Archive for August, 2012

Utah Startup Map

August 23rd, 2012

I’ve begun a new project of mapping the entrepreneurial ecosystem of the state of Utah. Similar projects are going on in various parts of the country as part of initiative like Startup America or the Startup Genome. This map may eventually move to its own site or become part of a Startup Utah launch but for now we’ll house it here on Brain Huddle. We’ve added a link above to make it easier to access. The map is based off of an open-source code provide by Represent LA who did a great job documenting and doing the hard work. I’ll be seeding the map with a few items to get started but will largely rely on the entrepreneurial community to fill in the blanks. Just click on the “Add Something” button and select from the drop down menu one of the following roles in the ecosystem:

Startup: While some may argue this is a mindset thing I’m going to place a few parameters to avoid turning this into a yellow pages map for the business community. Your company can’t be older than 5 years old max-that should give you enough time to figure out the business model even for those that are funded. You may not have more than 150 employees because this is when you cognitively stop knowing who works for you (though I’m tempted to say 100). On the flip side, I will be excluding any that are obvious service sole proprietors (e.g. Your Own Name Consulting, LLC) or franchised product distributors (e.g. Avon, doTerra Essential oils, etc.) as startups. You stop being a startup when you are recognized as legitimate by the majority of stakeholders though your customers’ opinions matter most and trigger the rest. If there is a threat or risk that you aren’t likely to be around within a year’s time or when funding runs out then you’re probably a startup.

Accelerator: These are programs that provide structured training designed to accelerate the business development of a startup and are for a set time usually a matter of months. Often there is an application process and some cost associated either in the form of equity exchange or fee.

Incubator: These programs are designed to support the successful development of startups by primarily providing space at a reduced rental rate and sometimes a variety of support resources and services. The lack of a finite training program is the main difference between an incubator and accelerator.

Co-working: These are locations where entrepreneurs can work in a shared environment. Unfortunately, there haven’t been a lot of these dedicated spaces that have lasted very long so for the purposes of this map it can also be any public place where you’re likely to find others working, can get decent wifi and some work done (i.e. they won’t kick you out for lounging).

VC/Angels: These are individuals, groups, and organizations that are involved in speculative investing providing capital for startups usually in the form of convertible debt or in exchange for equity. This item can also be used for any traditional loan or microfinancing entities. Any competition or awards that have cash rewards should be listed in events.

Consulting Firm: This category is any individual or organization that provides education or assistance to startup companies or entrepreneurs either for free (e.g. SBDC) or for a fee (e.g. attorneys).

Events: The events are actually not submitted by the form but are pulled from eventbrite.com from results that show up under a search for the keyword entrepreneurial. If the event does not use eventbrite such as a meetup or a competition then email the details to brainhuddle@gmail.com and it will be added to BrainHuddle’s proxy page for Utah Entrepreneurial Events so that it will show on the map. So some events that are regular like LaunchUp won’t show up until they put up their usual eventbrite page

Please help us fill up the map and make entrepreneurship in Utah easy!

Success Metrics

August 2nd, 2012

I’m trying to avoid opening this post with what might sound like introspective lyrics (e.g. life is a journey…) but find it rather challenging. This past year has been eye opening through my own and others experiences (I’m thankful for vicarious learning, though saddened by it as well) as to what I personally prioritize in my life both short and long term. I’ve tried to reshuffle things accordingly,deal with the consequences of a shift in thinking and struggled to change old habits. I find it is also a shift in identity, how you define yourself, the world around you , and where you fit in it especially when you no longer play by the rules. When I’ve talked about my life changes something that seems to resonate with others is the concept of changing your success metrics of your life. A great oldie (considering how fast things move) but goodie on this topic is this article in the Harvard Business Review (http://hbr.org/2010/07/how-will-you-measure-your-life/ar/1). Enjoy!

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