REGION — San Diego’s tech sector is booming as more and more talent and businesses set up in the county.
But for Claude Jones, the community was lacking in connecting talent, business, organizations and other like-minded individuals. So, last month he launched the San Diego Tech Hub, while recruiting 11 others to form the leadership team.
Jones, along with Michael Roberts Jr., Yashar Ahmadpour, Nick Parisi and Connie Quach said the hub drive connectivity and collaboration through its five pillars — community, education, inclusion, innovation and talent.
Since launching, more than 300 people from throughout the county have joined the hub, including high school students, to take advantage of the all-volunteer network of tech professionals.
“We had a grand opening event at Walmart Labs and the whole purpose of the event was to showcase to my executive leadership team that San Diego was a place for tech talent,” said Jones, the senior director of engineering. “I started asking questions and they started listing these pain points. Organizations, companies and even individuals are working in silos.”
He said another goal is to showcase the talent in San Diego. The hub has focused efforts on group gatherings once a month and leveraging its website and social media platforms to drive interested parties to its Slack channel to connect.
Quach, who co-founded Codati, said another challenge the leadership team identified early was the region’s demographics, which is made up of transplants. As such, those individuals lack the resources to connect with others, so the San Diego Tech Hub fills the gap.
Breaking down the silos and biased opinions, Jones said, is another challenge for the group. Additionally, the group is challenging the status quo, such as the idea that potential employees must have graduated from a traditional four-year university.
“San Diego, because of its geographic location, has a bit of a challenge,” said Ahmadpour, who works for Analytics Ventures. “San Diego Tech Hub is here to fill that challenge. How do we give people the opportunity to connect?”
Another positive for the tech hub, he said, is the human connection through events and meeting a variety of people. Jones said another goal is to redefine what a tech hub means for San Diego.
Cloning such efforts from San Francisco or Austin, Texas, he said, is not a priority. And while the leadership team has established its pillars and drivers to increase outreach, the active community already engaged is bringing an organic component to the hub.
As a conduit for change, the group can share ideas, open-sourced material and increase connections.
“We want to create an inclusive environment and provide that connective tissue within the tech community San Diego,” said Parisi of Parisi Consulting. “Even how we use our Slack channel … it’s amazing how fast it’s grown. The types of help we’ve provided … is a mentorship program. People come to our channel for help.”