I just finished reading Brad Feld’s latest book, Startup Communities. While I encourage every entrepreneur to read it, it is even more important for anyone who wants to make their city better, more fun and creative by driving a culture of entrepreneurship and startups. There are lots of great anecdotes and examples from Boulder (where Brad lives) and other communities, but the most important lessons for me really boils down to taking action. It’s about the people in each community who invest their time and effort to start things that help entrepreneurs connect, share ideas and support each other. These people take initiative and act in ways best described by the Techstars Mentor Manifesto. I am lucky to be part of the Seattle scene and there are lots of people who are making our approach unique and valuable, so I say “thanks” to them, can I get an alleluia. Everyone plays a part but I wanted to call out a few people who’ve had significant impact on me and inspired me to do more.
- Andy Sack – Techstars – for bringing the program to Seattle, for fighting through cancer to keep it on track and for continued support of the process of starting new companies
- John Cook and Geekwire – for telling the world what we are doing and amplifying our messages
- Geoff Entress and Andy Liu – for often being the first people to write checks and inspiring us all to support companies with effort AND money
- Connie Shaw – University of Washington – for connecting the students- faculty and startup community and driving entrepreneurship into every corner of the U
- Marc Nager and the Startup Weekend crew – for making it easy for everyone to get started, learn on the job and for spreading those ideals across the globe
- Luni Libes – Fledge – for making us think harder about how we measure impact and social responsibility and making companies that really matter
- David Nilsson – EO Seattle – for bringing entrepreneurs from all areas together to get smarter and more connected
- Rand Fishkin – SeoMoz – for teaching us how you run SeoMoz and inspiring us all to be better leaders
- Brad Feld and Foundry Group – for writing it all down, investing in leading companies here in Seattle including Gist (mine), Cheezburger, Big Door, SeoMoz…and for putting the entrepreneur first.
As part of the community and someone who has benefited from all your hard work and commitment, I say “thank you”. We are better because of you!
image credit: http://hrfishbowl.com/2011/11/thank-you-yo/