Thoughts about entrepreneurship and economic development, etc.
(How Can I Help YOU to Grow Entrepreneurs???)
Friday, March 13, 2015
WHAT SHOULD NORRIS DO?*
SHOULD NORRIS DO?*
* What *Would* Norris Do (WWND) would seem,
oh, a wee bit narcissistic? ;)
a/k/a: “I Was
Wrong, Friday the 13th Edition?” #BoiseIsRising?
evening saw a great event, a joint extravaganza where Startup Grind Boise brought Scott
Kupor (coo of VC goliath Andreesen Horowitz to
the grand opening of Boise’s new collaborative space, Trailhead. I love ‘em both and together…
have been amused by all the people who took credit for Kupor and all those
trying to impress him but this was not a night for the usual internecine
squabbling… Look. At. The. Audience.
No idea what
the count was but it was the biggest turnout ever for Grid. But forget that. The
quality was staggering. I was
exhausted by the time Grind’s Jessica Whiting introduced Scott… just from saying
hello to all the good people who showed up.Even met a few great new faces like CDA’s Nick Smoot of Innovation Collective (who now owes me beers!)
On the heels
of the INL/CAES/ITC Energy Connected symposium and with develop.idaho arriving
next month (not to mention the revival of ITC’s R&D/Tech Commercialization
committee – wish me luck! Haven’t been fired yet, lol) Seriously… it’s hard not
to feel encouraged, especially after what Trailhead honchos Faisal Shah &
Karen Meyer told me (sorry, not yet).
quantity and quality of attendance so high… it was intriguing that 4 or 5
people (even strangers) wondered openly about those who were NOT there.
Definitely the ‘top down’ types were in short supply.
It’s Brad Feld’s first rule of startup communities – entrepreneur-driven,
relentlessly bottom up. Grind and Trailhead are exactly that.
But here’s why
Norris Was Wrong… Again™ - it was a gorgeous warm, sunny day,
the kind of day where all too often Idahoans decide to go enjoy the outdoors –
or decide they needed to do something ‘family’ or…whatever. I’ve been to too
many under-attended events simply because people had better things to do. (Yes,
your kid’s lacrosse practice is important. But in happening communities, people
find ways to do both. Maybe Monday night we saw signs that we are figuring it
out.) So, thanks Boise for proving me wrong!
Ah, but what
about Scott Kupor do you ask? He went out of
his way to deliver a positive, optimistic message. He focused on Idaho’s
positives (though it was clear he’d seen it all). He urged us to read more but
also to do more.
The line of
the night was Scott quoting his boss, Marc Andreesen, who when asked how
innovative Andreesen-Horowitz was as a VC firm, he wondered if “we are the most
evolved…. dinosaur.” Think about that for a bit.
made it clear that Boise was now on their radar and hinted that maybe they
could be helpful (beyond just showering us with money at really good
valuations, lol). Scott, if you read this… I have a wishlist for you. (Yes, you
do need an office/spy here but that’s not what I’m talking about…)
Let me get back
to what Faisal Shah and Karen Meyer both told me – complete with intent gaze and
outstretched finger pointing at me – “Help.
Rather than making
excuses, I agreed and meetings are happening. [Possibly with more “gentle
nudges” upside my head?]
So back to
the title... What Should Norris Do? (to
And if I can
be narcissistic and ask “WWND?”… here is MY action agenda.
Better LATE than Never?
#1… uh, wait! Full stop. Let’s reach out and Ask The Entrepreneurs. There is nobody in Idaho
has a better idea of exactly what Idaho’s entrepreneurs need to rocket forward,
nobody even close, and MY #1 agenda item is to say… Let’s.Ask.
The. Entrepreneurs. (LATE)
So, the real
#1…. Listening sessions. They’ve
worked all over the world. We know how to do them brilliantly. And… they have
even worked before in….. Idaho!
Google Maps! Combine those with world-class mapping of the entrepreneurial
ecosystem (#2) and we know where we are AND where the entrepreneurs want to
go. Something else we know how to do. Brilliantly.
But haven’t. And in the meantime…
in 1 year has brought in more people who can actually help us than most groups
have done in forever. (#3) Let’s bring
the world’s Best and Brightest here. Listen to them. Hear what they really
say. Ask the entrepreneurs what they think. And ACT on it. I know lots of
amazing people – tell me who you want!
[Scott K – if you’re still reading… A16Z
could help us with all of these ;) ]
but I’ll save those for the next post.
So… What Would Norris Do… needs to become What SHOULD Norris Do?
So… TELL ME!!!!!! I can’t listen to you unless
you tell me! ;)
Entrepreneur Up, Y’all!
(and Happy Friday the 13th AND Happy Pi Day! 3/14/15!
I won’t name names… I always believe that it’s better to celebrate what you
have rather than bemoan what you don’t. This principle also is key to
developing entrepreneurial ecosystems, any local economy.