The Startup Community Way: Evolving an Entrepreneurial Ecosystem

The Startup Community Way: Evolving an Entrepreneurial Ecosystem

Posted by jack_miller | Published 5 months ago

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.

This book:

  • 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
(How can you review a new release, well getting access to it pre-publication helps - just lucky, not a friend of either author).

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'.

- Anonymous

Reading The Startup Community Way is motivating and thought-provoking. It contains a mix of tangible action steps, along with bigger ideas on how to build a sustainable entrepreneurial community. Too many think that getting the best entrepreneurs and then copying what another community has done are best practices. Feld and Hathaway quickly point out that this is not the way to go. Yes, you need entrepreneurs to lead the community, but finding the ones who are willing to dedicate the effort and use their network to help is a solid starting point. These community members – the keystones – exemplify the power of the few.

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.

- Anonymous

Brad Feld has written a series of must-read books for entrepreneurs and investors — from fund raising to the essence of what a startup community is. He is joined by a great entrepreneur and researcher in related fields for this excellent new effort. They hate when I saY this, but it is a play book on what are the elements to make communities thrive to unleash innovation and economic growth - what has worked from Indianapolis to Lagos - and where policy makers, entrepreneurs, business leaders and more trip. Often it is because we are trying to check boxes, stuck in our own narratives or lazily looking for the next “Silicon Valley” rather than focusing on what are the unique dynamics of one’s city and community and what factors can come together to unleash them. This a wonderfully readable but actionable book with concrete data and examples which should be a must read for anyone leader in their communities now everywhere in the world.

- Anonymous

Our world is on the cusp of a transformation. The challenges of the 21st century - from healthcare to environmental to humanitarian - demand new ways of thinking and perceiving in more complex flexible ways. The Startup Community Way is the perfect guide to not only entrepreneurially enable progress, but the promise and possibilities of the network-centric focus build pathways for creating regenerative value beyond measure. The book synthesises a '3D' perspective of - interconnectedness, interaction, and interdependence for maximising the net value of communities of actors, leaders, feeders, and instigators all committed to using the power of entrepreneurial action to transform lives, and shape a better, more sustainable world. We have the opportunity and the technology to shift the trajectory of our future while unleashing the fullness of entrepreneurial spirit. In the Startup Community Way, you'll learn principles and practises that brings together our collective genius and abilities to tap into this spirit. Such is the ethos of the 'startup community way' for creating good in the world!

- Anonymous

The Startup Community Way is a timely treatise on creating and nurturing a thriving startup community, written by two of the guiding stars of startups. Our current health and economic crises demand informed action. Whether you are a startup founder, entrepreneur, investor, corporate leader, academic, government official, or non-profit change maker, this book will help you to understand how to harness the power of startup communities as engines of economic recovery and growth.

Peter John Dervenis, Founder, Peter D Help and PJD Academy.

- Anonymous

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