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Jan 15 2019 by

Robert Noyce, Mao Zedong and Lessons for Startup Communities

In 1957, a group of eight Silicon Valley executives lead by Robert Noyce resigned from famed Shockley Semiconductor to start a rival in Fairchild Semiconductor. This sort of thing happens all the time in Silicon Valley today, but at the time, it was a watershed moment that sent reverberations throughout the industry. The Traitorous Eight, as they became known, changed the course of innovation forever by injecting the region with an entrepreneurial ethos that continues to this day, and has made Silicon Valley the envy of the world.

Around the same time, nearly 6,000 miles (~10,000 kilometers) away, a very different type of revolution was taking place in Communist China. In 1958, Communist Party Chairman Mao Zedong launched the Great Leap Forward—a wide-sweeping series of economic and political reforms aimed at transitioning China from an agricultural economy to an industrialized one, and at consolidating power behind the socialist regime.

One of the first initiatives was the Four Pests Campaign, an effort to eradicate insect, rodent, and avian populations that were thought to be threatening the health and well-being of the Chinese people. Birds, in particular the tree sparrow, were the most aggressively targeted because they fed on human grain and fruit supplies. The sparrow, it was feared, would cause starvation of the Chinese people.

And, the campaign was successful—pushing the tree sparrow nearly to extinction in less than two years. The result? The disruption of a delicate ecological system that contributed to the Great Chinese Famine of 1959-1961, killing an estimated 15 to 30 million people. What went wrong?

By eradicating the tree sparrow, the government exacerbated the very problem they were trying to solve.

It turns out that not only did tree sparrows eat grains targeted for human consumption, they also fed on insects that were an even bigger drain on grain supplies. With a key predator out of the way, the insect population swelled and grain supplies collapsed, which is how the eradication of the tree sparrow contributed to widespread famine. The policy was terminated in 1960 when it became clear what a disaster it was.

So, why on earth am I linking the Great Chinese Famine with the essence of Silicon Valley’s entrepreneurial spirit and with startup communities today? Because these are important lessons in the law of unintended consequences, which are common in complex adaptive systems like startup communities.

The Chinese government took a heavy-handed, top-down approach to preserve food supplies and created a much bigger problem by not thinking systemically—unleashing a destructive feedback loop. At the same time, the Traitorous Eight took the seemingly isolated and relatively inconsequential decision of escaping a misguided (and reportedly tyrannical) William Shockley with the aim of creating something better for themselves. And yet, what it helped spark was a new way of doing business in an new technological era. It’s hard to believe their immediate plan was to transform the regional business culture—one that is now emulated globally to promote innovation-driven entrepreneurship. But that’s what happened anyway.

The lesson for startup communities is that you might not know if a proposed course of action will produce famine or feast—this can only be determined through trial and error, an informed intuition, some humility, and a desire to learn from mistakes. This is also why big ticket initiatives or programs should be considered carefully. Take a more measured approach first and see what works and what doesn’t, learn, adapt, and change course as needed. The biggest successes are often not the result of efforts at the level of “species eradication”, but rather, at the level of “let’s try doing something we’re already doing, but better.”

***

A major tip of the hat to Nicolas Colin, who during a conversation on complex systems and startup communities, alerted me to the Four Pests Campaign, which I had previously been unaware of.

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Jan 15 2019 by

The J-Curve of Startup Community Transition

In The Startup Community Way, my upcoming book with Brad Feld, we explain that startup communities must be viewed through the lens of complex adaptive systems. Such systems are characterized as having many elements (people and things), interdependencies (connections between them), feedback loops (actions lead to reactions), and as being in a constant state of evolution (never at rest).

We make the effort to explain the complex systems framework and tie it to startup communities because the nature of these systems requires a very different type of engagement than we are used to in most of our professional and civic lives. Complex systems require different skills (diversity v. expertise), mental processes (synthesis v. analysis), tactical approaches (experimentation v. planning), and goals (right conditions v. right outcome), among other factors we discuss in the book.

