In yet another insane move by government against entrepreneurs and job creators, the Colorado PUC is proposing a new set of rules that would shut down Uber in Colorado. This is protectionism and misuse of power in an egregious form. Government supporting powerful incubants (the taxi industry) that are threatened by disruptive innovators through regulation. Yuck.
As a Colorado entrepreneurial community, we shouldn’t stand for this. As citizens and tax payers in Colorado, we shouldn’t stand for this. And as innovators, looking forward, we shouldn’t stand for this. My call to action is at the end of this email – if you do nothing else, go sign the petition right now. And tell everyone you know.
I think our governor, John Hickenlooper, is awesome. I hope he focuses on this quickly and demonstrates his own background as an entrepreneur, as an innovator, and as a proponent of innovation. Given the launch of his new effort to rebrand Colorado for the next 20 years, I hope he focuses his brandCO effort on innovation, entrepreneurship, and the future, rather than protecting incumbents in regulated industries through the misuse of power, especially in areas – such as the taxi industry – where the service, at least in Colorado, is uniformly poor. Colorado’s new brand shouldn’t be “backwater protectionist state” – yeah – that doesn’t sound very good to me.
The Uber story has already played out in a number of other states. The regulators quickly back down from the powerful lobby / industry groups that are influencing the new regulations. In some cases, it’s a simple misuse of power. In others, it’s a lack of understanding of what is going on. And in others, it has been a backward looking regulator, or government, that momentarily forgets that it serves its citizens, not a small constituent of incumbents.
The PUC rule changes are extensive, but there are several cleverly woven in that effectively shut down Uber if implemented. Read the following examples and be appalled.
– Section 6301: Uber’s pricing model will be made illegal: Sedan companies will no longer be able to charge by distance (section 6301): This is akin to telling a hotel it is illegal to charge by the night.
– Section 6309: Uber’s partner-drivers will effectively be banned from Downtown — by making it illegal for an Uber car to be within 200 feet of a restaurant, bar, or hotel. This is TAXI protectionism at its finest. The intent is to make sure that only a TAXI can provide a quick pickup in Denver’s city center.
– Section 6001 (ff): Uber’s partner-drivers will be forced out of business — partnering with local sedan companies will be prohibited.
These rules are not designed to promote safety, nor improve quality of service. They are intended to stop innovation, protect incumbents, hurt independent drivers, and shut down Uber in Denver.
There are several things you can do right now.
1) Contact Gov. Hickenlooper and tell him, “Save Uber in Colorado! Withdraw PUC Rules Changes to sections 6001, 6301, & 6309.”
2) Contact the Colorado PUC Directly:
3) Sign the petition that shows the PUC your #UberDENVERLove.
Disclosure: I am NOT a direct investor in Uber, although I have personal investments in several VC funds that are invested in Uber. However, my ownership is tiny and the amount I’ve spent on Uber services since they launched several years in the bay area dwarfs the amount of money I’d ever expect to see from my indirect investment. I’ve written this because I love the service, love the company, and love their innovation. Society improves when innovators like Uber are able to do their thing – it’s a deeply held belief of mine – that’s why I’ve written this post.
Xconomy is coming to Colorado – specifically Boulder and Denver. They are looking for a writer for the Colorado beat. See the request below.
As Xconomy moves forward in Boulder, Denver, and beyond, we’re going to need someone in the Front Range with the right mix of enthusiasm, creativity, versatility, knowledge, and who also happens to be a top-notch writer. The job will probably be part-time at first, hopefully building quickly to full time as we build our business in Colorado. Our ideal candidate will be a resourceful researcher and fearless interviewer, with the ability to write swiftly and the experience to produce breaking business news stories, longer features, profiles, and bloggy posts on a daily schedule.
We want someone who can work independently, but in close coordination with the team at Xconomy. (You can learn more about us here.) We also give high marks for a sense of humor, and those who show a talent for Web publishing tools and social media.
If this sounds like you, write us at email@example.com. Tell us about yourself, your knowledge of the Colorado innovation scene, and why you think you’d be a great fit with Xconomy—and don’t forget a resume and clips.
If this is you, send a note right now to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Some time ago a group of entrepreneurs including my partner Seth Levine came together to talk about how to promote entrepreneurship in Colorado and celebrate the fact that entrepreneurship has become a huge part of the Colorado business ecosystem. The result of that discussion was Colorado Entrepreneurial By Nature – a grass roots branding campaign whose goal is to get Colorado entrepreneurs to rally around their shared love of our state and our entrepreneurial culture.
