Miami area's first Internet street fair to be held on Lincoln Road
By Sherri C. Ranta
With the motto of bringing "technology out of the office and onto the streets," the first Miami Internet Street Fair will be held from noon-6 p.m. Saturday on Lincoln Road between Washington and Pennsylvania avenues on Miami Beach.
About 70 technology players from South Florida's Internet Coast in Miami-Dade, Broward and Palm Beach counties are expected to showcase products and ideas at the event, which is open to the public.
Director Robert Baum said companies from garage startups to major multinationals will be a part of the event, which will include the extra ambience of Miami Beach. Live entertainment will be provided by MTV II.
Miami Beach Chamber of Commerce officials are promoting the event as the first of its kind on Lincoln Road, said spokesman John Ingram. While people generally congregate on Lincoln Road on Saturdays, he said, this event would likely bring more people out and hold them there longer.
"It's an excellent venue for the almost any event," Mr. Ingram said.
In addition to a first for Miami Beach, the Miami program is the second large-scale event for Mr. Baum, who founded a company called Internet Street Fair. He said he directed a Chicago fair last year and plans another in the Windy City on June 23. Other Internet street fairs in the works, he said, are to be held in Toronto, Denver, Atlanta and Philadelphia.
"I talked to a lot of people in different cities," Mr. Baum said. "Miami struck me as the most natural place to kick off Internet Street Fair this year. There are so many different companies here that service Florida, the southeastern US, Latin America and other regions of the world."
Visitors to the Miami fair will see displays and exhibits by well-known companies such as AT&T Broadband, Hotjobs.com, IDC Latin America, StarMedia, Terremark and Viajo.com, he said.
Mr. Baum said new companies such as Premeire DV, a Coral Gables-based publisher of a technology magazine, will also participate. Premeire's first issue, he said, will feature a commemorative directory of the fair.
Among the fair's offerings, Mr. Baum said, are free venture capital presentation services from Coral Gables-based E-Filtro. Company officials, he said, are to evaluate 2-minute "elevator pitches" that startup companies give when they seek funding, Mr. Baum said.
"Come prepared and give your elevator pitch," he said. "They will tell you what you should work on."
WAXY 790 AM will broadcast live from the site between 1-3 p.m. The show will feature "Webstream Hour," a local technology radio show emceed by George Dubec and Kerry Brewer of Webstream Inc., a Fort Lauderdale Internet company that provides site design, hosting and promotion services.
The show, a stable on WAXY each Friday and Saturday, Mr. Dubec said, is a tool the company uses "to educate clients" and market its wares.
"We use," he said, "a marketing statement that the Internet is a business tool, not a cash cow and not a get-rich quick scheme. We show them how to use it."
The Florida law firm Gunster Yoakley & Stewart is the only corporate law firm among the fair's sponsors, which also include Star Media, Hotjobs.com, MTV2, Mellon United National Bank, Focal Communications, NGN, Terra Networks and Miami.com.
Charter Communications, a national provider of broadband services, is the fair's title sponsor. The company is providing Internet connectivity for most of the vendors and will showcase its high-speed, Internet-access capabilities.
Michael Steven Greene, managing shareholder at Gunster Yoakley, said he is excited about technology. The Internet, he said, is still in its infancy and his firm has a large e-commerce practice.
"Our firm is totally wired. We're networked all over the state. We have a virtual law firm. I don't know how we existed without having that kind of support," Mr. Greene said.
He said he and other attorneys from the firm will be telling people how technology and the law go hand in hand.
Seth Gordon of GDB & Partners of Coral Gables said the event is a great opportunity for the public to learn about new technology.
"So many technology-related events that come to town are for professionals at the convention center," Mr. Gordon said. "This takes technology into the streets and makes it accessible for regular folks."
GDB & Partners is represented on the fair's host committee along with InternetCoast, the Miami Beach Chamber of Commerce, the Association of Internet Professionals, Itflorida.com, Florida International University, Greater Miami Chamber of Commerce, AEA, Miami Internet Alliance, Miami-Dade Community College, First Tuesday and Technology Forum of South Florida.