Start Ups

Maybe We Could Do That In A Small Town

Tuesday six of us traveled to Kansas City and met with several businesses and leaders to see what their start up community was doing.  The picture below is John Hawkins-mayor, me, Nate Olson, Zach Chizek-attorney, Brian Miller-city council, Maureen Seamonds-artist, Logan Welch-city council and Adam Arredondo.  Nate Olson works for Crema and they are a dynamic team of product designers, developers, and business strategists building digital products for startups & evolving brands.  Adam is the co-founder and director of entrepreneurship of CEED, a startup ecosystem incubator. 

Adam has developed the Hitchhikers Guide to the Kansas City Start up Community and you can view it here.  It shows you all you need to know about the start up community in KC: start ups, work spaces, bankers, initiatives, social media, events, meet ups, conferences, investors, conferences, accelerators, incubators, support organizations, design shops, friendly corporations, coworking spaces, maker spaces, legal, banking, media coverage, jobs, newsletters, blogs, and hangout spots.

Do we have all those things?  Nope.  But we do have some of them!  Maybe we could start our own Hitchhikers Guide to the Webster City Start Up Community.

Our team touring the worlds largest co-working space.  It’s an old school built in 1923, slated to open in early 2017.  Lou Steele, principal at Creative Collaborative Change is on the right and was our tour guide. 
Adam Arredondo is a big fan of Brad Feld who wrote Start Up Communities.  We are obviously not Kansas City, but I think maybe there are some lessons we can take away from KC.  One of the things we saw was that people just started doing things.  They got an idea, they figured out how to do it.  And they did it.  Feld says:
“Just do stuff. It’s kind of that simple. It’s literally entrepreneurs just starting to do things. If you’re in a city where there’s no clear startup community, the goal is not raise a bunch of money to fund a nonprofit, the goal is not get your government involved. The goal is start finding the other entrepreneurial leaders who are committed to being in your city over the next 20 years. Then, as a group, get very focused on knowing each other, working together, being inclusive of anyone else who wants to engage, doing things that help recruit people to that geography, and doing selfish stuff for your company that also drives your startup community.”

Brad also shared another quick story with us.  He said over the past few years he learned many lessons, but one of the most important ones was simple.  Keep taking every meeting.  Talk to everyone that wanted to talk to you. 

1. Just do stuff.
2. Go see what other communities are doing.
3. Talk to each other.
4. You’ve got to tell your story.
5. Talk to everyone.


This article was originally written for my weekly post on Wednesday for Building Possibility.  You can receive the newsletter too! Just sign up in the box to the right – Start Building Possibility.