You know, this article did a good job of laying out the "next steps." I am contacting a colleague at Oceanic Business Class to get them involved in the conversation. I would love to see them support a startup coworking space with robust wifi included as they to o would be a direct beneficiary of this type of biz growth on Maui.
This is a great article, but we need more than software. We need inventors, we need ....
3000-5000sqft co-working space? Put aside a 1000-2000 for a Maker Space (or help us build the one we have started).
We put in the laser cutter, small cnc bots, 3d printers, electronics benches, etc. and people can make real prototypes (and short production runs).
Computer Science classes are one thing. Teaching Physical Computing kicks it up a whole nother notch. And you can get kids fired up on it at a young age with not too much effort. Being able to program something that interacts with the environment is much more immediate feedback rewarding than esoteric CS exercises.
Lets build a Fab Lab here on Maui. Then start having regular Make-cations where Vistors (like the MaiTai folks or their employees) can learn how to make (almost) anything.
I note this line in the story: "Then there’s our university system, which lacks a robust computer science program. (As Tai put it, “you want the next Mark Zuckerberg to be coding here in his dorm room.”)" Indeed, Tai is referring to my former department, which could no longer fund my Assoc. Prof. position due to UH budget cuts.
For Maui to become a "Silicon Valley", it needs its Stanford University --- and for that, it needs its Leland Stanford. The word needs to go out to the world's billionaires wishing to leave a lasting legacy for humanity that they should build a first class research university on Maui.
Contrary to the opinion in the article, I don't believe Kahului offers any advantages as to location. It is not really a "town" but is a collection of strip malls and suburb --- a little outpost of mainland sprawl --- whose car domination is quite hostile to anyone on foot. Students or faculty on bikes would not want to be out in that environment. Better to locate it in a place where a new-urbanist real town could develop around it, as Palo Alto did.
OK - what Lee said is very compelling and has many valid points, some of which are in the past. I share some of your distaste for the seemingly ineffectiveness of our local institutions.
But this is not the last century and we don't have time to develop a new Stanford University and there really aren't people like Leland around anymore.
What we can do though is use virtual technologies to build bridges to other think tanks. Stanford and UC Berkeley have been podcasting their course catalog via iTunes for years.
Why not think about something like a satellite campus for Stanford on Maui? Or create classes that use the Stanford curriculum assets? Or bring in visiting professors from from Stanford on a sabattical exchange that exposes them to Tech Huians and not just to UH computer science students?
What can we conceive of that is new, modern, and utilizes assets and resources in a smarter way rather than attempting to reinvent something that took decades, boat loads of money and smart community supporters to build?
This is a great article, had no idea from the title it'd cover what it did...
First, a coworking space would be awesome. James Welch, me and others were talking a little about it back in June/July, but I've been off-island longer than planned (coming home next weekend though!). IMHO Maui probably needs two small co-working spaces one centrally located and one in in Kihei... maybe even affiliated so memebers could use either space... they don't need to be big or grand, in fact some co-working spaces evolved out of failed start-ups that had more space then they needed and renting co-working space was a useful way to keep talent close and make rent...
Second, mostly personal opinion but Maui really does suffer some from lack of top level tech resources. Servers aren't such a big deal (everyone I know is developing anything major on remote servers in the cloud anyway). Responsive internet and abundant WiFi however certainly is a big deal but neither of those is very easy to solve without huge capital expenses.
AFAIK all internet traffic, even local maui, still goes through Oahu. I need to run some test to be sure that's still the case however. It is at lot better though than the days when all traffic went not just through Oahu but onto the mainland and then came back to Hawaii from the mainland. It does mean however that we're always further away from anywhere on the internet than most places. It's going to be a long long time before someone lays a cable across the Pacific direct to Maui however so not much can be done about that. AFAIK there is still only one backbone provider to the mainland from Oahu and I lost track of what name it's techincally under now, used to be MCI Worldcom and UUNet, maybe now Verizon). Maybe there is a second connection out to Australia now though, not really clear and it's a pain to find that info. What can be done is making sure those connections are as robust as they can be.
For Wifi, a little public municipal WiFi at all public facilities (buildings, parks, etc.) would be a start and would encourage private business to step up there deployment to compete.