SO Summit Thoughts

Just over a week ago, I was fortunate enough to have the opportunity to attend the first Startup Organizers Summit in Kansas City.  It was fortunate because my travel budget is completely destroyed and I didn’t have to travel to make it.  Also, as Steven Chau likes to say, we have only talked about organizing the KC Startup Community so far.  We haven’t done much.  By contrast, the summit attendees were largely people that had already done plenty for their respective communities.

A place to call home

It has been years since I felt so fulfilled by simply being a part of a community.  This gathering made me feel like I belong.  Despite the fact that we are still getting some of our efforts for the KC community spun up, it was clear that these were my kind of people.  By Saturday morning, I was wishing that there was enough time to spend an hour talking to every single person in attendance.  Obviously, there was not enough time to do talk to everyone, but I made lots of meaningful connections, especially with people that can act as resources for us in the future.  The future in KC is looking brighter and brighter by the day.

What we learned

When you feel like you are trying to build something impossible, it is good to know that there are others that have been successful doing something similar.  In my conversations with other organizers, it was apparent that we are not on this road by ourselves.  From Madrid to the Midwest, there are people volunteering their time to improve the outlook for the next entrepreneur.  We plan to keep up with this support network and ask for help when it becomes necessary.

I also spent a significant amount of time talking to the various curators for StartupDigest University Editions.  We have a pretty good vision for how to direct KC through the next phase of growth, but we will obviously need help from our regional universities at some point.  Matylda, Ryan, and Zach were all tremendously helpful.  They clearly understand some of the reasons they are able to engage their engineering students so well.  They will be great resources for us in the future.

What’s next?

The hallmark of any good conference is the action that comes from it and SO Summit scores high marks in this department.  I am pleased to announce that we agreed to start the KC edition of StartupDigest during the conference.  The first edition will be published in the coming weeks.  You can sign up to receive it here.

However, StartupDigest focuses on doing one thing well, and that is telling you what events are taking place that are relevant to startups.  However, KC is in need of much more.  When I was just getting started with Mashtun, I found it nearly impossible to find good local resources that met my needs.  I spent three weeks reading everything I could find in KC.  After all of that work, I found just one really useful group.  We need to make it easier to connect with our community and for people starting their very first company to find resources that are relevant to them.  It is my goal that the next set of entrepreneurs in our area will have a much easier time finding someone to talk to.  We will be announcing some things in this area soon.

Many thanks

Before I go, I want to say thanks to everyone that organized the event, and especially Adam Coomes and Steven Chau for inviting me.  Thanks to everyone that was so welcoming.  It created an amazing atmosphere that has left me with feelings of withdrawal (I miss the people I met).  Thanks to everyone that traveled from around the world to come together, share, and grow the startup communities that we all care for so dearly.  We plan to put your knowledge to good use for the benefit of KC startups.