SYS-CON MEDIA Authors: Pat Romanski, Zakia Bouachraoui, Liz McMillan, Elizabeth White, Yeshim Deniz

Blog Feed Post

How to Turn Your City Into a ‘Startup City’


@StartUpGrindBuf asks, “Turning #buffalo from a #rustbelt city into a #startup city?”

Emerging research validates that “where” entrepreneurs start is as important as “what” they start-up. And when it comes to where, it’s all about how. How prepared is your city to revitalize small business, encourage entrepreneurship and stabilize start-ups, really? Any region hoping to own a coveted ranking on the next top 10 list of start-up cities must be thinking deeper than old school incentives and more like entrepreneurs to address the invisible needs that aren’t discussed or met.

  • What percentage of your city’s total business is small businesses? How engaged and invested is your business ecosystem? How is your city encouraging support of your local business including big business, small business and start-ups across all B-to-B, B-to-C and industry sectors?
  • Has your city clearly identified all of the industry clusters, market potential, expertise and supports needed to make it all happen? Do your citizens know what you are hoping to build and own? How is the city shaping the business concentration and communicating the common goals, to the whole community, necessary to sustain and accelerate highly specialized industries, innovation and partnerships?
  • Is your city more loyal than progressive? How is your city training the conservative, stodgy and mid-sized businesses to take interest in the start-up competitors, services, and technologies?
  • Is your city piloting major reforms intent on eradicating corruption, nepotism, old guard entitlement and free enterprise killers? How is your city dealing with the established political networks that fear disruption and hinder fair competition?
  • Is your existing start-up community sprawled about, fragmented and disconnected? How is your city dismantling “scarcity mentalities” that hinder the “collision density”* required to sustain a vibrant entrepreneurial culture?
  • How many of your co-working facilities are really investor and university incubators bartering space, interest-free loans and mentors for an equity stake? How can your city inspire legit, no-strings co-working and networking that fosters the level of “collision density”* needed to inspire solutions, partnerships, and innovations?
  • Does your city value or devalue the support services, industries and niche professionals necessary to bring new businesses and products to market? How is the city preparing the interconnected business ecology to respect that it’s going to take the village operating as a united strategic advantage this time?
  • Does your city know “who” they are looking for? How is the city attracting and vetting entrepreneurs that can really go the distance? How is the city separating the well-connected, wild idea generator with seed money from Dad and nothing better to do from the business savvy, indefatigable visionary with ample technical skills and just enough operational knowledge to nurture the start-up through idea, launch and phases of growth?

*Collision Density: as the density of people increases, interactions (collisions) increase.  These collisions lead to unplanned idea exchanges, which increases innovation. (1)

In ideal ecologies, entrepreneurs attract entrepreneurs, start-ups launch start-ups, small businesses invest in the community; the community re-invests in small businesses, all of which cultivates a cluster effect that evolves into a distinct, reinforcing, start-up friendly ecosystem. And this is the problem for any city hoping to “become” a start-up city. Cities shy of entrepreneurs, cities wooing start-ups from long and far, cities having to incentivize relocation, and cities that aren’t known for their distinct, reinforcing, start-up friendly ecosystem likely have wicked problems that hinder entrepreneurial pursuits and start-ups.

The serious competition for the Start-Up City title is a wicked problem unto itself. Like the classic, “All American City” before it, “Start-Up City” has become the latest de-facto brand identifier that too many cities are slapping on their welcome signs and municipal letterheads. Defending the brand position and standing apart as a serious contender for the crown requires radical change and serious investments beyond superficial access to investors, hubs and affordable housing: Streamlining bureaucratic obstacles and “city hall” mind sets. Removing overlapping procedural layers while making it easy and obvious where to go for assistance, or how to assist. Leveling the playing field and democratizing competition. Supporting existing enterprises, stimulating latent industries and re-engineering next generation developments ahead of the curve while nurturing start-ups. Sustaining buy-in while abolishing the practice of back room deals and entitlement privileges. Inspiring an overarching atmosphere of consumer engagement and business investment that advocates ownership of and pride in the city’s life support, the sustainable business ecology. These are the difference makers.

