Paul Graham recently published an essay about why startup hubs work. Nice essay – well thought out and makes good sense. A bit more simple model this time than his seminal 2006 essay on how to create a tech startup hub. It cites two reasons:
- An environment where startups are a commonplace accepted activity.
- Chance meetings with “people who can help you”.
It’s all about people – both factors are about the number of startup people.
Here’s what this new essay means for us here in not-quite-yet-a-startup-hub Fort Wayne, Indiana.
The essay not only explains why startup hubs work, but it also explains why startups outside of hubs are more difficult. As Paul says, “Startups in other places are just doing what startups naturally do: fail.” Ouch. I know that some will read this and say, “See, don’t bother trying that tech startup in Fort Wayne” or “See, don’t bother trying to grow the tech startup community in Fort Wayne”.
Really? No thanks!
That is EXACTLY why we have to continue what we are already doing to grow the tech community here. Remember, if Silicon Valley had adopted that philosophy in the early days, it wouldn’t have developed. Same for Austin, Boston, Boulder, and NYC.
- Every new tech startup here in Fort Wayne grows OUR hub.
- Every successful startup convinces a few more people that startup entrepreneurs are really “OK” or maybe even “cool” – not just “unemployed” as Paul says non-hubs see startup entrepreneurs.
Various people and organizations are working to grow the startup (and tech startup) community here in Fort Wayne.
- Me, for one.
- The Innovation Center.
- The Innovation Center’s BizWiz and Student Venture Lab programs.
- Ivy Tech and NIIC’s Launch New Venture competition.
- The University of St. Francis’ Business Plan competition.
- Huntington University’s Digital Media Arts program.
- The new kid on the block, Elevate Ventures.
Others are working on making our community a great place for tech entrepreneurs to live and play (to see why that is important, read Paul’s 2006 essay).
- The Alliance is working on ways to create a cool downtown environment conducive to young entrepreneurs.
- Nick Arnett is on a quest to find why communities create a great environment for Millenials. One of the elements of Nick’s model, by the way, is “creating placemaking” – to foster exactly the sort of chance encounters Paul describes.
- YLNI is mobilizing the young professional community.
- Craig Crook is mobilizing our creative thinkers around TEDxFortWayne.
- Calhoun/Wayne, SoCalho, Broadway, and the Arts district are all growing great neighborhoods.
- Recently Arts United and DID brought Carol Coletta to town to talk about how to create a more vibrant creative community. More than one person went away inspired and ready
We are not going to stop. We are not going to send our entrepreneurs to San Francisco. In fact, for those of you in San Francisco who are tired of the cost of living and the commute – come see us in Fort Wayne and be part of the story of a newly developing startup hub!