This morning’s #LeanCoffeeKL discussion about Brad Feld’s book Startup Communities (my review here) had a great turnout. We had 20 people representing the local startup and tech communities come out at 8am to discuss this book. Pretty amazing considering only two of us had read it. It was particularly encouraging to have the CEO of Accelerate Okanagan Jeff Keen there, encouraging us to throw our own non-governmental startup events.
Although we did discuss the Boulder Thesis and compared Boulder and Kelowna, much of the discussion surrounded mentorship and how to engage the more experienced levels of the “entrepreneurial stack.” How do we find and connect that core network of experienced entrepreneurs that are willing to be mentor and leaders in our community? It seems this is the immediate challenge for our community. Some suggestions included throwing events to attract currently disengaged “senior” entrepreneurs, or working the already established networks to find potential leaders on a more personal level.
Either way, the one hour of discussion was not enough. I was still engaged in discussions for an hour after the event, and saw others do likewise.
This session was meant as a seed, planted to start a wider discussion and eventual movement to make our startup community a resilient network, bigger than any single organization or personality. Hopefully some of the participants will now read Brad’s book, and come back with more energy and ideas. We have a lot of potential energy in the lower part of the entrepreneurial stack (first timers, second timers, wantrepreneurs, etc.), we just need to figure out how to get more experience into the network to help us direct all that energy to the right place.
To keep the momentum going, we are going to follow up the discussion at a different venue in the near future, so keep an eye out. And as always: keep engaged.