Author Archives: C. DAY

Florida Small Business Credit Initiative

Florida Department of Economic Opportunity’s State Small Business Credit Initiative Informational

The Florida Department of Economic Opportunity combines the state’s economic, workforce, and community development efforts, expediting economic development projects to fuel job creation in competitive communities and promote economic resiliency. For more information, including valuable resources for employers and job seekers, please visit

The American Rescue Plan Act reauthorized and expanded the State Small Business Credit Initiative (SSBCI) to provide $10 billion to support small businesses and empower them to access the capital needed to invest in job-creating opportunities as the country emerges from the pandemic. SSBCI provides funds to states, the District of Columbia, territories, and Tribal governments to promote American entrepreneurship, support small business ownership, and democratize access to capital across the country, including in underserved communities.

Fact Sheet

Courtesy FL DEO

What Silicon Valley Bank Collapse Teaches Entrepreneurs

The collapse of Silicon Valley Bank (SVB) has sent shockwaves through the technology industry, rattling veteran finance capitalists and entrepreneurs in an episode that could impact the financing of startups for years to come.

Headshot of Michael Goldstein
Michael Goldstein, the Donald P. Babson Professor of Applied Investments in Babson’s Master of Science in Finance program

But, the second-largest bank failure in U.S. history also offers lessons for entrepreneurs seeking to start their own ventures, according to Babson College faculty experts.

“Bank closures are not good for anyone, but particularly for small businesses that rely on their deposits for payroll and to meet basic expenses,” Finance Professor Michael Goldstein said. “Startups are generally cash constrained, and so disruptions to their cash flows like a bank closure hits startups particularly hard. For startups, short-term disruptions from bank closures, even if it is only for a few days, can put them out of business.”

Goldstein, also the Donald P. Babson Professor of Applied Investments in Babson’s Master of Science in Finance program, suggests that entrepreneurs keep their money in several banks to ensure they don’t find themselves in the same situation. The Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC) insures bank accounts up to $250,000, but anything over that amount is at risk if the bank closes.

SVB lenders, however, asked many startups to sign exclusivity clauses, something that left those businesses in a vulnerable position.

Safety in Sweep Accounts

Jerome Taillard, professor of finance at Babson, said there are other beneficial options for entrepreneurs when it comes to banking.

Headshot of Jerome Taillard
Jerome Taillard, professor of finance at Babson College

“There are ‘sweep’ accounts for those lucky enough to have more than $250K in cash,” Taillard said. “These accounts can spread the funds across multiple accounts up to the limit of $250K and invest the excess above the threshold in money market funds that typically invest in ultra-safe, very short-term U.S. government debt instruments. So there are ways to be very well protected, even above the threshold.”

SVB became a tech mainstay during its 40 years of service, offering loans and credit lines to nearly half of all venture-backed tech startups. But, SVB also took on many companies deemed too risky for traditional lenders.

“Tech companies tend to raise a lot of money, roughly 18 to 24 months’ worth of cash, and then deposit it in banks and draw it down over time until they can replenish it again,” Goldstein said. “Unfortunately, the last year or so has been very tough on tech, with stock prices going down and many layoffs. Tech companies all had to draw down deposits instead of accessing the stock market for more cash.”

‘Earn What You Deserve’

Other tips for new startups include employing a solid chief financial officer, and to run operations using revenues from customers as much as possible, instead of spending down venture capital cash.

The U.S. government’s promise to make SVB customers whole has worked to stave off a larger banking panic, said Goldstein.

“This is kind of a temporary blip in terms of the banking sector,” Goldstein said.“The last year or so has been very tough on tech, with stock prices going down and many layoffs. Tech companies all had to draw down deposits instead of accessing the stock market for more cash.” Michael Goldstein, Babson Professor of Finance

Still, entrepreneurs can never be too careful when it comes to choosing a bank.“Look for banks that actually pay closer to current interest rates on the deposits,” Taillard said. “Make sure you earn what you deserve. The added bonus is that the banks that pay higher rates on their deposit are less prone to fleeing customers.”

Courtesy of Babson College Briefs, Babson is a Private Business College located in Babson Park, MA and founded by Roger Babson in 1919 rated number one for entrepreneurship in the U. S. by U.S. News & World Report. 

3 Ways Ambitious Entrepreneurs Are Using A. I.

If you’re not incorporating artificial intelligence into your work in some way, you’re behind the curve. Even the most suspicious and non-technical entrepreneurs could save time and money making use of the tools available, let alone those thinking bigger with AI and creating their own.

