Centers of Gravity and coming home to Des Moines

A few weeks ago I wrote that the success of StartupCity Des Moines has been its emergence as an "entrepreneurial center of gravity" for the Des Moines Startup Community.

“’s one floor of one tall building downtown where you can plug into the things that make more established ecosystems flourish: close proximity and a high density of people working on startups.”

— Me, in that other post

I think it's important to remember that the idea of "plugging in" to the community at StartupCity and other centers of gravity (locally, Vault in Cedar Rapids and IC CoLab in Iowa City are two examples) isn't just important as an alternative to those who are already around the city working from home and coffee shops. It's just as important for those who are considering moving to or visiting Des Moines. And, for those thinking of moving back to Des Moines, it's a place that helps facilitate them coming home.

We often joke that the Iowa startup community doesn't have the oceans or density of the coasts, the mountains of Boulder or the warm weather of Austin, so we need to find reasons to bring people here.

Side note: As a good friend of mine always reminds me, those reasons can't start with "Quality of Life" - which is almost always the first thing someone says in reference to the "why Iowa?" question - because everyone, everywhere (in this kind of discussion) thinks their community has a great quality of life. If they didn't like where they live and they had the wherewithal they'd move.

Anecdotally, I've had conversations with three people in the past few weeks who have referenced StartupCity - and its role as a symbol of a healthy technology community in Des Moines - as a factor in their continued ties to Iowa. Two of the people had already relocated to Des Moines (and are working remotely for companies based elsewhere) after several years away and the third said it was comforting to know that if the situation warranted moving back that they had a place to "plug in" and continue their technology career.

Other thoughts on Iowa's entrepreneurial centers of gravity  -