One prominent condition in complex adaptive systems that I want to talk about today is Basins of Attraction. In neoclassical economics, it is assumed that the economy (also a complex adaptive system) is moving towards a point of stability—an equilibrium. This is done for reasons of simplifying mathematics, but it also has the impact of making many economic predictions unreliable.

Instead of a single point of stability, Basins of Attraction takes the view that there are many such potential “resting places” and that a complex evolutionary process will determine which of these wins out. Basins of Attraction in complex systems—like startup communities—can be thought of as a sort of center of gravity where things can get stuck. Critically, they can get stuck in “good” or “bad” outcomes.

A critical job of startup communities, then, is to apply maximum pressure over a sustained period of time to “push” the system out of a bad outcome—freeing it from the powerful gravitational forces holding it back and allowing it to move to a better state of being. This means that in order to move a startup community forward, you need to introduce a lot of instability—to “shock” the system out of its slumber.

To visualize this, I’ve produced what I’m calling The J-Curve of Startup Community Transition. I adopted it from the political scientist Ian Bremmer, whose 2007 book The J Curve: A New Way to Understand Why Nations Rise and Fall, plots a similar J-curve relationship between stability and openness for nation-states. Here, I show a relationship between stability and vibrancy or sustainability of startup communities.

The J-Curve of Startup Community Transition demonstrates that communities can become locked-in to a state of low vibrancy, which is hard to break free. This state is unsustainable, and if it persists, the startup community will die off. In order to get to a more vibrant and lasting condition, low performing startup communities will have to go through a transition period where things become less stable—this can be a painful experience, but a necessary one.

What I think of as introducing instability is trying big bold ideas—initiatives that may result in repeated or even spectacular failures, that mix things up, and that push the boundaries of people, forcing them to improve. This transition will be uncomfortable for many, because it directly challenges powerful incumbents, entrenched interests, controlling powerbrokers, and stale yet comfortable ways of thinking and behaving.

Nobody knows which ideas will ultimately be the right ones, but it has to be done. That is why we focus on taking an empathetic, open mind into a process of trial and error—trying many things until you figure out what works and what doesn’t. That is also why we promote a radical embrace of inclusion, because the best ideas often come from unexpected places. Many approaches will fail, but it only takes one or two good ones to fundamentally alter a startup community’s trajectory forever. Find those. Be bold. Mix things up. Get unstuck.

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Jan 14 2019 by

The Rise of Global Startup Investors

Recently, Brad Feld and I have been working hard on The Startup Community Way, a book on how to harness the complexity in the entrepreneurial age. It’s a follow-up to Brad’s, 2012 classic: Startup Communities. We completed a chapter that documents the growth of startup activity globally over the last decade—from startup deals to investors to startup programs—but recently decided to scrap it from the book. But, we wanted to put those data points to use, so I’ll publish some of them here.

(Note: if you want a comprehensive look at trends of venture deals, see Rise of the Global Startup City: The New Map of Entrepreneurship and Venture Capital, a report I published last September with my friend and colleague Richard Florida. It covers a decade of venture capital deals across more than 300 global metropolitan areas that span 60 countries.)

Here, I’ll document the rise of three types of investor groups: venture capital firms (from Seed through later-stage VC), corporate venture capital groups, and a third group for accelerators and incubators. These groups have been pre-populated by PitchBook, my source in this analysis.

I tabulated the active universe of these three investor groups annually between 2002 and 2018, and broke them down as being headquartered in either the United States or the Rest of the World. Active investors are categorized either as “new” (founded that year) or “existing” (founded prior to that year and made at least one investment in the three years prior).

The first three charts here show the active number of firms by year by investor type, activity status (exiting or new), and the new firm share of total.

