Gunnar Holmstein, the Colorful CEO of Clara comes up with interesting perspectives. He has a question about if startup ecosystems should do what Eric Ries talks about in his book The Lean Startup. Rather than trying to build a “Silicon Valley” clone in every city and country, should we be asking How can we build Sustainable Entrepreneurial Ecosystems the same way we build a company. The challenges are the same, and we face tremendous uncertainty in both situations. Can we build better Entrepreneurial Ecosystem by asking the question how do we know it is sustainable? how do we know what we are building is wanted by the market? What should be the metrics that we should measure, so that we can apply the Build – Measure – Learn iterative cycle to even Entrepreneurial Ecosystem building. I think we have a very interesting question to ask our guests and participants for the Conference in Iceland in May. How do we Build a Sustainable Entrepreneurial Ecosystem. Have you signed up yet? if not you can @ http://signup.startupiceland.com.
Chris Schultz was fortunate to hear Brad Feld talk about his 5 components of a sustainable startup ecosystem and he has written about it here, and more recently Brad linked his post on Startup communities to a talk given by David Cohen in San Diego and David has 7 things that need to be there for Startup ecosystems to flourish. Is it possible for us to measure these 5 or 7 things? Can we build-measure-learn these things? I certainly believe so. I am going to list them here and see how we can measure each:
- Long View – a 20 year timeline – stakeholders must be committed to the community for long term. Can this be measured? even if we could what would be the purpose of measuring this?
- Entrepreneurial leadership – It has to be lead by Entrepreneurs, cannot be led by governments, non-profits, big companies, VCs, lawyers, accountants, economic development, universities. All of those stakeholders need to be engaged, but entrepreneurs must drive it. This can be measured? basically who is running the show when it comes to Entrepreneurial ecosystem.
- Fresh Meat – Need new talent all the time, college graduates and people should move in and out. This is easy to measure, the number of new graduates coming out the universities and maybe a cross mash up between the Design/Creative group and the Technical/Engineering group. A Ratio of Creative/Analytical graduates
- Engaging Activities – engage the entrepreneurial community from top to bottom – startup to serial entrepreneurs – get all involved – you need a thing that engages all those people. You want really active engagement for a moderate period of time because its impossible to maintain a high level activity by someone on something that is not core focus. This can be measured as well, the example given is the TechStars program and other incubator programs in Boulder Colorado.
- Repeat – must have a rhythm with for a long time. Must have a beat that last through economic cycles. The only way to build a community is to move beyond boom and bust and build something over extended periods of time. This again is not relevant to measure, but it should be interesting to see continuity.