Even successful, established companies need to keep innovating and looking years ahead to reach the next phase of growth.
That was one of the key messages delivered by Adriana Cisneros, CEO and vice chairman of the Cisneros Group, one of the world’s largest media and real estate companies, as SIME MIA, the two-day collision of creativity and tech that opened in Miami this week, concluded Wednesday.
Cisneros and other high-profile entrepreneurs extolled the virtues of Miami as a corporate hub and encouraged the hundreds of participants to use their talents to exploit fundamental shifts in business and technology.
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She described her family’s company, which is based in Coral Gables, as “a cruise ship, super steady. It knows where it’s going. It makes a lot of money but it goes kind of slow… It’s a really nice safety net, but I’m kind of focused on building a rocket ship right now, lean and fast and going for the moon.”
Cisneros, who co-chairs the founding board of Endeavor Miami, the first U.S. affiliate of the global nonprofit that promotes entrepreneurship, praised Miami’s business advantages, including its talent pool, access to Latin America and the Caribbean, and its accessible attitude.
Andres Moreno, founder and CEO of the groundbreaking language education company, Open English, had this advice on promoting Miami: Advertise a digital business via so-called “old media,” a model Miami-based Open English followed. The company, which began in Venezuela, started by advertising on television, he said. They needed a bilingual actor, and he filled the role himself—later admitting, “I am a terrible actor.”
Moreno said he would translate that into a uniquely South Florida pitch. “Go to Latin America and present a really funny commercial; show the lifestyle,” he said. “Brand Miami as a tech capital and gateway.”
He pointed out one cultural difference, though, that helped Open English become successful. In the United States, he said, knowing a second language is often viewed as an appealing skill, but in emerging markets knowing English is almost essential: It equals success. Before Open English learning English was often laborious and expensive in Latin America. Now costs are stable and manageable, he said.