I asked entrepreneurs across all industries about how they were using AI tools in their business and their responses fit into three categories  –  Content Assistance, Content Creation and Research and Analytics.

Steve Vickers from Routes North is using AI to help streamline the process of commissioning new articles, using ChatGPT to “create highly detailed content briefs for the team of writers creating our Scandinavia travel guide. The tool has helped me by suggesting dozens of ideas that we haven’t covered before.” Vickers recommends that entrepreneurs, “feed ChatGPT with a few of your existing articles, so it gets a feel for your tone of voice and writing style. Then go ahead and ask it to create a new brief. You can even ask it to format an article outline it in a simple, user-friendly way so that your writers are totally clear about what to submit.” Use existing content to create a brief for future content to save time instructing freelancers.

In a similar fashion, Alex Goldberg from product comparison site Fin vs Fin is using Chat GPT to surface new writing opportunities for SEO, including to “identify new topic clusters, products to review, and generally streamline content creation,” he said. “It has helped me move from keyword idea to published article much faster, including saving time generating new ideas for articles and helping with content brief creation so that my editorial team can expand on each topic.” Goldberg recommends you, “start asking ChatGPT to generate all the boilerplate information, then let humans repackage their words content that’s truly helpful to the reader, being careful to add original thought too!”

Laura Rowe from Align Lifestyle is using AI to improve her time management so she can better meet the needs of her clients. “I’m using ChatGPT to assist me in developing bespoke growth and personal development plans to support my clients with their mindset and mental wellness, so they can improve their mental and physical health as soon as possible after consultation,” she said. “This has helped me create more balance in my working day, take on more clients and increase revenue.” Rowe recommends that entrepreneurs, “ask ChatGPT to pretend to be an expert in a chosen field, when giving commands,” adding that, “when you ask it to take on a specific role the results are so much more in depth and usable.”

The next entrepreneurs are testing the limits of what they can outsource to our robot counterparts. Once the writing is done, they use a multitude of tools to do more with the same material. This can then be populated in multiple areas using far less time and energy.

Aysegul Sanford from Foolproof Living is using Notion AI and Jasper to generate short blurbs for engaging social media posts for multiple platforms. “These tools help me write several catchy social media posts within minutes, which then I can easily schedule on different platforms in the upcoming months,” she said. “I can now create and schedule content in a fraction of the time, and as a result, I eliminated the need to hire another person.” Sanford recommends that entrepreneurs, “play around with multiple AI tools and be patient as you create your own workflow.”

Speaker and coach Willo Sana is also turning content into social media posts with the help of AI, using ChatGPT to extract key insights from her upcoming book, Double Down on Your Genius. “It’s pulling out the best quotes from each chapter and writing a caption to accompany each one,” she said. “This has helped me create hundreds of ready-to-publish social posts in mere minutes!” Echoing Sanford’s advice, Sana recommends that you start playing, “even just to learn different prompts and see what they can do. I’ve been working on teaching it my writing style, and while it doesn’t always hit the mark, it’s gotten way better than when I started.”

Kalyan Ray-Mazumder from Prepmedians is going beyond the words, using Midjourney to enhance social media marketing posts by “creating beautiful and resonant images” that he displays “as green screen backgrounds using a TikTok filter inside the app’s editing software,” he said, “This process has helped me increase audience watch times, thereby fueling the algorithms to increase impressions of the post, all without having to hire artists or use dreadful stock photography.” Ray-Mazumder invites entrepreneurs to experiment with Midjourney to create images that are cohesive with their brand assets and elevate their social media presence.

Research and analytics

Artificial intelligence tools have far wider application than simply planning and creating content. Used in the right way, they can save time researching and analyzing, creating more space to do something with the data. Long gone are trawling through articles, manual data entry and complicated excel formulae. Instead, these entrepreneurs are having crucial information delivered to them in a few clicks.

Harry Morton from Lower Street, for example, is using AI to stay updated with industry news in under five minutes per day. “I have configured Zapier and Open AI to find the top news sources in our market and summarize articles into simple bullet lists, sent as an automated daily digest,” he said. “Instead of scrolling through newsletters and newsfeeds every morning, I have a single email that I can read in minutes. Then I can dig deeper into the stories that matter to my business.” Morton recommends that entrepreneurs, “Consider all the sources of information you regularly parse and leverage no-code AI tools to make you a more efficient and productive entrepreneur.”

