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Which came first, the chicken or the egg? Great football players make great coaches or great coaches make great football players. I call these circular arguments but they are actually causality dilemma’s and they drive people crazy.
In startup communities I believe the same argument or dilemma exists but with another anchor to the circle. Great companies.
My circular argument goes like this: Great leaders build great companies which build great Communities which build great leaders which build great companies.
For some of you this makes a lot of sense. You are probably the more vision & abstract type of thinker. For those of you who skew to a more precise and factual point-of-view, your head probably just blew up.
“You want answers! I want the truth! You can’t handle the truth.” (Insert Tom Cruise and Jack Nicholson in A Few Good Men or Rudy Giuliani, “truth is not truth”).
Well I have a little surprise for you. While laying out this framework I have tricked you by getting you to eliminate the things that are not necessarily catalysts for a great startup community (space, capital, government programs or even Startup Weekends – all of which can help tremendously).
The one catalyst for a startup community are the entrepreneurs themselves.
I have a pet phrase I use every day, “no entrepreneurs – no entrepreneur community”. They are the center pivot for everything. Without them the rest is just noise. Without them the rest of us are useless. I think it’s funny and sad when I hear community leaders working hard to help spawn, grow and accelerate their startup community and never once spent more than 15 minutes with a local entrepreneur.
Let me repeat – everything starts with the entrepreneur. Serve them. Build your community around them. And when you are conflicted with multiple choices of what to do next, ask yourself this one question – “what action of mine would help the entrepreneur the best”.
RokkMiami Book Signing Event With Brad Feld
When: Monday, April 29th, 2013 @ 4-5pm
Where: The LightBox in Miami
Description: The event is largely based on Brad Feld’s (Renowned Author and Investor) book: Startup Communities. Brad will be present at the event to mentor, facilitate and help drive the delivery of the road map The community will be represented by a large group of real entrepreneurs, members from the investment community, academia, government, foundations and corporations that are interested in making Miami a place for innovation and business creation.
NJ Tech Meetup #35 With Brad Feld
When: Monday, April 15th, 2013 @ 6:45pm
Where: Howe Center – Stevens Institute of Technology Bissinger Room (4th Floor), 8th/Hudson – walk up River St to 6th St., then up Wittpen Walk to Howe Building Hoboken, NJ
Description:The Boulder Thesis: Four Principles for Startup Communities. How communities attract and support innovative startups is a hot question in today’s economic climate – and Brad Feld has some answers. In his new book, Startup Communities, the cofounder of Foundry Group and TechStars boils down 20 years of experience working with entrepreneurs and building a vibrant startup ecosystem into four essentials that will work anywhere in the world.
Meet The Innovators: With Brad Feld and Alessandro Piol
When: Tues, April 16th, 2013 @ 6:30pm
Where: SoHo Apple Store, 103 Prince Street, New York, NY 10012
Description: An Apple A Month…..Women Innovate Mobile’s Meet The Innovatorsmonthly conversation series started in January with a discussion on Social TV and continues on Tuesday, April 16 with a conversation on entrepreneurial communities venture funding and more with Brad Feld, Managing Director, Foundry Group and Co-Founder, TechStars and Alessandro Piol, Co-Founder of Vedanta Capital.
Take 5: 2013 U.S. SOURCELINK CONFERENCE for Entrepreneurship
When: Tues, April 2nd, 2013 @ 8am – 3:00pm
Where: U.S. Sourcelink Conference, Kansas City MO
Description: U.S.SourceLink: America’s Largest Resource Network for Entrepreneurs
The U.S.SourceLink network was built from a single mission: make entrepreneurship easier.
From Alaska to Florida, in rural regions and urban centers, U.S.SourceLink has helped communities transform fragmented economic development organizations into vibrant and vital ecosystems of on-the-ground, just-in-time small business resources.
