Synopses & Reviews
The Way Forward for Disruptors and Innovators Around the World
We are in the midst of a startup revolution. The growth and proliferation of innovation-driven startup activity globally is profound and unprecedent. Today, it is understood that communities of support and knowledge-sharing go along with other resources. The importance of collaboration and a long-term commitment has gained acceptance by entrepreneurs and startup community builders. These principles are at the forefront of the leadership behind many startup communities around the world.
And yet, much more work is still needed. Startup activity is highly concentrated in large, elite cities. Governments and other actors such as large corporations and universities are not collaborating with each other nor with entrepreneurs as well as they could. Too often, these actors try to control activity or impose their view from the top-down, rather than supporting an environment that is lead from the bottom-up principally by entrepreneurs. We continue to see a disconnect between an entrepreneurial mindset and that of many individuals and organizations who wish to engage with and support local entrepreneurs. There are structural reasons for this, but we can overcome many of these obstacles with appropriate focus and sustained practice.
No one tells this story better than acclaimed author and investor Brad Feld and Ian Hathaway, an entrepreneur and writer. The Startup Community Way: Evolving an Entrepreneurial Ecosystem--the much-anticipated sequel to Feld's bestselling book Startup Communities: Building an Entrepreneurial Ecosystem in Your City--explores what makes startup communities thrive and how to improve collaboration in these rapidly-evolving, complex environments.
The Startup Community Way is an explanatory guide for startup communities, rooted in the theory of complex systems and the practice of community-building in many contexts. This book establishes the systemic properties of entrepreneurial ecosystems and explains why their complex nature leads people to make predictable mistakes. Among these are the Myth of Quantity, the Illusion of Control, the Absence of a Blueprint, and the Measurement Trap. As complex systems, value creation occurs in startup communities through the interaction of the "parts"--the people, organizations, resources, and conditions involved?not the parts themselves. This continual process of bottom-up interactions unfolds naturally, producing value in novel and unexpected ways. Through this, the whole becomes greater and substantially different what seems possible from an examination of the parts alone.
Because of this, participants must take a fundamentally different approach to startup community building than is common in much of our civic and professional lives. Participants must take a whole-system view, rather than simply trying to optimize their individual piece of the puzzle. They must also prioritize experimentation and learning over planning and execution. Complex systems are uncertain and unpredictable. They cannot be controlled, only guided and influenced. Each startup community is unique. While replication is enticing but impossible. The race to become "The Next Silicon Valley" is futile?even Silicon Valley couldn't recreate itself.
Advancing the practice of building startup communities and evolving entrepreneurial ecosystems, this book:
- Offers practical, real-world advice for entrepreneurs, community builders, government officials, and other stakeholders who want to harness the power of entrepreneurship in their city
- Describes the core components of startup communities and entrepreneurial ecosystems, as well as an explanation of the differences between these two related, but distinct concepts
- Advances a new framework for effective startup community building based on the theory of complex adaptive systems and actionable insights from systems thinking
- Provides an evolution of the Boulder Thesis, incorporating elements from complexity science to explain and support it as a practical framework for startup community building
- Includes contributions from leading entrepreneurial voices in the field
The Startup Community Way is a must-have resource for entrepreneurs, venture capitalists, C-suite executives, business and community leaders, economic development authorities, policymakers, university officials, and anyone wishing to understand how startup communities work anywhere in the world.