Will Green from Poem Analysis is also becoming a more efficient and productive entrepreneur, using various AI tools for market research. “Between Hotjar and MonkeyLearn I can visualize customer feedback in huge detail,” he said. “The tools work on our site to gather feedback from real users, understand the semantics behind the qualitative data, and produce reports on the results.” Green’s business now better understands, “what our target audience wants and expects from our business, informing the direction of future products and services.” Green recommends that entrepreneurs, “review all parts of their business, especially the bottlenecks, to see if AI tools can improve productivity and efficiency or help to progress them faster.”

General administrative tasks, including research, analysis, basic content creation and scheduling need no longer be done by a human. Learn how to use the tools at your disposal to remove the low-level tasks monopolizing your diary and do the work that only you can do. Connecting, strategizing, and being a visionary founder are what you’re here for; now there’s no excuse for that not to happen for most of each day.

Courtesy Forbes & Getty written by Jodie Cook, founder of

Gig Economy Self-Employment Report

From Gallup and Quickbooks here is the 2019 Gig Economy and Self-Employment Report revealing some interesting data derived from THE IRS and the Census Bureau.  Florida, Georgia and Vermont have the highest percentage of self-employed, and entrepreneurs in general fall  into five primary trades -professional services, repair and personal services, construction, administrative services, and retail trade.  Of those self-employed 54% also do work as traditional employees.


Workers are responding to increased opportunities and incentives to become self-employed. Traditional survey data has greatly understated both the level and increase in the self-employed population by focusing only on primary work, when in fact there has been a significant increase driven by people supplementing their incomes through gig work. This upsurge presents a social challenge, in that it exposes workers to higher job insecurity and limited access to health insurance and other benefits.


At the same time, many workers seem to like the autonomy and independence of these arrangements. They benefit from the income it affords them and are engaged in the work. In fact, self-employed workers with only one job — as opposed to those juggling multiple jobs — rate their work situation higher than workers in one traditional full-time job as an employee.  In describing and thinking about these challenges, public policy leaders, journalists and scholars will have to adapt to the more complex work relationships that are unfolding, as additional workers participate in the self-employment economy.

The PDF Report:

The Ginni Rometty Story: From Childhood Challenges to IBM CEO.


Ginni Rometty is the first woman to ever head IBM as its Chairman, President, and CEO. During her time at IBM, she led the company through a significant reinvention and established leadership in quantum computing.

Not only is Ginni an accomplished business leader, but she is also dedicated to promoting positive change in our lives, work, and world. She is the Co-Chair of OneTen, an organization working to upskill, hire, and promote one million Black Americans into family-sustaining jobs with opportunities for advancement.

Ginni was recognized as Fortune’s #1 Most Powerful Woman three years in a row and named one of the 50 Most Influential People in the World by Bloomberg.  She has a new book called Good Power: Leading Positive Change in Our Lives, Work, and World, which chronicles her journey from a challenging childhood to becoming the CEO of IBM.

Take advantage of this opportunity to hear from one of the most remarkable people in the business world as interviewed by Guy Kawasaki on his podcast Remarkable People. Guy is a well known speaker in entrepreneurship who is a Silicon Valley venture capitalist who was responsible at Apple for marketing the Macintosh computer.

Fearless Leader for Women’s History Month

Getting rejected by more than 100 investors can be disheartening, to say the least. But Melanie Perkins didn’t let it stop her from landing seed capital for her design startup. Instead of giving up, she kept learning, refining her strategy, and updating her pitch deck until she got a yes, as she discussed in an interview with Forbes.

That persistence paid off when Perkins finally connected with the investor who would help her realize her dream of launching Canva, an online design and publishing tool that aims to make design simple for everyone. By October 2022, Canva was worth $26 billion, becoming the world’s most valuable startup founded and led by a woman. It was just named the #1 Most Innovative Enterprise company by Fast Company and ranked #4 on the CNBC Disruptor 50in 2022.

Perkins has come a long way since starting Canva in her mother’s living room. Now 35 years old and worth $3.6 billion, she and her husband have pledged to donate almost all their wealth. Her drive and determination to take big, bold bets have shaped her business.

“…One of the values that we have explicitly stated at Canva is to set crazy big goals and make them happen. And I happen to be very inspired by crazy big goals,” Perkins said in a 2022 interview. We can’t wait to see the impact she creates by striving toward whatever “crazy big goals” come next.

