Tech Startup Communities
In 2013 we decided to try to figure out how tech startups worked. We wanted to figure out how ideas get transformed into something big. We looked at the top tech startup ecosystems in the US and decided to go there try to figure it out. Basically all the tech startups are coming out of a few areas:
- San Francisco, California
- Boston, Massachusetts
- New York City
- Austin, Texas
- Portland, Oregon
- Boulder, Colorado
- Silicon Beach, California (the beach communities of Los Angeles located on The Strand such as Hermosa Beach, Santa Monica, etc.)
We had always lived in Indianapolis, Indiana and they definitely didn’t have much of a tech startup community. So, for the next two years, (2013 and 2014) we spent the winters in Austin, Texas, the spring in LA, and the summers in Portland, Oregon. We rented co-working space and took startup classes. We used Meetup.com and Eventbrite.com to find out about and attend every single event we could find! We became professional networkers.
Tech Startup Culture
What did we learn? Why are startups primarily coming from certain cities?
- 100% of all startups follow the basic principles of “lean startup” because it is efficient and effective. Google it to see what it is all about.
- There is an overall culture of helping people in the startup communities:
- People want to help you to succeed without expectation of return.
- Successful companies sponsor events and meetups because they know how important networking is and they want to facilitate the process.
- There are a lot of different networking events and startup pitch nights. Eventbrite.com and Meetup.com are active with events.
- You have multiple other ways to gather with like-minded individuals to get help and share ideas:
- Co-working facilities where you get desk space, access to large email lists to ask questions, and invitations to lots of networking events.
- Early stage idea incubators where they take you through 4 hour programs or 8 week programs, etc.
- Late stage incubators where they are investing in your company and actively helping you grow to the next levels.
In short, there are loads of opportunities to meet and talk with fellow innovators and like-minded people who might be able to help you.
We were able to take our best idea through some early stage incubators, and we learned that it was not well suited for a tech startup. But, now we know how the process works, and our whole perception of the tech business has shifted. This was time well spent.
Eric has listened to all of the episodes of Jason Calacanis’ podcast called “This Week in Startups”. He recommends checking that out because it is a real eye opener about what is going on with the cutting edge of tech.