culminating in a multi-day visit by correspondents from across the national and international tech scene. There are also several opportunities for those involved or interested in technology to find out more about it, either through networking opportunities like Tech on Tap and Startup Drinks, or via efforts like the still relatively new monthly OpenHack meetups (www.openhack.github.io/birmingham) taking place downtown at Intermark Interactive. The re-emergence of an organization that can provide a comprehensive first stop for those looking to relocate or imagine the possibilities will go a long way in helping the efforts continue.

Now on to the public transparency movement and efforts undertaken by individuals like Marcus Dillavou (previously written about in this column) and others. The desire from the public is there. The key will be to see if there will be an expanded level of interest in releasing the data from government officials.

The issue will no doubt be a major one this year across the state since it is an election year. Grassroots efforts like OpenBama (www.openbama.org) and this year’s TransparencyCampBama signal a heightened sense of awareness at the state level.

The expansion of The Bubble. There are times we need to take a step back as a community to actually see what’s going on. It’s as much an issue of patience as it is about self-awareness. It also an issue of recognizing other efforts underway while understanding which ones will and will not be useful for us. For every person who points to the latest loft development and new technological success, there are those who will point to the latest story about crime. I believe the more people see and share links to those pieces, the more we’ll be able to grow the bubble to include those who haven’t always thought they’d see a day when Birmingham was viewed in a positive light.

The expansion of that bubble goes a long way toward expanding the tech scene in the region. Here’s to getting the popcorn ready to enjoy watching it all happen next year.

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