Courtesy of Case Foundation, Forbes and Startup Daily

5 Ways for Entrepreneurs to Optimize Content Intake

Our lives are saturated with content. We are constantly bombarded with information from social media platforms, social groups, news sources, the newest trends and influencers. There are far too many things trying to fight for our attention.

Where should busy entrepreneurs look when seeking out new sources of information? What sources should you prioritize—general news, industry-specific news, podcasts, social media influencers, video content creators or bloggers? And what about content that is not business-related? How should you optimize your intake of content related to your hobbies, recreational interest groups and entertainment events? And what about staying connected to your network, to old friends and acquaintances?

Here are my top five tips for balancing and optimizing content intake:

1. Prioritize between need and want.

In today’s fast-paced world, the temptation to spend time reading content that doesn’t directly help us achieve our goals is always there. There are many reasons why this happens. One is that we’re curious about what’s happening in the world and want to stay informed. Second, we enjoy learning new things and expanding our horizons.

Even though it’s natural to want to read about current events and scientific breakthroughs, keep in mind that a successful businessperson also needs to know a lot about their field. News articles, books, journals, blogs and other content related to your industry could help you discover new concepts. Industry-related content can also shed some light on other entrepreneurs’ experiences and enable you to learn from their mistakes.

Thus, I recommend scheduling two separate time slots—one for reading the content you need to know as a business owner and one for reading content pertaining to your other hobbies. When you schedule time for reading daily, treat it like an appointment with yourself, whether it’s five minutes or an hour. Because reading requires your full attention, you’ll also need to keep yourself free from distractions and avoid multitasking.

I recommend reading industry-related news at the same time every day. For instance, reading during or right after breakfast will reinforce the habit. Any industry-related updates could be helpful as you socialize with other people in the field or make business decisions later in the day.

Reading about your interests and hobbies should be done when you’re free from work constraints. The best time would be at the end of the day, as you’re winding down.

2. Identify your preferred style.

We can’t take in everything, so before deciding which news outlets to follow, think about the content style that appeals to you most. People have different preferences for getting their news and information; some like reading online or in print newspapers, while others would rather listen to the radio or podcasts or watch videos online. There is no one right or wrong answer here. Instead, you should learn in a way that works best for you. Once you know your preferred style, you can start picking your news sources.

One strategy is to seek fact-based publications. Look for proven authoritative writers in their fields and those who don’t express any bias. Additionally, you should only consume new content that is credible, relevant to your field and up-to-date.

3. Curate a mix of formats.

While you may prefer to read for an hour, the brain and eyes can get exhausted, minimizing your information absorption. Other avenues, like listening to the radio, a podcast or a YouTube video, can complement the knowledge gained from reading while giving your eyes a break. Try listening to a podcast on your commute or watching a short video during your lunch break or while you work out.

4. Focus on one topic of interest.

To get the most out of your reading time, zero in on something that piques your curiosity, then learn as much as you can about it. Make a concerted effort rather than a series of unrelated ones. In your allotted time, add in reading books, getting expert opinions and listening to a conversation related to that topic.

5. Socialize sans screens.

People are often the source of both new information and new opportunities. However, the only way to reach them is to engage with others. Even though many people dislike those who socialize for their own gains, consider merging activities you like with socializing.

For example, if you enjoy dancing in clubs, you can use dancing to meet new people. If you’re into arts and crafts, meet new people at art shows and fairs. While playing golf or going sailing isn’t likely to introduce you to any cryptocurrency experts per se, you may still meet some fascinating people who can teach you something new.

If you’re feeling apprehensive about meeting new people, try connecting with friends first. Even attending a couple of your friends’ events can help set you up with a potentially fruitful connection or put you in touch with others who could be of assistance.

Managing the information you want to keep tabs on can be a full-time job. As important as it is for a businessperson to keep abreast of developments in their industry, staying on top of current events and expanding one’s expertise in areas of personal interest are also priorities. These five expert tips can help you balance out and optimize how you consume content.

by Shamil Samilov of dNOVO Group

Overlooked Business Practices

Business ladies are life-long learners.

Simple But Impactful Activities for Success

So much of the advice you read about creating a successful business is about the big things you should be doing, like finding investors and doing extensive market research. And while yes, those are important, you don’t want to neglect the small things that can also help you run your small business more efficiently. Here are some tips, courtesy of Clinton E. Day, MBA.

