The Startup You Economy: Is this the Future of Detroit?

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?

 

 

President @BarackObama Commits $2 Billion in Resources to Job Creating Startups #StartupAmerica

Breaking News on Thursday, December 8, 2011, President Barack Obama and the White House commit $2 Billion in resources to job creating Startups.  This initiative will be administrated through the Small Business Administration (SBA) and the Startup America Partnership.

  • Initiative Includes: 50-private-sector partners delivering over $1 Billion in value.
  • Services Provided: Services to include by private sector partners:  Free Consulting, software and legal services
  • The Impact: 100,000 Startups will be impacted over the 3-years.

Here is the direct quote from the President, “Today, we’re announcing $2 billion in public and private resources to help entrepreneurs start and grow their businesses. Now it’s time for Congress to do its part. It was encouraging to see members of both parties in the House come together to pass legislation that will help small businesses get ahead, and I’m calling on the Senate to do the same. But America’s small businesses can’t wait for these important tools to grow and hire faster,” said President Obama.

According to the Kauffman Foundation, from
1980-2005, nearly all net job creation in the United States occurred in firms less than five years old.  With the state of the national economy this decision by the President is very timely.

For more information you can read the entire story at: White.gov Press Release

 

 

 

#PRSA Personal Branding: Develop Yourself as a Thought Leader – Webinar w/ @HajjFlemings

Today at 1pm EST I will be conducting a webinar for the Public Relations Society of America (PRSA) New Professionals Section.

Link to Register: http://www.prsa.org/Learning/Seminars/view/783/Personal_Branding

Webinar Description

In this era of digital technology, how can you stand out as a thought leader? With an increasingly social Web, it is no longer sufficient just to claim expertise – you have to develop a digital footprint that demonstrates your credibility in your chosen niche.

Join the New Professionals Section and personal brand strategist Hajj Flemings for this webinar, where you will gain tools and strategies to create, manage and define your personal brand so that it showcases your expertise. Flemings will also cover social media best practices that will help you stay relevant in a Web 2.0 world.

Among the topics this presentation will address are:

  • The basics of personal branding.
  • How to create a digital footprint that espouses your personal brand.
  • Managing your online reputation.
  • Leveraging content curation as a thought leadership strategy.

Detroit Based Startup Gokit Is Seeking A User Interface (UI) Designer/Developer

Detroit based startup Gokit was recently featured in CNN’s Black In America 4: The New Promised Land: Silicon Valley.

About Gokit

Gokit is an online identity platform that allows you to create visually compelling personal homepages that tell your story and share your social network connections in a central location.

About the Role

Gokit is Detroit based and seeking an experienced, creative and talented User Interface (UI) Designer/Developer. This successful candidate will become a key member of the Gokit team.

The UI Web Designer / Developer will work on the Gokit platform and create user interface designs for usability testing, as well as serve as a knowledge resource for the latest trends and technologies for web- and standards-based user interface development.  The ideal candidate has an eye elegant interfaces and solid front-end web development skills with experience building products for the web and mobile web devices.

The job will be based or can work remotely?

Key responsibilities:

  • Turn ideas into digital working products
  • Turn wireframes into visual masterpieces
  • Write high quality front-end code
  • The ability to complete and manage multiple projects and responsibilities
  • Have fun and get things done

Requirements:

  • A clear understanding of web standards and accessibility
  • Awesome visual and user focused design skills
  • Experience designing web and mobile web user interfaces
  • Front End HTML and CSS skills
  • Experience in JavaScript
  • Understand startup working environment and culture
  • Able to solve problems and get things done

Please contact Hajj Flemings the CEO/Co-Founder of Gokit at Hajj@gokit.me

The Wealth Gap: Black Households Net Worth is $5,600 versus White Households of $113K.

I read a Good Magazine infographic entitled, ‘The Opportunity Gap’ and the data was sobering.  I tweeted about this on July 27, 2011, but I wanted to share this in my blog because the data does a great job of communicating the issue contextually.

Having said, that I knew there was a wealth gap between White and Black Americans, but I didn’t realize disparity.

The Net Worth of families with children

Black American households (Median Net Worth): $5,600
White American households (Median Net Worth): $113,220

Food for Thought!  I have ideas that I am working to help solve the problem.

Detroit Host the Largest High School CNN Black In America 4: Silicon Valley Pre-Screening

On Wednesday, November 9, 2011 in Detroit, MI Hajj Flemings and the Detroit Area Pre-College Engineering Program (DAPCEP) hosted one of the largest student focused CNN Black In America 4 pre-screening in the country. There were 212 – students and parents in attendance at the UAW/GM Building in Detroit, MI.

It was an epic moment in Detroit to start a discussion about technology, engineering, the startup culture, and Silicon Valley with African-American high school students from Detroit. The information that was discussed is typical for school districts like Birmingham and Grosse Pointe where they receive a regular diet of technology and information that makes their students relevant in the information age.

