Just this past Easter, almost 20 leading young entrepreneurs, technologists, writers, and artists descended on Reykjavik, Iceland for the first even Thrive conference. Brought together by a common desire to improve the world around them with the tools they know best, they spent a week forging collaborations on projects happening from San Francisco to Burkina Faso to Estonia, teaching one another everything they know about building movements, and making the most of Iceland. Beyond monthly San Francisco and New York City dinners, the Thrive conference focused on a single question: “how can we optimize ourselves to do the most possible good?” Among the group were entrepreneurs like Ocean, founder of REAL Magazine, Zach, co-founder of Book in a Box, and Steve, co-founder of Jobsuitors. The group focused on improving not just their projects, but themselves: the week placed a deep focus on bettering bodies, minds, behaviors, and most of all their tribe – the builders and visionaries with which they surround themselves and call friends.Didn’t get a chance to catch up? The visit to Iceland is just the first step for the Thrive tribe, said organizer Michael Gasiorek, “…since 2008, Iceland has doubled down on the local innovation economy… it’s great time now to connect with other innovation hubs.” On your way to New York or San Francisco, or just want to have a friend on the ground there? You can reach Michael on Twitter at @GasiorekM
There is a lot of talk about not getting stuck in Iceland (in Icelandic) and all the challenges in Iceland (in Icelandic). I think otherwise, I think Iceland is the perfect place to double down on Startup thinking and building your startup. However, you need to think global from day 1 to expand to the global market place. I have written about this before, a small country is a perfect place to get your startup going. Michael and others coming to Iceland to experience that is validation of that thinking. I believe you cannot build an Unicorn in Iceland but you can build a Unicorn starting in Iceland. What is needed is global thinking. This blog post is motivated by a bunch of articles and videos that I have been consuming the last couple of days.
Here is a talk by Dave McClure the founder of 500 Startups, he is giving a talk in Miami in the Pre-money conference about investing globally and how the local ecosystems just underinvest and drive the top founders to Silicon Valley. If you don’t want to see the entire talk skip to the last 10 minutes… believe me it is worth it, he answers the question about how to build the local ecosystem.
So, if you are an Angel investor or Venture Investor reading this write those cheques 🙂 There is nothing wrong with the Founders in your community. I believe great founders are made through experiences but when they start they all start out the same way. The other big problem in the rest of the world has been articulated very eloquently by Adeo Ressi’s in Forbes about Founder Institute. You know that we launched Founder Institute Iceland right? If you know someone who has a day job but has been thinking about becoming an Entrepreneur ask them to join Founder Institute.