Colorado – Entrepreneurial by Nature is officially launching today in conjunction with Denver Startup Week. I’m awesomely proud of both efforts – they are great examples of how a Startup Community can be led by entrepreneurs. Both efforts are grass roots, totally network based, and driven by entrepreneurs. Denver Startup Week looks completely awesome – the schedule of events is just tremendous.
Go get the badge and fly it proudly on your site if you are a Colorado entrepreneur!
I’ve been involved in Startup Weekend events since Andrew Hyde held his first event in Boulder in 2007. As you know I’ve recently joined the board and have enjoyed watching the organization flourish. One interesting development is the growth of industry-focused events and it’s especially exciting to see Entrepreneurs and Educators collaborating Education-focused Startup Weekends. A team of organizers in Boulder has put together a Startup Weekend Edu for next weekend (October 5th-7th) in Boulder and I’d love to see the tech community come out in support of entrepreneurship that focuses on making the lives of students, teachers, parents, and administrators better.
The judge panel is pretty impressive. Glenn Moses (Denver blended learning guru) and Dan Domagala (CIO for the Colorado Department of Ed) both signed on as judges, and Congressman Jared Polis will be joining SWedu-ers on Sunday morning. They need a few more sponsors for meals and have plenty of room for attendees. Please forward this out to your network and, if you haven’t confirmed your attendance, please do that now!
While the fires in Colorado have calmed down and the firefighters are in the process of getting them contained, there continues to be plenty of fire danger as the firefighters continue to work incredibly hard. It’s going to be a tough summer for fire in Colorado and I’m proud of all the support this community has given out of the gate to people impacted.
As of this evening we’ve raised $43,000, including the $20,000 match from me, Amy, and NewsGator. A number of companies have signed up to match gifts and Crowdrise, who has helped us get this online fundraiser up and running in the last 24 hours, has been awesome to work with.
If you haven’t contributed and are willing, please donate now. All of your donations via Team Anchor Point Fund (the foundation Amy and I have) will go to the Denver Foundation – CO Fire Relief Fund 2012.
There are many other initiatives going on to fund firefighters and people impacted by the fire. One of my favorites is Wild Fire Tees. I bought one yesterday – all of the profits are being donated to Care and Share or the Colorado Red Cross.
Sometimes it’s hard to realize the impact of community support in situations like this. There are numerous people working incredibly hard to deal with a force of nature (fire) that creates huge anxiety and stress in a community. While you may not directly relate to it, every contribution of any amount, no matter how small, is helpful.
For anyone who writes a check, does something to help someone who is impacted by the fires, or even just expresses words of support, thank you. I know the Colorado community appreciates it greatly, especially those directly impacted by the fires.
My friends at NewsGator have started a fundraising campaign to help victims of the Colorado wildfires. In addition to getting the campaign up and running, NewsGator has committed to a matching gift of $10,000. Amy and I decided to match that gift from our foundation, so the matching gift is now $20,000.
I’d like to encourage everyone involved in a startup in Colorado (or anyone in the world) to help your neighbors in Colorado Springs, Fort Collins, and Boulder who are victims of the current fires that are raging. There are two ways to do this:
1. Give a direct gift via my page. Amy and I are matching the first $10,000 of gifts.
2. If you are part of a startup, start a campaign for your company. It’s easy and will take a few minutes. Then – rally your gang to contribute.
While the current Boulder fire is getting under control, many people in Colorado Springs and Fort Collins are still at risk. And many others have been impacted. Here’s a note I got from a friend in Fort Collins.
hi, brad. yes, sadly, our ranch burned to the ground 2 weeks ago. we got the all clear to go back on thursday. even though it’s a giant scorched hole in the earth, we need to see it.
we’re fine. animals, horses, children all safe. we were on a motorcycle trip. so, literally have only the clothes on our backs (and some really cool motorcycle helmets). i’ve never had nothing and i’m learning a lot from it.
We are part of an amazing community. Be thankful for what you’ve got and send good karma out in the world. You never know when you’ll need it to come back to you.
One of the fun projects I am involved with is Startup Colorado, a community focused initiative to spur new company creation in Colorado. One of Startup Colorado’s most promising projects is Startup Summer.
Startup Summer is an immersive summer program offering the opportunity to work as a paid intern for a Boulder/Denver startup and attend a variety of evening events, including a weekly seminar series on entrepreneurship. We are looking for students at any four-year college or university in Colorado who are aspiring entrepreneurs and want to participate in a program that could change their lives. If you know a Colorado college student who would want to participate, tell them to apply to Startup Summer:
The idea is simple: work as an intern by day for a great startup, then participate in a variety of evening events that will give you great exposure to the basics of entrepreneurship, including substantive classes on issues that entrepreneurs face, as well as various social events. As an added layer of fun and relationship building, we’re expecting Startup Summer interns to live together in CU housing in Boulder.