For all three groups, we see a remarkable rise in the number of active firms, with the sharpest rises coming from corporate venture capital and the broad accelerator and incubator group. Venture capital firms increased in a straight linear fashion, and they are about 2.5 the number of active firms today as in 2002. Corporate venture firms have seen a rise of a similar magnitude, and accelerators and incubators are now at about a factor of 8 compared with the beginning of the period.

The new firm share of global venture capital firms raised from around 6 or 7 percent in the mid-2000s to 10 or 11 percent in the first part of this decade before collapsing after 2015. Accelerators and incubators increased from around 8 percent to as high as 24 percent before tailing off the last few years, and CVCs meanwhile expanded the most—increasing their new firm share from 3 to 4 percent to as high as 15 percent. The stock of existing firms is so much larger for venture capital that it masks the sizable growth in activity over the period, compared with the others.

The sheer collapse of new firms across all three groups is stunning. I have no doubt that there has been a major pullback in the number of these firms being launched in recent years, however I suspect the numbers will increase some with time—venture founding events frequently come with time lags in venture capital databases. But, it won’t change that much—the substantial and continued rise of new venture capital firms, accelerators and incubators, and CVCs is over, or it is at least on hold.

What’s also interesting to me is the resiliency of firms in the sector once launched. Even in spite of the massive growth of new firms, we see that they still make up a small share overall—and even when the growth of new activity slowed, the overall level of active firms (the “stock”) stays more or less the same. This of course varies across the groups (VC firms are the most resilient, accelerators and incubators are the least), and of course, the overall levels will come down some with time.

Next, let’s look at the distribution of new investor formation by geography—comparing firms headquartered in the U.S. versus those in other countries. The charts below show the number of new firms by firm type, broken down by either geographic group, and the share of new firms that are HQ’d in the US.

The charts tell two stories. First, we see that the Rest of the World launched new venture capital firms and corporate venture groups at a similar and at times faster pace than the United States did for much of the period, that changed dramatically after 2012 (VCs) and 2015 (CVCs) when the U.S. headquartered share spikes. This is interesting because, as documented in Rise of the Global Startup City, most of the growth in venture capital deals came from outside of the U.S. the last half decade.

Second, we see that the opposite occurred for accelerators and incubators, which grew more outside of the U.S. than inside of it since about 2008. Unfortunately for this group, we can’t break it down between accelerators and incubators (these are vastly different things, as I wrote about here and here), but this is an interesting and useful data trend no less.

To close, although not shown here, the rise of new firm activity among venture capital firms and corporate venture arms—though significantly elevated in recent years compared with a decade ago—is nowhere near what it was at the height of the dotcom boom. The new firm share of VC firms was 18 percent in 2000 and 28 percent for CVCs in the same year! Accelerators and incubators are really a thing of the recent past, so the results are different. So, in the context of that broader history, we’re at much more subdued levels of new firm entrants.

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Jan 5 2019 by

Startup Communities Are Not Like Recipes, They are Like Raising Children

I’ve often heard people say “building startup communities (or startup ecosystems) is not about the ingredients, it’s about the recipe.” What they mean is that a focus on the individual people, institutions, and resources will provide only limited insight or success, and that what matters most is how these things all come together. Integration is the right concept, but a recipe is the wrong analogy.

Recipes, like chicken noodle soup or chocolate chip cookies, are simple systems. These recipes require some understanding of techniques and tools, but once learned, they are replicable with a high degree of certainty. The process of creating these “systems” can easily be broken down into constituent parts, such as chopping vegetables or sifting flour, and their integration (mixing) requires little precision.

Recipes become complicated when they involve a twenty-course tasting menu at a restaurant with three Michelin stars. Producing and serving these meals is surely a challenging problem, requiring highly specialized expertise, coordination of many factors, and consistency at scale. But these systems are also ultimately solvable, and when mastered and carried out with care, they can be replicated with relative precision. Restaurants do this repeatedly every night in cities around the world.

