Saturday, March 20, 2010

A Letter to Sergey and Larry (founders of Google)

Sergey and Larry,

As you may know, everyone here in Sarasota, Florida is excited about the prospects of Google Fiber. Over the past few weeks, we have renamed an island, threw our mayor in a tank with sharks, and almost every business in town is called Google.  If these seem like stunts to simply get your attention...(well)... then you would be right. 

You see, Sarasota probably wouldn't even have been considered in your search for the best city. Probably because we are mostly known for our sunshine and beautiful beaches (like most of Florida). But now that we got your attention, our hope is you take the time to learn more about us.

So let me start off by giving you a little history... in the early 1900's, a man named John Ringling setup shop here and saw a bright future for his enterprise. He was one of the most brilliant entrepreneurs in American history, and he laid the foundation for our unique town by combining the bravado of entrepreneurship with the love or arts and culture. And to this day, we can see the evolution of his spirit in the fabric of our community and great institutions like the Ringling College of Art and Design - which is known nationally as the top producer of digital animation talent in the world.

Another one of our founders was Bertha Honore Palmer, who also was a lover of the arts and nature. Married to a successful entrepreneur in Chicago, they moved down to Sarasota to develop a new life. Much like her life, the legacy of nature conservation is seen through institutions like Mote Marine Laboratory which leads the world in marine research or projects like Florida's Power and Light largest Solar Plant is located here in Sarasota, Florida. Our appreciation for nature and quality of life is seen in how we apply technology.

I realize there are many factors that go into your decision. Clearly, if it was solely based on community support and outreach - we would definately be on the short list. So I took the liberty in putting together a few thoughts for you to consider as you go through your checklist:

1. Weather - You mentioned weather was a important to allow for a speedy deployment. Well, Sarasota weather is unbeatable. It is one of the reasons, Comcast used Sarasota as a test-market for its broadband rollout in the late '90s.

2. Market Diversity - Sarasota has a diverse population, specifically by the age demographic. If you are looking to get accurate adoption statistics, and understand conversion from dial-up or old broadband to the new fiber service, Sarasota will give you market research that accuraely reflects the age demographics of the country (which is the most important demongraphic for broadband adoption.)

3. Local Government Support - (come'on our mayor jumped into a shark tank...'nuff said)

4. Community Support - We currently rank top 5 cities in community support. Our Facebook Fans have gone through the roof, and through the support of the entire community we were able to coverage in over 100 newspapers and on all major TV stations.  Not bad, for a small town :)

5. Infrastructure - We got everything you need - a little dark fiber, poles, right-a-ways and we have two providers (Verizon and Comcast) that could be great partners in building out your test network.

So in summary... I know there are so many choices, and I am sure you may even already made up your mind on a few. But I know (deep down) there was a reason why you asked for community support. This is more than a business decision based on data... this is a decision that could use momentum. You are entering a new market, and no matter how well you plan it out... there will be road blocks. And the last thing you want to do is fight battles on territories that didn't even take the time to submit an application (much less name an island after you).

Maybe you didn't expect the overwhelming fervor over Google Fiber. Certainly you didn't expect cities doing crazy things...  but guess what.... they did. And despite the nay-sayers on those Silcon Valley blogs saying "the antics don't matter"... I think both of us know they do.  Because whether it was intended or not - you created a ground swell in certain parts of the country - and those "crazy" antics are now part of the conversation....

So all I ask.... is to take in consideration --  that there is a direct correlation to the buzz and support we have shown in nominating Sarasota - and the ultimate success you will have if you choose our community.

(anytime you want to visit, let me know... we would love to have you)



1 comment:

Gayle said...

We are having a lot of fun with what could be a very serious issue for all of us. Google wants a location that will be the perfect test market with the fewest hassles. We are looking to improve our business environment (ultra high speed Internet access) to help our existing industries and bring a few new ones to diversify our economic market.

C'mon we have one of the hardest hit labor markets IN THE COUNTRY with well over 13% of the labor force unemployed, not to mention the significant percentage of underemployed. Don't fool yourself. Not everyone is rich and sitting on the beach. This is a serious business town with a lot of entrepreneurial energy just waiting to be unleashed or boosted with some Google Fiber.

Sergey and Larry, Sarasota is serious!