Startup Summer offers a great experience, including:
- A paid ten-week internship with a Boulder/Denver startup; the internship will include frequent interaction with the company founders and management team
- The Startup Summer Seminar Series featuring prominent entrepreneurs teaching classes on entrepreneurship
- A weekly social event with business leaders in the community
- A community with your peers in Startup Summer through group housing in Boulder
- An end-of-summer competition with an opportunity to win mentorship from some of Boulder’s finest entrepreneurs and investors
I think this program has the potential to open up high growth entrepreneurship to a wider range of Colorado students than has been possible before. If you are a student at any four-year college or university in Colorado, check it out.
We launched Startup Colorado last week as part of the Startup America Partnership. I’m co-chairing this effort with Phil Weiser (Dean of CU Boulder Law School) and Jan Horsfall (CEO of Gelazzi). Dave Mangum (Silicon Flatirons Research Fellow) is the Executive Director and the effort is being sponsored by Silicon Flatirons at CU Boulder.
We’ve got a bunch of great entrepreneurs from Boulder, Denver, and Colorado Springs involved at this point and are reaching out to entrepreneurs in Fort Collins to help us get things up and running there. We’re taking a 20 year view to this effort so rather than create some grand conceptual plans, we’ve chosen six initiatives to go after in the first year. We are building off of the incredible entrepreneurial community that has been created in Boulder and starting by exporting several of the concepts that we know work, while trying some new things in Boulder. The six initiatives are:
- Export the magic of the Boulder tech community to Fort Collins, Denver, and Colorado Springs by expanding New Tech Meetups, Open Coffee Clubs, and Community Office Hours to these cities.
- Create an Entrepreneurial Summer Camp in Boulder for talented college students from throughout Colorado. These students will be housed at CU Boulder and work as paid interns for Boulder startups.
- Support entrepreneurial education in the Front Range by developing a New Venture Challenge business competition for Boulder-area high schools with the goal of seeding the other Front Range cities with leaders to expand the competition throughout Colorado.
- Evaluate current barriers that entrepreneurs face, including an assessment of what best practices are in place at entrepreneurial communities around the US and world. We’ll start by measuring in detail what’s going on in Boulder and try to create a framework for any city.
- Engage larger companies in the entrepreneurial ecosystem through commitments to help entrepreneurs.
- Build the Startup Colorado website to be a thorough database for information and connections.
We are very aware that there are plenty of other cities in Colorado, especially on the western slope, and hope to include them in Startup Colorado in year two. We know that some of the ideas above won’t work and we intend to make mistakes, kill things off quickly, and keep iterating on new ideas. Our goal is to do stuff, rather than just talk about stuff.
If you are an entrepreneur and want to get involved in helping lead the Startup Colorado effort, email me.
On November 9th, I’ll be helping launch Startup Colorado. We’ll be having a kickoff event at CU Boulder from 6:30pm – 8:35pm.
Startup Colorado will be one of the regional initiatives under the umbrella of the Startup America Partnership. Startup Colorado is an initiative to make a meaningful impact on entrepreneurship and new company creation in the Front Range. We want to expand the breadth and depth of entrepreneurial networks from Fort Collins to Boulder to Denver to Colorado Springs and lower barriers for people who want to build high-growth businesses.
At the launch event, our agenda will include talking specifically about what our plans and goals are for 2012. We’ll be operating under my first principle of entrepreneurial communities – that an entrepreneurial community must be lead by entrepreneurs. We have a panel discussing what has happened in Boulder over the past decade and one about the power of mentorship.
If you are an entrepreneur in Colorado, we’d love to have you join us. Please register at the Silicon Flatirons site. The event will be at the Wittemyer Courtroom, Wolf Law Building, University of Colorado on Wednesday, November 9, 2011; 6:30 – 8:35 PM.
Mobile Monday Colorado is hosting a member of the TechStars mentor family, Dion Almaer, for their July 19th event. Dion is Managing Director of Developer Relations at Palm (now part of HP). Besides his involvement with TechStars as a mentor, he is a celebrity in the AJAX community as the co-founder of Ajaxian.com, and previously held senior positions within Mozilla and Google. Dion will be able to shed some light on how the largest consumer device company in the world will be integrating WebOS into various product lineups including tablets and intelligent printers. He will talk about the direction of the WebOS operating environment specifically and the future of mobile and the web. It is sure to be a solid event worth checking out.