Startup communities and startup ecosystems are nothing like this. They are complex systems, meaning they have many “agents” (people and things), interdependencies, and are in a constant state of evolution, which makes fully wrapping your arms around them a challenging task. Most importantly, no one is in control. Such systems cannot be fully understood, predicted, controlled, or replicated; they can at best be guided and influenced. And yet, many strategies used in startup community building today still attempt to impose a complicated systems worldview onto what is an inherently complex system. This is the central problem facing startup community building in practice today and why so many well-intentioned efforts fail.

A better approach for building startup communities is not one steeped in a fixed set of ingredients, a rigid prescription of rules, and where engineered, linear processes are carefully calibrated through tight control. Instead, dealing with complex systems is best done with an informed intuition, trial and error, humility, and a desire to learn. It is more about getting the conditions right than aiming for a specific outcome. This is why you can learn more about startup community building from raising a child than you can by flawlessly executing even a complicated recipe (or system).

To drive this point home, I’m going to pull a passage from Complexity and the Art of Public Policy: Solving Society’s Problems from the Bottom Up, by the economist David Colander and physicist Roland Kupers, which I think captures this idea perfectly. (this quote has been slightly modified to improve readability where text was streamlined):

One approach to parenting is to set out a set of explicit rules for the child—”this is what you are to do; this is what is best for you, and these are the consequences of your not following the rules.” That is the idealized “control approach” to parenting.

There are two problems with this—the first is that most parents are not sure which rules are the correct ones. If they pick the wrong ones, then the child’s welfare won’t be maximized. The second problem is that the child may not follow the rules—do you then give in or not?

The true alternative to top-down control parenting is the parenting equivalent of the complexity approach we are advocating; a laissez-faire activist approach. In a laissez-faire activist approach you have as few direct rigorously specified rules as possible. Instead, you have general guidelines, and you consciously attempt to influence the child’s development so he or she becomes the best human being possible.

Instead of focusing on the rules, the focus of complexity parenting is more on creating voluntary guidelines, and providing a positive role model. (emphasis added).

This is why, in my upcoming book with Brad Feld, The Startup Community Way, we’ll be talking a lot about the behaviors, attitudes, and leadership qualities that promote healthy startup communities, and not about ingredients or recipes. We understand that startup communities require a different set of guidance, tools, and techniques than most of us are used to applying in our professional lives (which occurs because most workplaces are structured in a top-down, hierarchical way).

But the reality is, we all deal with complex systems everyday—from cities to our bodies to any situation that involves interacting with other people. Complexity is all around us. Our hope is that we’ll do our part to help you uncover how to apply what you already know to a different type of problem: that of building a vibrant startup communities in the city where you live. We can’t wait to share our ideas with you.

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Aug 14 2018 by

Collecting and Connecting Dots

A year ago, Brad wrote a post titled Effective Networking, where he discussed how producing good work can be a useful mechanism for building meaningful connections. While power-networking can also be an effective strategy, it is not the only path to developing great relationships. Brad’s post was heavily influenced by two essays by Adam Grant, the professor and writer: Networking Is Overrated and To Build a Great Network, You Don’t Have to be a Great Networker.

I savored that post earlier this year when suffering from a bout of conference fatigue, and decided to write about it in a post titled Introverts and Networking. I have found that the most meaningful professional relationships in my life have typically sprung out of a common appreciation about something that I or the other person did—not from hitting it off in a conference lobby or at the post-event reception. That has happened of course, but it’s not the dominant theme, at least for me.

Because of this, I was excited to discover this recent TEDxPortland talk: An introvert’s guide to building community, given by Rick Turoczy—a leader in the Portland startup community. The talk is not about how introverts per se can build community, but rather, how he as an introvert used some counter-intuitive advantages that introverts possess to do this type of work—namely, a desire to make connections one-to-one, or what he calls collecting dots.

