Can Detroit Re-Invent itself? Detroit is a city with an infrastructure designed for a population of 2 million people. According to the 2010 Census the current population of Detroit is 713K. So the question is not can Detroit Re-Invent itself, but how will it Re-Invent itself. Change is inevitable; anyone holding on to the old Detroit is in for a rude awaking. It is time to re-image the new Detroit?
The Birth of the Startup You Economy
I began thinking about the Startup You Economy during the financial crisis that existed between 2008-2009 in the United States. During this period working class people began to feel the squeeze. Main Street America didn’t have the luxury of writing-off their bad decisions so their homes were going into foreclosure and they were losing their jobs at the same time. During this time frame there was a litany of bailouts that happened: automotive, banking, and insurance. When the banks received a $700 Billion taxpayer funded bailout it was at that moment the concept of Startup You Economy began to crystallize in my mind.
There are many U.S. cities seeking to duplicate Silicon Valley’s ecosystem and economic model. This model has been successful in job creation and innovation. Mature tech startup markets like New York (Silicon Alley) and Boston serve as successful models. What can we learn from these markets? Should Detroit duplicate or replicate this model?
I believe the future of Detroit exists as a Startup You Economy centered around replication versus duplication of Silicon Valley. There is plenty of data that supports the fact that small business fuels the economy. According to the U.S. Census: Small and Medium size Businesses account for: 54% of the paid U.S. workers, 64% of the U.S. job creation and 90% of the jobs worldwide. In a report published by the Kauffman Foundation, from 1980-2005, nearly all net job creation in the United States occurred in firms less than five years old.
Three Characteristics of a Successful Startup Economy
There are three key fundamental anchors of successful startup economies.
- Ecosystem – Successful startup regions have a disproportionate number of veteran entrepreneurs, angel investors, VCs, and entrepreneurs in a concentrated geographical region.
- Educational System – The mature startup communities are all anchored by strong university educational networks: Silicon Valley (Stanford and Cal Berkley), Boston (Babson, Harvard, and MIT), NYC (Columbia, NYU, and Cornell). The educational system in Silicon Valley is the most developed as entrepreneurial institutions.
- Capital – Strong startup economies have a strong funding base to help launch startups: including angel investors and VCs.
What is Startup You?
Startup You is about re-wiring people from a factory mindset to began to think like a startup: fast, creative, and innovatively. The future thought leaders in our economy will not come exclusively from the C-Suite or the senior management level of Fortune 500 Companies. The future thought leaders will emerge globally these individuals who embrace a digital approach in positioning themselves and growing their ideas through execution that create tangible value in real-time using the power of the social web.
Whether you are an employee (‘Intrapreneur’) or an ‘Entrepreneur’ you will be required to solve problems, faster, with less resources, and with digital technology. The Startup You Economy is going to be driven by this new type of human capital, I am coining as Startup You. Whether you have aspirations of launching a startup or not, this is what every company will be looking for. Employers are looking for self-starters.
- Startup You Includes the following Group of Workers: College Students, Entrepreneurs, Startup Founders, seasoned professionals, the unemployed and under-employed.
To create a framework for the definition of a startup, I will refer to Eric Ries author of, The Lean Startup, who defines a startup, “as an organization dedicated to creating something new under conditions of extreme uncertainty.” America has outsourced its soul to the world, that last segment of business that we own is, CREATITIVY. So, how can we position our human capital to begin thinking entrepreneurially? Startup You is more than two guys (or two gals) in a garage creating the next tech startup. It is a culture shift in the way people think, the way communities collaborate, how we educate our human capital, and the way geographical areas look to rebuild their deteriorating economies.
From a Startup You Economy mindset I would like to get your thoughts on the following question.
Let me know how you Re-Imagine Detroit Re-Branding itself as a Startup You Economy?