Geoff's Blog: "It’s pretty much the same everywhere"

Every Wednesday Geoff publishes "The Pull", a digest of the top news for the Iowa innovation community that week. The following is the introduction to Issue #170.

Paul Singh shared something on his blog this week with regards to comparing many of the 38 startup communities (including Des Moines, Cedar Rapids and Ames) that he had visited throughout the last year: "In short, it’s pretty much the same everywhere."

More specifically, he noted:

Most cities of less than 300,000 people seem to only have one coworking space. Maybe they have one angel group. If they’re lucky, they’ve got one code school.

Other than that, they’re all spread thin just trying to keep things afloat.

The local entrepreneurs are just trying to build their businesses. The local elected officials are trying to figure out what tech companies actually do. The local community leaders are trying to figure out how to get things organized — and how to pay for it all.

This jibes pretty well with what I've seen throughout Iowa. On one hand, its disconcerting. Despite all the effort and resources put into building these communities, no one has really figured out how to move theirs along to the next level. On the other hand, its an opportunity. We still have the chance to figure it out here and lead others in a way that does good while we're doing well.

Paul does suggest that one way to find tactics/strategies to improve your community is take the time to see what your peers are up to.

...hop on an airplane (or get in the car) and go visit other places. Go meet your peers in similar cities. It’s really that simple.

That's something that I really find value in doing myself, though I find as Gravitate grows its harder and harder to make the time to do it. Have you visited other startup communities? Do you have ideas on things that we should implement somewhere in Iowa? Leave a comment below and let me know your thoughts.

PS. Speaking of visiting with your peers, Here's a post from Baltimore about the Startup Champions Summit I participated in there a few weeks ago.