What ingredients go in to making a successful startup community? Here in Scotland we need to change our frames of reference when thinking about the way we nurture early stage startups.
RookieOven is at the Dublin Web Summit 2012, speaking to individuals and startups from around the world about their own vision, community and support.
photo credit: WeeJames
I asked Josh Elman of Greylock on what we can do to build a bigger and better startup community here in Scotland. Josh believes that startups can be built anywhere in the world. The difference between Silicon Valley, the other successful startups hubs, and other cities is that people aren’t focused exclusively on revenue. Instead, they are thinking about how to change the world. The question that people have to ask themselves is:
“Can I see a world where 100m people use my product?”
Josh explained that the key to reaching that goal is building and iterating towards your goal. Is your activity growing your user numbers towards that vision? If not, why not?
So what can we do in Scotland to nurture to community around startups and install in entrepreneurs the confidence that they can build a high growth company?
Is it the frames of reference we use?
Firstly, a more traditional view of product development takes the steps to success in sequence: planning, developing, building, marketing and selling. With tech startups that process is repeated in often very short bursts. Asking when you are finished with the ‘build’ stage is nonsense, as the product will always be under active development!
Secondly, comparing early stage startups in our community to the outstanding successes of others is often not helpful. We have an outsiders perspective, and so may be at risk of drawing the wrong conclusions if we don’t understand the context of their community and network. We should be looking at Scottish success stories and tapping into their networks.
Thirdly, we should be inspired by the success of others. Wherever they are in the world, startups are built by people, no different to anyone else anywhere. The successful startup hubs use proximity and serendipity to leverage the power, skills and vision of people in the community. We should take confidence that here in Scotland we have the foundations of success, we just need to build on them.