Curation and Urgency: Two Requirements for any Startup (and Community)

When I think about the typical community building events I see around the country, I see events that are designed to cater to anyone remotely interested in entrepreneurship. It almost always ends up being a room of wantrepneurs. At least there’s usually beer too. And lots of it.When I think about the most successful companies I’ve met, I notice that the teams are highly curated and the culture tends to be built around a sense of overwhelming urgency. I suspect those same traits would be extremely helpful for those that have taken up the task of building a local startup community.


What I’m really trying to say is that community organizers shouldn’t be trying to “build the startup community” via events if your ultimate goal is to encourage more successful startups to emerge from your region. Startup community building is about celebrating entrepreneurship, about celebrating the results of successful entrepreneurship (eg, “yay, you raised money!”, “yay, you successfully exited!”, “yay, you created jobs!”) and about exposing more people to the idea that they can start something too.

That’s very different than what’s required to build a business. Successful founders and teams need to focus on curating their networks aggressively (which often means avoiding startup events and meetups) and building a sense of urgency amongst their team (usually by shipping code/product early and often).

The techniques that help build a strong startup community are very different than the techniques used to build a successful startup. Rather than trying to build a successful community in order to encourage more startups to emerge, we should build successful communities the same way we build successful startups: curate them aggressively and incentivize for urgency. Make them harder to get into, rather than easier.

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