This post is by Jeff Carter from Points and Figures
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When confronted with a competitor, I always tell entrepreneurs they should smile. It’s validation for their idea. It means there is a big problem.
I always tell them to be wary, but not to be fanatical about competition. If they just worry about their company and the execution of their company, they are gonna be okay. If they pop their head up constantly and worry about what their competitors are doing all the time, they are going to screw up their own internal operations and their attitude will surely infect the rest of the team.
Competition should drive you. It should not make you fearful.
I think the same can be said for startup ecosystems. Last night, I spoke on a panel at Empire Startups in NYC. It was a nice panel and I met some really nice people. WLV will be spending more time in NYC this year and got started early. I am checking the Mets schedule to see when the Cubs play here.
A couple of comments about Silicon Valley came up in the discussion.
To be honest, at WLV we don’t spend a lot of time thinking about Silicon Valley. It’s the best startup ecosystem in the world. We assume it always will be. But, if you are going to execute a B2B Fin Tech startup, there are two to three cities in the US that you want to be in; Chicago, New York, and Atlanta. There are other small cities that have a smaller fin tech footprints.
I don’t think cities like NYC, Chicago or any other city trying to grow a startup ecosystem should worry about the Valley at all. They need to focus on their city and be the best that they can be. They can take some of the virtues of the Valley and integrate them into their community. But, they will never be exactly like the Valley because each city has its own sense of place and belonging.
I spoke with a fin tech entrepreneur in October. We were casually chatting and they said they had moved to Austin, TX. I said that was cool because I really like Austin. They said they were moving back to Chicago after being down there for just over a year. They needed to keep their resume warm. In Austin, it was going cold and they felt like they were missing opportunities and not staying current.
That informs me about network, and I am passing it along to inform other people about it too.