SD Software Group Looks for New Direction with Leader’s Departure

Bob Slapin says he was on the board of the San Diego Software Industry Council in 2000, after the dot-com bubble broke, and Internet companies were suddenly in dire straits.

“We had just an administrator at that time, and the board said we need a business person to turn things around, and I said I’ll do it for two years,” Slapin recalled. “And I forgot to change my calendar.”

Now, after 12½ years, Slapin has resigned as executive director of the non-profit industry group now known as Software San Diego. He remains on the group’s board, and wrote in an e-mail over the weekend that he plans to remain active in the community and in the business of software and analytics. Slapin, a software entrepreneur and lawyer, also intends to start a new software company here.

“I hope I’ve made a difference,” he told me by telephone. “Now it’s time to do other stuff.”

Bob Slapin

Bob Slapin

With Slapin’s resignation, Software San Diego and the local software community in general have come to a crossroads. With more than 26,000 people working in software development (and another 25,000 employed in communications equipment) the sector embodies the biggest workforce of any local technology sector—and perhaps the most amorphous.

As I’ve written before, San Diego has a cluster of analytics software companies and thousands of programmers developing embedded software systems for companies like Qualcomm (Nasdaq: QCOM) and Solekai Systems. We have clutches, if not clusters, of expertise in cybersecurity, specialized IT services, and social media. There are hundreds, if not thousands, of entrepreneurial coders at startups seeking to become the next big thing in Web services or mobile apps. Yet the big question confronting San Diego’s software community is where do we go from here?

“The primary focus of Software San Diego was … Next Page »

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Bruce V. Bigelow is the editor of Xconomy San Diego. You can e-mail him at or call (619) 669-8788 Follow @bvbigelow

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