Keep Learning

Find ways to increase your knowledge in your industry by reading books, blogs, and other resources

Whether it’s about business, your particular product or service, marketing tips, or all of the above, knowledge is power. Hearing from people who have been where you are and know the landscape can be a great use of your time. 

Take advantage of free resources like YouTube videos from experts in the field that can help teach you more about what it is that you want to do.

Make an effort to find a mentor or someone who has done what you want to do, and ask them for advice.


Learn how to delegate. It’s not always possible for you as an entrepreneur to do everything yourself, so learn how to delegate responsibilities in the most effective way so that you don’t get stuck doing tasks that could be done by someone else in the company or outsourced entirely.

Delegation is not only about assigning tasks to employees but also about teaching them how they should do their work. The key to successful delegation is to be clear about the task, the deadline, and the expectations. If you are not sure how to delegate a task, try breaking it down into smaller tasks that can be completed by different people based on the person’s skill sets and availability.

Outsourcing is a cost-effective way to reduce your workload. You can save time and money by focusing on your and your staff’s core competencies and giving the rest to freelancers. Outsourcing can let you stay competitive in the market by having professionals who are able to use the latest technologies that you and your team may not be able to do as well. 

Reconsider Your Business Structure

Changing your business entity to an LLC comes with a range of advantages. First, it offers more protection for your personal finances as any legal claims or debts against the business will not be attributed to you personally. Secondly, LLCs often enjoy attractive tax benefits that are not available to sole proprietorships or partnerships, such as deductions and credits that can potentially save you money on taxes. Finally, LLCs usually have more flexibility when it comes to reporting requirements and filing procedures. The easiest way to register an LLC is work with a formation service, but read reviews to compare different services before contacting anyone. 

Market Creatively 

Networking in person can be difficult, but it is worth the effort because it can lead to new customers, employees, partners, and more.

The first step to networking in person is to find a networking event that suits your needs. The type of event you choose will depend on what industry you’re in and what kind of contacts you need. Then prepare yourself with business cards or other promotional items with your company information on them, such as brochures or pamphlets if available. You should also have some questions prepared so that it’s not all about you. And you may find the perfect vendors or mentors there, too, if you take the time to listen instead of just promoting yourself.

You already know the importance of having a strong presence on social media, but besides purchasing ads, try using your social media sites to really get people engaged. For instance, creating your own meme with something that gets people talking or laughing means lots of shares and lots of eyes on your business page. Design memes that people want to share with their own followers.  

Create a Scheduling System

Creating a scheduling system for your business can help you stay organized and increase efficiency. An effective scheduling system should be tailored to fit the unique needs of your business and employees, taking into consideration things like their availability, preferences and capabilities. Additionally, it should be easy to use by staff and be flexible enough to adapt to changes in orders, staffing levels or other variables.

An online scheduling maker is an efficient and convenient tool. This may help you streamline administrative tasks, reduce manual errors, and allow customers to book appointments more quickly and easily. Choose a scheduling template and modify it by adding your own logo, photos, and fonts.

When managing and growing your business, it’s easy to miss the trees for the forest, to play on the old adage. In other words, don’t just focus on the forest, the big picture, but notice all the trees that make it up, the practices you may have overlooked that can make a big difference. Take advantage of free resources, delegate, choose the right business structure, market effectively, and develop a scheduling system that works for you. 

So much of the advice you read about creating a successful business is about the big things you should be doing, like finding investors and doing extensive market research. And while yes, those are important, you don’t want to neglect the small things that can also help you run your small business more efficiently. Here are some tips, courtesy of Clinton E. Day, MBA.

Article Courtesy of Marissa Perez of

New Univ of Florida President Atypical

Former Sen. Ben Sasse Takes Office as University of Florida President

On Monday, Feb. 6, 2023, former Republican Nebraska Sen. Ben Sasse officially became president of Florida’s flagship university.

The pathway to Sasse’s ascension at UF has spanned numerous months — starting last October. Sasse was announced UF’s sole presidential finalist Oct. 6 and his first trip to campus came four days later for public forums and private meetings. 

Sasse has contributed a variety of ideas to the conversation surrounding UF instruction. During the Oct. 10 Q&A, Sasse floated the idea of potentially having classes taught in the metaverse. He used a program currently in place at Arizona State University as an example of this concept, saying it could offer a “much more palpable and real experience.” He also pointed to new opportunities in hybrid learning across a diverse variety of fields, as well as harnessing artificial intelligence technology to improve career services at UF.