“The Black In America pre-screening and panel provided the audience of DAPCEP students and parents insight into the world of tech startups in Silicon Valley.  I am sure that we motivated dozens of Detroit young people to pursue their entrepreneurial dreams last night.  It was perfect.” – Jason Lee – Executive Director of DAPCEP

One of the main issues covered in the CNN Black In America 4: “The New Promised Land – Silicon Valley” documentary is the pipeline issue.  The pipeline issue we are referring to is centered around the lack of African-American engineers, computer science majors and tech startup founders.

Panelist

Karen Dumas – Moderator – Founder of Images & Ideas, Inc.
Hajj Flemings – Founder of Gokit/Brand Camp University
Wayne Sutton – SocialWayne.com/NewMe Managing Partner
Jason Lee – Executive Director of DAPCEP
Marlo Parker – Former Director of Tech Town
Tony Saunders –  Chief of Staff Detroit City Council Member Shantelle Jenkins
Captain Lauren Gore – Outreach Officer – West Point

Photos from the Event

What is DAPCEP?

The students that attended were not ordinary students, we partnered with DAPCEP.

Detroit Area Pre-College Engineering Program (DAPCEP): DAPCEP is the premiere pipeline organization for providing state-of-the-art science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) programming to underrepresented youth from kindergarten through twelfth grade in metropolitan Detroit. DAPCEP serves over 4,000 youth per year and since 1976, has impacted the lives of more than 150,000 youth. This advanced out-of-school time programming is provided at no cost to participants.

DAPCEP’s Mission

To increase the number of historically underrepresented students who are motivated and prepared academically to pursue degrees leading to careers in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) related fields through K-12 supplemental educational programming.

“My goal is to use the CNN Black In America 4 documentary to help educate and bring awareness of technology and the startup space to people that look like me, especially African Americans high school students.” – Hajj Flemings, Founder of Gokit

 

 

 

Will 18.4 Million People be Watching Silicon Valley on 11/13 at 8pm EST?

 

The ground-breaking series CNN’s Black In America 4 reported by Soledad O’Brien is primed to reach over 18.4 million viewers on Sunday, November 13th at 8pm EST.

Never before have a group of African-Americas been featured on primetime TV that were not athletes or entertainers.  Follow the journey of 8-entrepreneurs in Silicon Valley as they pursue their startup dreams.

The Numbers

In 2009 the population of Silicon Valley was calculated at 2.3 million people.  Tonight there could be up to 8-times the population of the valley watching CNN’s documentary ‘The New Promised Land:  Silicon Valley.”

Why You Should Tune in?

There will be four important issues that are impacted by the content of this documentary that will make for an interesting conversation.

  • The U.S. Economy – Small business is the lifeline of growing jobs in the U.S.  So let’s see how technology and the startup space will impact this growing part of the U.S. economy.
  • Silicon Valley – The valley is the heart of the startup world with the majority of startups getting funded in Silicon Valley.  Is Silicon Valley a perfect meritocracy?
  • Race – Are people judged based upon talent alone?  Does race play a factor in being successful in launching a successful tech startup?
  • Money – The United States is a capitalist country.  Are VCs minting money in the valley or are we need the second bubble?

In 2008 nearly 16 million people watched CNN’s Black In America 2.  Black In America 4 is relevant to all races and is at the heart of how the tech startup space could be impacted moving forward.

 Make sure to tune in at 8pm EST on CNN!

How to Follow CNN’s Black In America 4 on Twitter tonight!

Some basic tips on following CNN Black In America 4 – “The New Promised Land – Silicon Valley’ reported by Soledad O’Brien from 8-9pm EST on Twitter tonight (11/13/11).

How to Join the Conversation

Remember to include the hashtag: #BlackInAmerica with every tweet.  Also, all the NewMe participants and the CNN personnel will be tuned in.  Most of us will be available and participating via Twitter.

Hashtag:  #BlackInAmerica

Twitter Handles of CNN Personnel: 

Reporter:              Soledad O’Brien  – @Soledad_OBrien
Producer:              Jason Samuels –  @profsamels_nyu
Network:             CNN – @CNN

Twitter Handles NewMe Participants: 

Tiffani Bell – @tiffani
Angela Benton – @ABenton
Crisson Jno-Charles – @CrissonJCharles
Hajj Flemings – @HajjFlemings
Anthony Fraiser – @AnthonyFraiser
Wayne Sutton – @WayneSutton
Pius Uzamere – @_pius
Hank Williams – @HankWilliams

Use a Third Party Application

Using a third party application like Hootsuite or Tweetdeck makes it easy to follow the conversation.  Set-up a stream with the keyword #BlackInAmerica hashtag this will allow you to effectively follow the entire conversation.

Check-In with GetGlue:

Check in with GetGlue and share via Twitter

How to Check-in: To check-in and claim your Black In America 4 sticker go here: http://getglue.com/tv_shows/black_in_america?checkin=true#checkin Like the page and fireup GetGlue mobile apps and check-in. (via WayneSutton)