When: Tues, March 19th, 2013 @ 9am – 6pm
Where: Tenda – Lagoon (Av. Borges de Medeiros, 1424. Rio de Janeiro), Brazil.
Description: At the Plenary Summit of the GEC, thinkers, entrepreneurship experts and leaders from economies around the world will discuss innovative approaches to promoting an environment conducive to helping entrepreneurs start and grow companies. The globalization of the startup revolution offers new insights from different parts of the world about building entrepreneurial communities, creating smart startup cities, developing new models of experiential education, financing for growth, and how to scale fast.
21212 Investor Day
When: Tues, March 19th, 2013 @ 7:30-10:00pm
Where: Rio De Janeiro, Brazil
Description: 21212 Digital Accelerator is a mentorship-driven seed stage accelerator program located in Rio (21) and NY (212). Our 4 month long program is concentrated on building successful companies focused on the exploding digital market in Brazil.
Global Entrepreneurs Congress: Day 1
When: Wed, March 20th, 2013 @ 9:00-12:00pm
Where: Av. Borges de Medeiros 1424, Miranda, Rio de Janeiro
Description: Some of the greatest entrepreneurs in the world take the stage to tell their stories of life in just 20 minutes, giving special emphasis to the days that have completely changed their careers as entrepreneurs. The Day1 is an unforgettable and breathtaking experience!
Global Entrepreneurs Congress: Day 3 Program
When: Wed March 20th, 2013 @2:00pm-5:00pm
Where: Av. Borges de Medeiros 1424, Miranda, Rio de Janeiro
Description: Grandes ideias com uma causa comum: tornar o mundo um lugar melhor! Empreendedores de visão que enxergaram seu potencial transformador na sociedade e fizeram acontecer. Sonhadores e visionários, eles mostram o impacto de se empreender com propósito e paixão.
One of the many interesting things I’ve learned during the publishing process of Startup Life: Surviving and Thriving in a Relationship with an Entrepreneur with Brad is that publishing houses don’t do the work of getting permission to reprint copyrighted material – authors are responsible for this work. Or at least our publisher doesn’t do this work, and we were responsible. Neither Brad nor I realized this until about 3 weeks before our final galley proofs were due when we received an email on October 26th asking whether we had gotten reprint permission for the poems and literary quotes we had included in our drafts. Surprise. Oops.
Brad’s terrific and resolute assistant, Kelly Collins, sprang into action at the beginning of November, only to discover that it takes 6-8 weeks for the permissions and our final author draft was due in 4 weeks.
I was really disappointed and unhappy with this realization since I had been the instigator of the poetry and thought it added a richness and depth to the text and supported our deep belief that words and language matter.
Surely that’s what underpaid and overworked publishing interns are for?
We did receive and pay for permission to reprint a Mary Oliver poem “The Summer Day,” in time, but it didn’t make sense to include just one of the poems. So we pulled the poems by Mary Oliver and Wendell Berry, and quotes from Rainer Maria Rilke and Antoine St. Exupery, among others.
But Brad and I both still hold the conviction that beautiful language can connect us and give voice to emotion and thoughts that may be difficult for non-poets to express. So I am going to blog the quotes and poetry we had originally intended to include in Startup Life, as well as some additional gems that we love. Here’s a poem by Wendell Berry that we intended to include in Chapter Two: Philosophy —
The Peace of Wild Things
When despair for the world grows in me
and I wake in the night at the least sound
in fear of what my life and my children’s lives may be,
I go and lie down where the wood drake
rests in his beauty on the water, and the great heron feeds.
I come into the peace of wild things
who do not tax their lives with forethought
of grief. I come into the presence of still water.
And I feel above me the day-blind stars
waiting with their light. For a time
I rest in the grace of the world, and am free.
From The Selected Poems of Wendell Berry copyright 1998 by Wendell Berry from Counterpoint Press, a member of Perseus Books, LLC
This post first appeared on Thoughts in Random Patterns by Amy Batchelor