Brad Feld

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Entrepreneurial Communities Must Be Led By Entrepreneurs

Oct 18, 2011
Category Books

I’m about to head out to TechStars New York Demo Day. Our investment in SideTour – one of the TechStars New York companies – was announced yesterday and I’m excited to introduce them along with hanging out with all of the other great entrepreneurs from this session. If you’ve been watching the Bloomberg TechStars series, we are doing the finale tonight where we meet with all of the teams and see where they are six months after the program ended. It’ll be happening live at 9pm ET/PT.

Since I haven’t yet figured out how to be in two places at the same time, I ended up recording a short video for a meeting on entrepreneurial communities that I was invited to. In it, I talk about my first of four principles of entrepreneurial communities, specifically that entrepreneurial communities must be led by entrepreneurs.

Following is the video along with my notes.

Four key principles of entrepreneurial communities
– led by entrepreneurs
– 20 year view from today
– engage the entire entrepreneurial stack
– continually get fresh blood into the system

briefly focus on the first – entrepreneurial communities have to be led by entrepreneurs

entrepreneurial communities have leaders and feeders

feeders include everyone that does things that are inputs into the entrepreneurial community
– lawyers
– accountants
– angel investors
– venture capitalists
– government

leaders are the entrepreneurs
– you don’t need a lot to make a huge difference
– a half a dozen is a great starting point
– but they have to commit for 20 years from today

all of the feeders have a role
– some feeders try to be leaders – this never works
– rhythm is wrong: 20 years vs. 4 of government
– personality is wrong: lead vs. support
– incentives are wrong: job vs. creative act

if the leadership of an entrepreneurial community is co-opted by local government
– there might be short term activity
– but it will fail over the long term to become sustainable

remember: the entrepreneurs need to be leaders

if you are a feeder:
– identify them
– encourage them
– support them

but let the entrepreneurs be the leaders