And then there is the ethical dilemma. Every wanna-be, Start-Up City, in dire straits, luring boot strapped entrepreneurs to your experiment has a duty to consider the ethics of disadvantaging innovation, investments and entrepreneurs in economically repressed, politically beholden or uber conservative regions not ready to develop a reinforcing, start-up friendly ecosystem. Cities coming to see the value of start-ups this late in the game are definitely disadvantaged; but not as disadvantaged as the start-ups that get wooed into cities with one time grant funded programs making big promises but having no community engagement or synergistic “collision density” strategies (that actually work), no major reform pilots that ensure access and opportunity, no long term sustainability plan and definitely no know “how”. Entrepreneurship is not something “out there”, it’s carried in the vulnerable hearts of people that think different and embrace progress. Any city vying for the heart of entrepreneurs has a responsibility to evaluate their own.

I say all that to say this, @StartUpGrindBuf. I launched a start-up in Buffalo. I know what the city has to offer and what it has to overcome. Ramping up a Start-Up City begins with kick starting the human spirit (not free rent at a high cost). In which case Buffalo has an amazing competitive advantage. Rally, harness and channel the Buffalove to dismantle the barriers, get down to business and lay claim to your seat at the start-up table. Identify ways to bring the community together rather than isolate, exclude or pit competing factions against one another (insider versus outsider, art against industry, profit versus non-profit). Buffalo’s resilience, fortitude and spirit could prove be a fiercely supportive business culture that excites entrepreneurial thinking and amplifies successes, begetting more ventures, spurring more investment, evolving a distinct, reinforcing, start-up friendly ecosystem.

Where there is Buffalove there is a way and a “how” to jump start the human spirit, the key to your Start-Up City.

(1)   “Growth, innovation, scaling, and the pace of life in cities.”Luís M. A. Bettencourt,*† José Lobo,‡ Dirk Helbing,§ Christian Kühnert,§ and Geoffrey B. West*

(This content was originally posted at Brand Mother Strategies.)

Read the original blog entry...

More Stories By Shelly Palmer

Shelly Palmer is the host of Fox Television’s "Shelly Palmer Digital Living" television show about living and working in a digital world. He is Fox 5′s (WNYW-TV New York) Tech Expert and the host of United Stations Radio Network’s, MediaBytes, a daily syndicated radio report that features insightful commentary and a unique insiders take on the biggest stories in technology, media, and entertainment.

