I love Orlando, just not for the reasons you think

posted by Jeff | Thursday, April 2, 2015, 12:32 PM | comments: 0

I really dig living here. I've been thinking about that a lot since our friends from Seattle were here a few weeks ago. They asked if we missed Seattle, and the answer was absolutely, every day. But I think it's like having two children, in that if you have a second one, it's not like you love the first one less.

The longer I live in Orlando, the more I love it, just not for the obvious reasons. Most people think of theme parks first, which is pretty reasonable. I can't imagine many other things that would have caused the growth of the area to that extent. I totally love living next door to Walt Disney World, and it pains me to say that we haven't been there nearly as much in the last six months because of Simon's long school days. What surprises me is how much there is to love in the center of Orange County.

I didn't really start to appreciate it until I started working at AgileThought, where we have an office downtown, right next door to City Hall. Yes, I work remote about half of the time, but those of us based in Orlando tend to go into the office at least twice a week. The opportunity to collaborate and generally be social is a fantastic way to balance against the sometimes isolating feel of remote work.

We're in the middle of everything, including great restaurants, the arena, and the beautiful new Dr. Phillips Center For The Performing Arts. In fact, that happens to be where Diana works now. Downtown feels really vibrant, and it never snows. It's about the most right-sized downtown area I've ever spent time in. Most of it is walkable, and there are free bus loops too.

And back to the professional side, my talks at Orlando Code Camp last weekend reminded me that there is a whole lot going on here. It's obviously not as big of a technology scene as Seattle, and it's hard to hire great people here, but seeing well over 600 people show up for an event is pretty amazing. You would certainly never see that in Cleveland.

The area definitely has its issues, like overcrowded schools and a serious socioeconomic divide caused by the tourism and service economy, but things are pretty good here. The theme parks are starting to seem more like the icing than the cake.


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