Carlos Carbonell, CEO of Echo, discusses how “cheese” and an inclusive, collaborative spirit make Orlando the perfect place for him and his business.

The Orlando innovation ecosystem is rich with high-caliber tech talent and boundary-pushing entrepreneurs. In an effort to foster a more connected community, the Orlando Tech Council presents “Profiles in Tech,” a new series highlighting the region’s top executives, innovators and movers and shakers whose ideas and companies are changing the world right from our own backyard.

This edition of Orlando Profiles in Tech features Carlos Carbonell, CEO of Echo, an Orlando-based tech company that developed mobile applications and augmented reality solutions. Discover how “cheese” and an inclusive, collaborative spirit make Orlando the perfect place for him and his business.

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Have you experienced an “only in Orlando” moment? If so, what was it? 

I officiated the wedding of my dear friends Eric and Joe on Disney property where Mickey showed up and proceeded to take a selfie with us.   

What brought you to the Orlando region? What’s kept you here? 

Came for the mouse, stayed for the cheese. In Spencer Johnson’s book, “Who Moved My Cheese?”, he explains through a mice in a maze parable, that if the cheese – the opportunity – moves, then you move with it. Within Orlando, I’ve been able to find opportunity after opportunity, and that is because Orlando itself keeps evolving. In this maze that is life, one should adapt, but it’s also best when your environment itself is always in a state of flux.  

What makes Orlando the right place for your business? How does being in Orlando contribute to your business success or personal growth?

As a small business owner, Orlando has given me the ability to connect, do business with, and learn from top leaders in various industries. The willingness for people – regardless of social strata, community standing, or leadership role – to meet, talk and lean on one another is unmatched. This collaborative spirit is now embedded in the Orlando region’s DNA. It didn’t happen overnight but it did happen consistently. From smaller town beginnings, to a community of transplants who are forced to meet new people and help each other out, to incredible growth due to immigration and US migration, to events such as the Pulse tragedy, so much has brought the community together, that there are few barriers to entry as a business owner. 

What makes the Orlando tech ecosystem unique? 

Not only is there an incredibly diverse skillset in the talent here, but also laser focus in areas that regions our size don’t have, including photonics, immersive technologies, government sector innovators and entertainment tech. It’s also perfectly suited for entrepreneurs and talent that are part of the new majority, including women, Hispanic, Latino/a/x, African American, AAPI, LGBTQ+.

What‘s one thing you wish Orlando had? What will it take to make that a reality?

What I would like to see is worldwide recognition as a great place for innovators and entrepreneurs. It will still take a concerted effort to focus on bringing not just larger employers here but nascent startups and smaller businesses focused in digital and tech. Aside from the fact that tech companies can be small but mighty, the pandemic has changed the way companies operate. With the ability of more people to have remote teams, tech companies may be more open to relocate but also will not be moving big teams. 

If you had to describe to an out-of-town friend what it’s like to live, work, learn and play in Orlando, what would you say?

A few things come to mind:

  • There are plenty of things to do, year round
  • There is more industry and opportunities here than most cities our size
  • It’s the perfect place to buy a home
  • You can see constant rocket launches from anywhere in Orlando
  • There is amazing and more diverse food here than in many major cities
  • You will never scrape snow from a car or driveway.

The short version: Living is easy. Work is constant. Play is year round. 

The Orlando Tech Council is composed of private industry, resource organizations and public partners that work to develop new programs with the core objectives: strengthen the Orlando region’s innovation resources, create new opportunities for companies to scale, and to amplify the region’s success stories, raising the global profile of Orlando as a leading community for entrepreneurship and innovation.

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