Even you, Gainesville.
The back-to-basics approach followed by investors in Boulder-based companies is a blueprint for advancing Gainesville’s entrepreneurial activities. Although
Foundry Group is profiled in a recent New York Times article
(http://www.nytimes.com/2010/05/14/business/14boulder.html?hpw), other investors with interests in Boulder companies have adopted this back-to-basics style.
Does "Boulder-style" suit us? We already
have our own investing style and successful approach for creating and nurturing startups here in Gainesville. Let’s
build on that foundation and accelerate the pace at which companies get built,
the frequency of which they receive investor capital, and the willingness of
the entire community to collaborate in advancing an ecosystem that supports startups.
This ecosystem doesn’t guarantee success. Often, an effective and active ecosystem accelerates a startups demise. But that’s part of the Darwinian selection process at work in the Knowledge & Innovation economy. Here in Gatorland we’re not accustomed to failure – indeed, we’ve been spoiled by our sports teams’ “failure is not an option” mantra – yet failure in innovation hotbeds like Silicon Valley is expected. And tolerated. That’s because that type of failure gives creative rebirth to ideas, people, products, processes and companies.
Richard Florida writes of “talent, technology and tolerance” in his book, The Rise of the Creative Class. We have bunches of the first two. But how are we when it comes to the third, tolerance? That is, how is our tolerance for risk-taking entrepreneurs, cutting-edge ideas, new processes and applications for existing
technologies, the quest for new markets with next generation products, and the
runaway ambition that makes next decades opportunities reachable next year?
If Boulder can succeed with back-to-basic investing fundamentals and Silicon Valley entrepreneurs are known for pursuing big, hairy audacious goals, what is Gainesville’s reputation? Is it harnessing and supporting our razor-sharp academic and entrepreneurial talent? Is it commercializing our world-class
technologies? Is it making $5K-$10K proof-of-concept investments that assist in transforming technologies-to-products? Is it tolerating failure – the type of
failure that’s in the form of creative destruction – because failure
Gainesville-style is the seed that blossoms into future successes?
Si se puede. Si bedemos.