But for Turoczy, this is only the beginning. The real magic of building community occurs not through the collecting of dots but through the connecting of them. By collecting many dots, and through the power of introspection and patience, community-builders will begin to see patterns emerge—uncovering dots that need connecting but haven’t been yet. These connections will eventually seem obvious, but aren’t at first—otherwise they would have already been made. It is the process of collecting and reflecting—along with your own unique perspective—that the connecting naturally unfolds.

For me, the real beauty of this talk is what it reveals about Turoczy himself—he views the process of networking not as a means for helping himself, but as a means for helping others. And that’s the whole point of building community. It’s almost certainly a key reason for why he is so good at it too.

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May 9 2018 by

The New York Yankees and Startup Communities

Startup communities are examples of complex adaptive systems. This means many things for understanding and influencing their behavior, but today I want to focus on two concepts: non-linearity (the sum is greater than the parts) and synergistic integration (interaction between the parts matters a lot). To make my point, I’ll draw on an example from my favorite sport.

The New York Yankees won four World Series titles in five seasons between 1996 and 2000, following a drought of 18 years. With this newfound success came a big television deal, a higher revenue stream, and much more money on the field. After winning four championships with the team they had, the Yankees tried to buy additional titles through a collection of All-Stars.

The result? No World Series titles and a steadily declining regular season winning percentage during the next eight seasons. What happened?

The demise of the 2000’s Yankees can be attributed to a failure by management to recognize the complexity of a team sport like baseball. The Yankees applied linear systems thinking to what is an inherently complex system. They believed that simply adding more of “the best” inputs (players) would predictably and reliably produce the desired result (wins, championships).

Linear thinking works in individual sports like tennis or golf, but not in team sports like baseball, where the integration of the pieces (the players) can be more deterministic of the outcome than the sum of the parts (the combined talents of the individual players).

By all accounts, the Yankees clubhouse was toxic and in a sport like baseball where the team is together everyday for most of the year, poor interactions among the players can be fatal. And for the Yankees, it was. Having the nine best players on the field won’t guarantee a winning team. The Yankees learned that the hard way.

Startup communities are also a team sport. They might even be the ultimate team sport. Having the “best players” alone won’t work, just as it didn’t for the New York Yankees. The interactions between the parts (people) make all the difference in the world. Healthy attitudes, behaviors, and ideas are the key to vibrant startup communities.

I recently wrote about The More of Everything Problem, whereby too many startup communities believe that large-scale, top-down interventions are the key to success. Many mistakenly take a linear systems approach that prioritizes resource accumulation over resource integration. But for complex systems like startup communities, integration really matters—human relationships are the whole ballgame.

I see a simple yet powerful lesson for startup communities participants here: focus less on the pieces and more the interactions. Evolve from asking “how many” to “how well.”

The New York Yankees forgot this lesson and paid dearly over the course of a decade. They are back to their winning ways again, and their success is being built from the bottom-up—by a group of young, relatively unknown players, matched with a few elder veterans, who are hungry for success, and are playing like a team.

This article originally posted at ianhathaway.org.

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Jun 6 2017 by

Feeling Isolated? Build a Diaspora

Lately, I’ve been talking with entrepreneurs and other civic leaders in cities throughout the US and globally for the new startup communities book. Many find themselves struggling to attract and retain talent—particularly in smaller cities and college towns. One common sentiment is along these lines: “We have a lot of bright young people graduating from University X, but because there are fewer opportunities here for after graduation, they go off to City Y or City Z and start their careers or businesses there. We just don’t have the jobs to support them.”

Talent flight is a real problem. Not just for college towns, but for major cities and regions outside of coastal innovation and knowledge hubs like Silicon Valley and New York. The US Midwest, for example, is notorious for producing high rates of engineering and science graduates from top-flight schools, only to see them flee for the coasts (though, this trend may be changing somewhat).

Over the long-term, city leaders need to think hard about how to make sure that would-be local entrepreneurs and other talented individuals have the resources they need to stay at home. But, let me suggest another course of action that can be taken right away: build a diaspora.

