Wednesday, November 26, 2008

For Thanksgiving...

Please scroll down to September 5 & that great post I snagged from E-Action . It says what entrepreneurship is all about MUCH better than I ever could...

p.s. if you do, here's a bonus from the always-great Guy Kawasaki:
(are you getting his blog? following him on Twitter?)

Thanks to all of you for what you do to make Idaho - and the world - a better place.
Gratefully, NK

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Here's yet another state ranking..

The link below takes to the state rankings for the New Economy Index. One of the better regarded rankings, it ranks the states on their capabilities to engage with the New Economy - just came out today.

For once, we're neither at the top or at the bottom, but the subscales might be enlightening! Subscales look at knowledge workers, economic dynamism, etc. We look good on some scales, need work on others. Now are these leading indicators or reflect the past? That's not clear without a LOT of analysis but I am encouraged that where we appear to lag are areas that we are aware of & trying to address (e.g., shortfall of knowledge workers).

Thoughts? We also just scored high on 'economic freedom' - isn't it time we did some really fine-grained analysis? Projecting economic growth (whether jobs or GDP) is a pretty complex matter... but we DO know what supports a more entrepreneurial economy... maybe we start there?

Sunday, November 09, 2008

also (see pages 23 & 18)
(edited for links added above)

(...or is that the Tech of “State”?)

What IS this ESTECH effort anyway?

ESTECH (Eagle-Star TECHnology corridor project) is a broad, rich partnership to support economic development that is largely technology-based and extraordinarily entrepreneurial. Physically, the corridor follows an axis that corresponds to State Street from west Boise all the way out to Star. (Most corridors end up looking more like an amoeba but it is important to carefully define what the corridor is... and isn't.)

ESTECH has been years in gestation as certain people like Chamber chief Teri Bath noticed that (1) the Eagle area needed to become more entrepreneurial, (2) there was already a budding tech community here and (3) it would be vitally important to partner with neighboring communities, especially Star.

At every meeting of economic developers (like IEDA) Teri would ask me “Norris, we need to get more entrepreneurial – you'll help us, won't you?” I don't know who else she pestered, but hearing that made me smile. My response was “Just. Do. Something.” Professionally, I travel all over and talk to communities and universities about how to become more entrepreneurial and they ALL say this. Eagle-Star stepped up. Big time.

I got involved with an effort that centered on building upon the existing base of tech entrepreneurs. The most notable example was, of course, Ugobe and CalebChung's remarkable Pleo. Rosemary Regner of Ugobe ally, R-Squared Digital Media took the lead with John Sosoka from Ugobe and other volunteers like Julie Howard & Brian Dickens from the Idaho Commerce Department.

Meanwhile, a second group focused on the physical development issues, led by the irrepressible Lloyd Mahaffey, retired tech executive and entrepreneurial vintner, and what turned out to be the lovely surprise of participation by mayors Phil Bandy & Nate Mitchell (along with both cities' economic developers and chambers of commerce) plus local legislators like Mike Moyle, Raul Labrador and Chuck Winder.

ESTECH is now essentially one group with four key committees (Business Development, Real Estate & Infrastructure, Entrepreneurship, Marketing & Communication) planning the next few month's efforts and attracted still more top talents like Mary May, Curt Rideout, Bob Bruce and more!

Why Should You Care?

First, all sorts of projects are moving forward, despite our extravagant budget of $0.00. First up is a monthly “science cafe” to share the latest cool science with our friends and neighbors. Next up is a regular “open mike” night for local ventures. (If you only knew what entrepreneurial potential is already bubbling up.... and just wait till we start encouraging it!)

Ugobe's move “home” is just the start of more exciting people and companies heading to the Treasure Valley. (This is good for all Idaho, not just here.) As the synthetic life forms industry grows, Eagle-Star is uniquely positioned to be its epicenter! (Did I mention our international conference on synthetic life forms next August?)

Second, there is still ample opportunity to join the fun! Part of thinking like an entrepreneur is recognizing we're all in this together. Want to help? Contact Teri Bath ( or me. Believe me when I say that ESTECH is doing the right things the right way and for the right reasons.

ESTECH - The Next Step (Want to Get Involved?)

You've perhaps been hearing about ESTECH - the new Eagle-Star Technology Corridor project - but it has a great delight thus far. They are definitely doing the right things the right way and.. for the right reasons.

The goal is to build a more entrepreneurial area with a special emphasis on nurturing the existing industry (most prominently Ugobe, but there's more there than you may realize.)

They are forming 4 committees to stat putting wheels under this - if you are in SW Idaho & would like to hop on board, here's a great "ground floor" opportunity! Contact me if any questions! And definitely contact Teri Bath or me if you are intrigued by one of these committees. (I'm biased toward my own committee, LOL, but the other 3 are doing good work already - and all need more good minds.)

ESTECH Committees

Hi, everyone - in the spirit of getting some wheels under ESTECH, at the last meeting Teri & Lloyd announced 4 official standing committees & their chairs. If you have interest in one of these, please contact me directly as we are gearing up for meetings next week. (Alternately, contact Teri Bath,

Marketing (includes mapping, working with local governmt & chambers)
POC: Ms. Mary May, chairperson

Business Development ( business retention & expansion as well as attraction)
POC: Mayor Phil Bandy & Mayor Nate Mitchell

Real Estate & Infrastructure
POc: Mr. Lloyd Mahaffey, co-chair (RE)
POC: Mr. Bob Bruce, co-chair (Infra)

Entrepreneurship & Venture Finance (see below for more)
POC: Norris Krueger, chairperson -
(Mr. Curt Rideout, co-chair)

All the committees want to meet, both virtually & physically, next week. Teri B asked the chairs to map out a draft of the various possibilities, especially any 'quick wins' we can identify! However, there is plenty of room for additional ideas and energy. (Energy is especially welcome!)

This effort will do some serous good for Idaho, not just Eagle/Star and... This is going to be fun!


May I plug the EVF committee? LOL

The 'big picture' task is obviously to:
(a) identify ways to nurture entrepreneurs & entrepreneurial businesses and
(b) identify ways to build the entrepreneurial ecosystem

Build a pipeline of businesses (deal flow across the life cycle) and to keep growing the area's entrepreneurial culture!

Key pieces identified so far (though still very negotiable):

1) Evangelizing - also working hard with key stakeholders in the entrepreneurial ecosystem, including legislative leadership ( !)

2) Events - we're committed to starting a monthly "Science Cafe" to showcase Idaho' cool science/tech and a monthly "Pub Talk" (open mike) night for entrepreneurs. Thanks to Ugobe, there's a major 2009 conference on Synthetic Life Forms.

3) Training/Education - to grow a more entrepreneurial Eagle/Star implies training needs, from HS entrepreneurship and/or programming classes to general entrepreneurial training to very specialized training to support new Eagle-Star businesses, there are some surprising resources we can get geared up.

4) Venture Finance - a critical piece of growing the whole pipeline is access to capital. Lloyd is convinced that we can raise some serious funding, but deal flow is obviously critical (hence the training, ppen mike, etc.)

These are all interconnected.

The really good news? Most of of the "low hanging fruit" will cost little/nothing (or we can use OPM!)

Other things WILL surface - mostly from YOUR ideas. These items are just the start - and how they get implemented is up to the committee. (Which will be true for all 4 of the committees!)

If you're ready to roll up your sleeves, contact me via up, a wiki so we can communicate better - and be thinking about when you can meet physically. I'll also send you copies of the memos developed so far.

Entrepreneurially yours,

p.s. did I mention how much fun and... how much good we can do?