New President, Ben Sasse, University of Florida

In an article for The Atlantic in May 2022, Sasse proposed changes to how higher education is run in the U.S. Among other ideas, Sasse called on universities to “ditch the credit hour” and instead encouraged an alternative model more focused on experiential learning. 

Regarding student debt and rising tuition costs, Sasse spoke against any student debt relief. Advocating for institutions to rethink their pricing models, the senator argued that degrees should “differentiate price by field of study” to reflect the potential outcomes or “return on investment” for someone graduating with that major. In a Q&A session moderated by UF Student Body President Lauren Lemasters, Sasse reaffirmed his belief that higher education should be thought of as an investment, not a cost.

Many students and faculty at UF, however, aren’t as excited as the Board of Trustees about Sasse. Many expressed concerns about Sasse’s history on political issues, especially LGBTQ rights. In June 2015, Sasse released a statement regarding the recently decided Supreme Court case Obergefell v. Hodges, which enshrined marriage equality into law. 

“Marriage brings a wife and husband together so their children can have a mom and a dad,” Sasse wrote.

Others raised questions about the nature of the UF presidential selection process. New state law shielded presidential candidates from outside scrutiny, propelling some to argue students and faculty had very little input. Additionally, both Board of Trustees chair Mori Hosseini and presidential search committee chair Rahul Patel are significant donors to the Republican Party.

On Oct. 18, the UF Student Senate unanimously passed a resolution to condemn the controversial search process and the role that Lemasters played in the selection. The UF Faculty Senate passed a resolution of no-confidence in Sasse on Oct. 27 by a margin of 72-16. Neither of these actions were binding, nor did they affect the outcome of Sasse’s confirmation. A move by student senators to impeach Lemasters was not passed by its committee, so it didn’t see a vote by the whole Senate.

On Nov. 9, during a meeting at the University of South Florida, the Board of Governors of Florida’s State University System confirmed Sasse as the next president of the University of Florida. 

Despite opposition from UF’s student body and faculty, the Board of Governors and UF’s Board of Trustees both remained optimistic about Sasse. In an email to students and faculty, Hosseini wrote of Sasse, “I am convinced he is the right person to lead UF into a bright and thrilling future.”

Sasse has experience as the former president of Midland University, a small, private, Lutheran liberal arts college in Nebraska and as a faculty member of the University of Texas. After his election to the U.S. Senate, Sasse continued to write about his approach to higher education. In another 2019 article for The Atlantic, he critiqued the college presidential search process itself in an effort to “keep the openness and excellence that make our model the envy of the world in an era when China, especially, is seeking to exploit U.S. universities for espionage purposes.”

Despite opposition from UF’s student body and faculty, the Board of Governors and UF’s Board of Trustees both remained optimistic about Sasse. In an email to students and faculty, Hosseini wrote of Sasse, “I am convinced he is the right person to lead UF into a bright and thrilling future.”

Sasse has experience as the former president of Midland University, a small, private, Lutheran liberal arts college in Nebraska and as a faculty member of the University of Texas. After his election to the U.S. Senate, Sasse continued to write about his approach to higher education. In another 2019 article for The Atlantic, he critiqued the college presidential search process itself in an effort to “keep the openness and excellence that make our model the envy of the world in an era when China, especially, is seeking to exploit U.S. universities for espionage purposes.”

Synapse Summit 2023 Held In Tampa

Synapse is the statewide connector of Florida’s innovation community, creating opportunities for entrepreneurs, investors, and talent to find what they need and share what they have.

Through annual events such as February 14th’s all-day show at Amalie Arena leaders from all industries, backgrounds and careers come together to showcase their unique solutions, build connections, and demonstrate thought leadership. These events foster relationships where talent is hired, funding is secured, new customers are acquired, investments are made, and lives are changed. Synapse is elevating Florida’s profile as a global innovation leader by connecting people so they can inspire, energize, and impact the world.Brian Kornfeld, CEO of Synapse Florida, read a poem created by ChatGPT during the opening.

Generative A. I. took center stage at the Summit this year.

Corporate offices, schools, newsrooms and social media are abuzz with discussions about how generative artificial intelligence (AI) is transforming the world.  As an event meant to highlight and promote Florida’s growing innovation community, it was only fitting that the cutting-edge technology – and its potential use cases – became a recurring theme of the 2023 Synapse Summit.

