Voice of Denver is a biweekly featured post from Denver's entrepreneurs, experts and raconteurs. Contact us if you'd like to stand on our soapox.
I know I’m not alone when I say, Denver Startup Week
was great, but now what? Like rain in the desert, it was a welcome relief, but as we attempted to create a vibrant startup community in one week, it ended up feeling like a flash flood.
To the 3,500 attendees and 72 speakers and organizers that participated in Denver Startup Week, we now know you exist. The question is: Will you stick around and help build something that lasts?
I understand that you might be busy. Whether you’re a founder or an employee, startups require immense dedication. I worked at a newspaper and I can honestly say that working at a startup is more intense and deadline-driven.
You work with passionate, creative people who are constantly coming up with new ideas, and those new ideas turn into priorities and deadlines. This might be part of the reason so many new faces showed up for DSW as hosts, community leaders, and attendees. You only had one week to be involved, so something that might have normally been pushed to the back burner got moved up to a top slot on the your priority list.
While being busy is understandable, we are startups, we are used to getting things done whether we’re busy or not. Our motto is: just get started. And here’s the wonderful secret: you’ve already gotten started. You’re past that initial step, usually the most awkward and flimsy. After this, it only gets easier.
That talk you gave on startup marketing, why not give it again next month? That startup bar crawl your company participated in that left you with a half-full keg and very happy employees, why not host a happy hour in March when you’ll probably be the only one and draw a larger crowd? Those steps you took during startup week can be retraced, so that all it takes is picking a date and telling people to come. If you have free beer, they will find you.
One of the strengths we have as startups is the instinct to act without requiring an authority to tell us what to do. Entrepreneurs by their very nature carve their own path. An independent spirit can do amazing things when applied to building a community.
The overwhelming reaction to DSW made it clear that there’s a huge need for a community in Denver and that there are more than enough of us to lead the way. As Brad Feld put it, "All that is needed is a critical mass of entrepreneurs, often less than a dozen, who will provide leadership." DSW showed us that we definitely have that.
So my challenge to you is to do what you did during Denver Startup Week, but spread it out to last the entire year. If you gave a talk, give it again or give a new one, if you threw an event, do it again (with a slightly different angle if you want).
Just don’t go into hiding. I didn’t get a chance to meet a lot of you.