Though most commonly used in a specific context to reference Jews living outside of Israel, the term diaspora generally refers to the movement or dispersion of a group of people from their ancestral homeland. In this context, I’ll use the term “ancestral homeland” loosely to mean a place that has a deep emotional connection to a person (e.g., where they were born, grew up, or went to school).

People leave these places for any number of reasons—self-discovery, employment opportunities, following or finding a partner, and so on—but choose to remain connected, in some way, to their roots. Perhaps they even maintain the hope of returning one day when the time is right. What is overlooked among these short-term “losses,” is the potential for what is learned “out there” to have significant value for the community back home, if properly cultivated.

In the context of building startup ecosystems, this is doubly true, where the process of starting and scaling high-growth businesses is niche, and best learned at an arm’s length (learning by doing/seeing). This is why places like Silicon Valley continue to attract talent, even as the practicalities of living there seem to be untenable—the resources, the culture, the tacit knowledge, all make the congestion and exorbitant cost of living worth it.

And yet, with the right mindset, what’s learned there can be transferred elsewhere.

In her 2006 book, The New Argonauts: Regional Advantage in a Global Economy, AnnaLee Saxenian of UC Berkeley chronicles how foreign-born engineers and managers working in Silicon Valley were able to transfer localized knowledge—on how to build and invest in scalable technology ventures—back to their home countries. She specifically points to a critical mass of motivated Taiwanese and Israelis in the 1980s, and Chinese and Indians in the 1990s, as essential to the burgeoning innovation ecosystems we see in those places today.

Some of these migrants stayed as expats, others returned home, while others still migrated to California to replace those leaving. What was common among them was their connection to home and a desire to bring what was learned abroad back there. Instead of Silicon Valley as a central source of “brain drain,” a group of motivated, patriotic, opportunistic individuals became a pipeline of “brain circulation”—where invaluable knowledge obtained at the frontier of technology and entrepreneurship was transferred back home, planting the seeds of the next generation of booming global innovation that followed.

So, what can be done today to build a vibrant startup community in smaller, more isolated cities?

First, of course, make your city as attractive as possible to talented individuals that do not want to leave. Provide the sort of infrastructure, cultural amenities, and mindset that knowledge workers in the creative economy desire. Make sure they have access to the necessary skills to innovate and start great companies, and get them connected with experienced local entrepreneurs. Play the role of convener and do what you can to increase the frequency of interaction among new and seasoned entrepreneurs alike. Organize “catalytic events” like Startup Weekend and 1 Million Cups. Celebrate entrepreneurship, champion local founders, and encourage them to serve as mentors to the next generation.

Second, make sure that the young people who do want to leave have the right skills to be employed at the best companies in leading innovation hubs. If the secret sauce to technological innovation is best learned at the likes of Google, Amazon, Sand Hill Road, and Kendall Square, ensure that departing members of your tribe have a fighting chance to gain access to that knowledge, experience, and network.

Finally, and perhaps most critically—don’t ignore those who have left, or resort to a sense of frustration at the inability to “keep talent at home.” Instead, view it as an opportunity. Build stronger ties with your diaspora, learn from them, engage with them, keep them emotionally tied to the region and interested in its success. Some may return to live there—be prepared for them (see #1 above). Others may choose not to return. But make sure they, too, have constructive ways of engaging with the startup community there—as mentors, investors, or advisors.

Think it’s impossible? Look no further than the story of Microsoft, when Seattle’s native sons Bill Gates and Paul Allen relocated the company there simply because they wanted to go home. As UC Berkeley’s Enrico Moretti described in his book, The New Geography of Jobs:

This was not a business decision. Gates and Allen were both from Seattle, and they wanted to go back to the place where they had grown up… Seattle was not an obvious choice for a software company. In fact, it seemed like a terrible place. Far from being the high-flying hub it is today, it was a struggling town.