From the mainstage at Tampa’s Amalie Arena to the breakout sessions crowding its halls, several local tech leaders at Tuesday’s event offered their thoughts on generative AI, particularly, ChatGPT. In November 2022, its development company, OpenAI, released the chatbot and its human-like responses to consumers.  ChatGPT amassed 100 million users in just over a month, which made it the fastest-growing consumer application in history. Brian Kornfeld, CEO of Synapse Florida, is among those exploring its capabilities.

“The use cases of it have just opened so many doors,” said Kornfeld. “And it’s cool to see Synapse is also opening up those doors.” He compared it to the era when people were still discovering the iPhone’s functionality. He noted it is now hard to live without smartphones and believes artificial intelligence and metaverse technologies could follow the same trajectory.


Joe Hamilton (left), head of network for Cityverse, and Cathie Wood, CEO of ARK Invest, were among the many presenters who discussed generative artificial intelligence at Tuesday’s Synapse Summit.

Artificial Intelligence’s use cases extend much further, as highlighted in a discussion titled “The Disruption of Generative AI.” The panel featured subject experts from around Tampa Bay, including Tim Moore, CEO of Vu Technologies; Beth Harrison, digital experiences director for the Dali Museum; Jorge Brea, CEO of Symphonic Distribution; and Thomas Stanton, managing shareholder for the Stanton IP Law Firm. Ned Pope, guild practice lead for AgileThought, moderated the discussion. He began by asking Brea how AI is impacting music creation.

Brea said the technology “is literally hitting every level right now,” from production software to songwriting. He also noted that producer and DJ David Guetta recently replicated rapper Eminem’s voice on a song using two separate platforms.

“Him (Guetta) backing this shows that this is happening, and happening really fast,” Brea said. “But also becoming better.”  Brea invested in an AI company several years ago but said the technologically-created music was not up to his standards. However, he said the platform is now “pumping out stuff that is comparable to what really talented producers are doing.”

Harrison explained how leadership at St. Petersburg’s Dali Museum has embraced AI for years. She noted that the artist was also a technologist and that the museum increasingly uses augmented reality and AI to better tell Dali’s stories.

While Sam Altman and Elon Musk founded OpenAI in 2015, the company began receiving widespread notoriety with its January 2021 release of DALL-E. The text-to-image program creates pictures to match people’s descriptions.  Museum visitors can now use the technology to visualize their dreams.

“It’s really what happens when DALL-E comes to the Dali,” Harrison said. “It’s a wonderful way for our visitors to tap into their creativity, visualize their dreams and participate in this kind of collective dream experience.”

 From left: Thomas Stanton, managing shareholder at Stanton IP Law Firm; Jorge Brea, CEO of Symphonic Distribution; Beth Harrison, digital experiences director at the Dali Museum; Tim Moore, CEO of Vu Studios; and Ned Pope, guild practice lead at AgileThought.

Harrison said AI can enhance art but expressed her belief that it will never replicate human creativity, at least not in her lifetime. Similarly, Brea later said that without a human factor, “we’re just going to be listening to a lot of shitty music.”

Moore’s Vu Studios is known for utilizing new tech to transform movie production. He believes AI can create pathways for those who lack that expertise but possess novel ideas.  He said disruptive technology is leading to an era where people can create content – whether movies, music or art – “at the speed of thought.” Moore relayed that it took him 15 years and a lot of money to establish his company, something the next generation of producers may not have to face.  “I really think that it (AI) democratizes all of the individual creators to compete at the level of the biggest legacy players in the game,” he added.

Cathie Wood, CEO of ARK Invest, was one of the summit’s keynote speakers. Joe Hamilton, head of network for Cityverse and publisher of the Catalyst, moderated the discussion on the importance of innovation. Wood is known for investing in disruptive technologies, including AI, and Hamilton asked her if she thought ChatGPT was the technology’s long-awaited consumer use case. Her answer was “yes and no.”

The key to AI’s success, Wood explained, is boosting productivity. While ChatGPT is already drastically reducing the time it takes people to write code, she said ARK looks to invest in companies with proprietary data.

She called the platform’s data ubiquitous, as everyone has access to the history of the internet. Instead, she believes businesses like Musk’s Tesla – which is utilizing AI to create autonomous taxis – will unlock the technology’s full potential.


Article courtesy of St. Pete Catalyst written by Mark Parker.