I’m hiding in the corner of a Starbucks in Dupont Circle this morning when someone walks up to me.
Her: “Are you the same Paul Singh that’s been driving around in an Airstream? I met you when you came through Tulsa and parked your trailer in front of 36 Degrees North.”
Me: “Well, yes. Also, fun fact, I survived a tornado that same week! Well, actually, the tornado was three blocks away but I’m pretty sure that still counts.”
It turns out that she and her husband had moved to DC for grad school after our visit to Tulsa.
During the conversation, we got into the topic of how Tulsa’s tech scene compared to other places I’d been on the tour through 2016.
In short, it’s pretty much the same everywhere.
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.
If you want to level up, doing more is just the baseline. It’s important 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.
I’m not sure that entrepreneurship can be taught but I do know that it can be learned.
Whether you’re trying to build a company or a community, the best thing you could do is visit other places and talk to as many people as you can. Figure out what’s working, what’s not working and think about how to apply that to your own city. Don’t forget to give back a little bit too.
Pro tip: just go hang out at coworking spaces in other cities. You have no excuse anymore. Better yet, join us on the 2017 tech tour through the US & Canada.