Latest Stories
Platform-as-a-Service (PaaS) is a technology designed to make DevOps easier and allow developers to focus on application development. The PaaS takes care of provisioning, scaling, HA, and other cloud management aspects. Apache Stratos is a PaaS codebase developed in Apache and designed to create a highly productive developer environment while also supporting powerful deployment options. Integration with the Docker platform, CoreOS Linux distribution, and Kubernetes container management system ...
Because Linkerd is a transparent proxy that runs alongside your application, there are no code changes required. It even comes with Prometheus to store the metrics for you and pre-built Grafana dashboards to show exactly what is important for your services - success rate, latency, and throughput. In this session, we'll explain what Linkerd provides for you, demo the installation of Linkerd on Kubernetes and debug a real world problem. We will also dig into what functionality you can build on ...
The Japan External Trade Organization (JETRO) is a non-profit organization that provides business support services to companies expanding to Japan. With the support of JETRO's dedicated staff, clients can incorporate their business; receive visa, immigration, and HR support; find dedicated office space; identify local government subsidies; get tailored market studies; and more.
Most organizations are awash today in data and IT systems, yet they're still struggling mightily to use these invaluable assets to meet the rising demand for new digital solutions and customer experiences that drive innovation and growth. What's lacking are potent and effective ways to rapidly combine together on-premises IT and the numerous commercial clouds that the average organization has in place today into effective new business solutions. New research shows that delivering on multicloud e...
Isomorphic Software is the global leader in high-end, web-based business applications. We develop, market, and support the SmartClient & Smart GWT HTML5/Ajax platform, combining the productivity and performance of traditional desktop software with the simplicity and reach of the open web. With staff in 10 timezones, Isomorphic provides a global network of services related to our technology, with offerings ranging from turnkey application development to SLA-backed enterprise support. Leadin...
Take advantage of autoscaling, and high availability for Kubernetes with no worry about infrastructure. Be the Rockstar and avoid all the hurdles of deploying Kubernetes. So Why not take Heat and automate the setup of your Kubernetes cluster? Why not give project owners a Heat Stack to deploy Kubernetes whenever they want to? Hoping to share how anyone can use Heat to deploy Kubernetes on OpenStack and customize to their liking. This is a tried and true method that I've used on my OpenSta...
DevOps is a world surrounded by information, starting from a single commit and ending in roll out to production. In this talk, I'll introduce you to the world of Taboola DevOps data collection, to better understand what goes on under the hood. The system we've developed in-house helps us collect and analyse the entire DevOps process from the very first commit all the way to production. It provides us a full clear view with a drill-down toolset that helps keep us away from the dark side. ...
We at Capgemini have developed a cloud-native PaaS Solution called "Apollo". Apollo is built on top of following open source components. - Apache Mesos for cluster management, scheduling & resource isolation - Marathon or Kubernetes for Container orchestration - Docker for application container runtime, - Consul for service discovery via DNS - Weave for networking of Docker Containers - Traefik for application container load balancing
After years of investments and acquisitions, CloudBlue was created with the goal of building the world's only hyperscale digital platform with an increasingly infinite ecosystem and proven go-to-market services. The result? An unmatched platform that helps customers streamline cloud operations, save time and money, and revolutionize their businesses overnight. Today, the platform operates in more than 45 countries and powers more than 200 of the world's largest cloud marketplaces, managing mo...
With digital video content creation going viral and assuming the bulk of Internet traffic, how can the deluge of video content be analyzed effectively to derive insights and ROI? After all, video is not only huge in size, but it is complex given various visual, audio and temporal elements. Video summarization (a mechanism for generating a short video summary via key frame analysis or video skimming) has become a popular research topic industry-wide and across academia. Video thumbnail generation...
At CloudEXPO Silicon Valley, June 24-26, 2019, Digital Transformation (DX) is a major focus with expanded DevOpsSUMMIT and FinTechEXPO programs within the DXWorldEXPO agenda. Successful transformation requires a laser focus on being data-driven and on using all the tools available that enable transformation if they plan to survive over the long term. A total of 88% of Fortune 500 companies from a generation ago are now out of business. Only 12% still survive. Similar percentages are found throug...
As you know, enterprise IT conversation over the past year have often centered upon the open-source Kubernetes container orchestration system. In fact, Kubernetes has emerged as the key technology -- and even primary platform -- of cloud migrations for a wide variety of organizations. Kubernetes is critical to forward-looking enterprises that continue to push their IT infrastructures toward maximum functionality, scalability, and flexibility.
The standardization of container runtimes and images has sparked the creation of an almost overwhelming number of new open source projects that build on and otherwise work with these specifications. Of course, there's Kubernetes, which orchestrates and manages collections of containers. It was one of the first and best-known examples of projects that make containers truly useful for production use. However, more recently, the container ecosystem has truly exploded. A service mesh like Istio a...
Containerized software is riding a wave of growth, according to latest RightScale survey. At Sematext we see this growth trend via our Docker monitoring adoption and via Sematext Docker Agent popularity on Docker Hub, where it crossed 1M+ pulls line. This rapid rise of containers now makes Docker the top DevOps tool among those included in RightScale survey. Overall Docker adoption surged to 35 percent, while Kubernetes adoption doubled, going from 7% in 2016 to 14% percent.
Technology has changed tremendously in the last 20 years. From onion architectures to APIs to microservices to cloud and containers, the technology artifacts shipped by teams has changed. And that's not all - roles have changed too. Functional silos have been replaced by cross-functional teams, the skill sets people need to have has been redefined and the tools and approaches for how software is developed and delivered has transformed. When we move from highly defined rigid roles and systems to ...