Justin Davis is the go to guy for User Interface/User Experience design and re-design. He is a true design fundamentalist and quite a character. We love the energy he brings to the WaVE space and all the backing his gives us. One year ago Justin moved his business Madera Labs from Nashville, TN to Tampa, FL. Here is his story.
“A year ago, my wife and I took a plunge we'd been wanting to do for years: we moved from Nashville, our home for a over a decade, to Tampa. We'd talked about it for years – a desire to be near the coast and in a more temperate climate had always been nagging at us, and Tampa seemed to fit the bill for the kind of place we wanted to settle down permanently. Among that excitement was a healthy dose of anxiety. We'd never lived out of Tennessee, where we grew up, and had never been so far away from family and friends. Not insignificant was another point of fear: how would my business, grown over time in the Nashville technology scene, fair with the move? What could I expect out of Tampa's tech scene? Would they embrace a newcomer, or would I be relegated to months or years of chipping away at a dense social shell of existing relationships and native trust? And perhaps most importantly, would a southern boy like me be able to find a good biscuit in Tampa Bay?
A year later, I can happily say that any fears or anxiety I had were, although understandable, completely unfounded.
I had good reason to be nervous. Nashville's technology scene is very tight-knit, and I knew the vast majority of folks in town working in tech. My friends were all involved in the tech scene, and the community there helped shape my entire career. Tampa had big shoes to fill. When I hit Tampa late last June, I went to work trying to ferret out the pockets of the community that resembled what I knew in Nashville. That research turned up groups like Tampa Bay WaVE, the Barcamp group and others – the mainstays of the community that formed the pillars of the social structure around technology in Tampa. Immediately reaching out to these groups, I felt a comfort that was familiar – the tech scene in Tampa was just as welcoming and warm as the group in Nashvi
lle. I was going to be alright.
Job Transfer: Moving a Business 710 Miles
Bolstered by the warmth of the Tampa tech scene, I had increased confidence in my ability to get my business restarted in Tampa. I'd mostly worked with local clients in Nashville, and knew that building a brand and local clientele in Tampa would take time – I assumed 6 months to get back to my pre-move levels. Amazingly, I got there in half the time. The tech scene in Tampa is built solidly around sincere relationships, and the people working here respect and help those who are working hard to do great things. Now, a year later, my volume of work is more that double what it was in Nashville. I count a large portion of that toward the friendly and cooperative nature of the technology scene here – the people in Tampa want to see each other succeed, and work to help each other get there.
In the Rearview and Out the Windshield
Looking back, I'm amazed at how easy the move was. Besides having no issues with the move itself (No flat tires! No broken things!), the transition into Tampa's technology scene was amazingly easy, and I've met folks here that will be life-long friends. The people here are friendly, welcoming and sincere – a decidedly Midwestern-feeling atmosphere that resonates well with my Tennessee upbringing. Tampa has a great group of talent that will only get better over the upcoming years. Sure, we have work to do, but the seeds of growth and success are here. While I don't have the privilege of having a long look at Tampa's past, what I've experienced in the past year has excited and inspired me. As I look back at my time in Nashville, it's with very fond memories as the place that helped me cut my teeth and set me on my path, and while I'll always be indebted to the scene there, Tampa's my home now and I couldn't be more excited about it. I'm thrilled to be a part of this scene, gracious for the open arms that the scene welcomed me with and honored to be able to play a part in helping build the future of it.
Thanks Tampa – you made a southern boy from Tennessee feel right at home, even *if* your biscuits suck.”
We are so happy to have you in Tampa Bay Justin Davis. You brighten our days but more importantly you teach us the essence of user experience and help our ventures flourish. For that we are truly grateful. Thank you for choosing Tampa Bay, and we hope you stay with us for many years to come.