San Luis Obipso tech region

Image by Exclusively San Luis Obispo

By Joshua Erdman, IT Pro

Flour, eggs, sugar, butter, baking soda, salt…

Individually these ingredients would never be considered a meal, but together you have a good base for some cookies. The same can be said for the tech scene on the Central Coast.

Individually no one city can claim to have all that is needed to draw and support large tech companies. SLO lacks affordable housing and adult-focused nightlife. Atascadero lacks office space and could definitely use faster internet. Paso’s nightlife scene plays to a more mature crowd, but overall is more wine and production focused. Finally, Santa Maria has a sprinkling of tech and a larger population base but is more invested in agriculture and manufacturing.

But of course the Central Coast wants more tech and the well-paying jobs and disposable incomes the industry brings, so instead of regional marketers promoting individual cities as “tech cities”, we ought to broaden our definition to include the entire Central Coast tech region.

Mindbody has totally embraced this concept. As a company they have made moves that take advantage of our tech region – their main campus is in San Luis Obispo, but they recently opened a Santa Maria campus complete with a bowling alley and movie theater. A job recruiter for Mindbody will have a much easier time bringing talent to the Central Coast:

Applicant: “Do you have affordable housing?”

Recruiter: “Certainly, in Santa Maria, Atascadero, and Paso”

Applicant: “What about nightlife? I hear that SLO is full of college student nightlife. I’m looking for something more mature.”

Recruiter: “No problem, if you like wine and concerts I recommend Paso”

Once here, techies can find their tribe by getting involved in local technology association Softec and attending annual events like TEDx, the Robotics Expo, TechBrew and the Women in Tech Dinner. And over time, as the tribe grows, we can really put the Central Coast on the map as a tech region.

// Josh has been in IT since 1997 and never leaves behind an opportunity to learn something new. He is a true ‘Jack of all trades’, a skill he taps into with his consulting, as he is always on the lookout for new ways to merge technology with business processes.  In his spare time, Josh jumps into any opportunity to present technology and science to kids and loves public speaking.  To relax, he works on his home farm, building barns and fences for his wife who fills each corral with goats, chickens, and coming soon – a pig! Oh – and you should taste his home brew!