I don’t mean to infer that the Microsoft story is likely, or even probable. Bill and Paul are remarkable, few-in-a-generation talents, whose mold is unlikely to be recast. But the point remains: today’s outbound traffic may be tomorrow’s inbound local heroes. Don’t miss a golden opportunity to keep tabs, keep ties, keep engaged, and keep the brain circulation moving ahead at maximum speed.

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May 11 2017 by

How to Understand Your Startup Community

Guest Post: Max Rehkopf is Head of Growth at Hardbound, a startup that makes five-minute illustrated summaries of the best books in business, history, and science (Sign up here). Hardbound is constantly on the lookout for the best business books. If you’d like to recommend they make a Hardbound about one of your favorites (including books here on Startup Revolution) let them know here.

Its my great pleasure to share with you Startup Communities, a video series explaining each of the participants in a startup community. The story behind this series is explained below:

It’s rare that you can attribute years of your life to the happenings of one day. For me, that day was April 1, 2015. This is not a joke.

On April fools day in 2015, I was offered to pitch my startup to Julie Penner, Director of Techstars Boulder. Julie is a pillar of the Boulder startup community and I was introduced to her through my school’s startup competition.

My team and I crowded into a very small conference room, and I did my best to deliver our pitch.

Julie was gracious. She let us know right then and there that were not ready for Techstars. We were crushed, yet what she said next changed my life.

She did as all leaders in startup communities should, she was radically inclusive, and said that if we needed anything, we should reach out.

Somehow, maybe from the look in her eyes, I could tell that she actually meant it.

After our meeting that day, I did reach out, and she gave me the job that I spent the next two years of my life doing. In my case, investing in the startup community, starting first with my universities entrepreneurship program, opened the doors to one of the greatest experiences of my life.

In my two years at Techstars Boulder I saw the power of community firsthand, and was inspired.

I was inspired to take long walks with other pillars of the community and ask them how a startup community really works. From those walks I produced a short video series explaining the roles and contributions of each and every member of a startup community.

It was my gift back to the startup community, and all 10 videos premiered at Techstars Boulder Demo Day 2017.

With this series anyone can, in 10 minutes, learn about their startup community and how to get involved. If you’re lucky, like me, you’ll run into a leader of the community. With effort, new doors will keep on opening. Enjoy!

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May 4 2017 by

#StartupsEverywhere

Engine, the non-profit organization that supports technology startups through economic research, policy analysis, and advocacy, has been producing profiles of startup communities throughout the United States on its blog.

The series, #StartupsEverywhere, launched in January and has produced 14 profiles so far, including Baltimore, Cedar Rapids, Connecticut, Honolulu, Jackson (TN), Kansas City, Madison, Memphis, Phoenix, Raleigh-Durham, Santa Barbara, Tallahassee, Tampa, and Tulsa.

#StartupsEverywhere is designed to celebrate these diverse, vibrant entrepreneurial ecosystems that are growing across the U.S. The project will showcase exciting developments in a variety of rising communities through weekly interviews with startup ecosystem leaders. The profiles will look at issues ranging from the challenges faced by these communities to the unique qualities that set them apart from traditional technology hubs.

The folks at Engine tell me the series will continue indefinitely, and they’re always on the lookout for cities to profile and interesting stories to tell. So, if you’d like to get involved, you can reach out to Emma Peck.

You can follow the series directly with this link. I encourage you to check it out.

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Apr 25 2016 by

Thoughts on Building A Startup Community in Scotland

Kenny Fraser, the founder and CEO of Sunstone Communication, has a thoughtful post up titled Is There A Right Or Wrong Way To Build A Startup Ecosystem?

In it he asks a number of good questions to ponder, starting off strong by asking “Why try to build what already exists in California? Why not ask ourselves what our community has that Silicon Valley doesn’t have. And build on our positives to create something different and better.”

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