With 53 ratings
By: Brad Feld and Ian Hathaway
Purchased At: $29.95
The Way Forward for Entrepreneurship Around the World
We are in the midst of a startup revolution. The growth and proliferation of innovation-driven startup activity is profound, unprecedented, and global in scope. Today, it is understood that communities of support and knowledge-sharing go along with other resources. The importance of collaboration and a long-term commitment has gained wider acceptance. These principles are adopted in many startup communities throughout the world.
And yet, much more work is needed. Startup activity is highly concentrated in large cities. Governments and other actors such as large corporations and universities are not collaborating with each other nor with entrepreneurs as well as they could. Too often, these actors try to control activity or impose their view from the top-down, rather than supporting an environment that is led from the bottom-up. We continue to see a disconnect between an entrepreneurial mindset and that of many actors who wish to engage with and support entrepreneurship. There are structural reasons for this, but we can overcome many of these obstacles with appropriate focus and sustained practice.
No one tells this story better than Brad Feld and Ian Hathaway. The Startup Community Way: Evolving an Entrepreneurial Ecosystem explores what makes startup communities thrive and how to improve collaboration in these rapidly evolving, complex environments.
The Startup Community Way is an explanatory guide for startup communities. Rooted in the theory of complex systems, this book establishes the systemic properties of entrepreneurial ecosystems and explains why their complex nature leads people to make predictable mistakes. As complex systems, value creation occurs in startup communities primarily through the interaction of the "parts" - the people, organizations, resources, and conditions involved - not the parts themselves. This continual process of bottom-up interactions unfolds naturally, producing value in novel and unexpected ways. Through these complex, emergent processes, the whole becomes greater and substantially different than what the parts alone could produce.
Because of this, participants must take a fundamentally different approach than is common in much of our civic and professional lives. Participants must take a whole-system view, rather than simply trying to optimize their individual part. They must prioritize experimentation and learning over planning and execution. Complex systems are uncertain and unpredictable. They cannot be controlled, only guided and influenced. Each startup community is unique. Replication is enticing but impossible. The race to become "The Next Silicon Valley" is futile - even Silicon Valley couldn't recreate itself.
- Offers practical advice for entrepreneurs, community builders, government officials, and other stakeholders who want to harness the power of entrepreneurship in their city
- Describes the core components of startup communities and entrepreneurial ecosystems, as well as an explanation of the differences between these two related, but distinct concepts
- Advances a new framework for effective startup community building based on the theory of complex systems and insights from systems thinking
- Includes contributions from leading entrepreneurial voices
- Is a must-have resource for entrepreneurs, venture capitalists, executives, business and community leaders, economic development authorities, policymakers, university officials, and anyone wishing to understand how startup communities work anywhere in the world
Brad Feld is one of the most qualified people I know of to write on this subject, from actually walking-the-walking to being passionately involved in many and various ways with entrepreneurs and founders throughout the US and globally he has the perspective and credentials to write this book. I am sure this is true for Ian too, I just have not followed his achievements.
The book is a true analysis, with detailed conclusions but also detailed reference for the reader to look at the data on which the book is built. Indeed this is probably the most cross-referenced book I have read in many years. From chapter notes with links to all kinds of sources (in the Kindle version), to the it's own detailed, linked index - it's an analysts dream. Too much, I don't think so - though much will be lost to the Audible reader (which is how I usually consume books).
This book covers a long history, but is not a simple rework of old material which is updated and added to - it is current perspective on historic observation - if only others were learning from history and re-evaluating as they went!
Who is this book for? It seems everyone in the startup community but especially those trying to actively grow and engage such communities - it's for 'activist' founders (which is many of course), not just founders. Not your typical book about startups - don't bother if you are a wannabe founder looking for more reading to take no action upon.
I've enjoyed Brad's perspectives via his blog for a long time, this book has a very different feel to it - for which I assume we thank Ian. Great research, great context and timely as the global economy tasks another big shift in response to 'new wormal'.
Within the book, the concepts of complexity, social capital, and networks of trust provide the depth needed to focus on what matters for the long haul. One of the galvanizing thoughts within these concepts is the simplicity of community-ecosystem fit. As entrepreneurs, we work on product-market fit, and we need to take a similar approach to build an active startup community. Trust is a key factor, as is a focus on social capital. Feld and Hathaway provide deeper thoughts and models for community builders to consider and use.
As someone working to build a new social entrepreneur community, I know this book will become worn as we go back to it again and again. Creating a new community can seem daunting, but The Startup Community Way offers encouragement and models to make it a reality over time.
Peter John Dervenis, Founder, Peter D Help and PJD Academy.