Silicon Flatirons Conference: The Role of Place: Entrepreneurial Immigration, Iteration, and Innovation

On Thursday, March 18th (during CU Entrepreneurship Week) there is going to be a great Silicon Flatirons Conference on “The Role of Place”Brad Bernthal, who is chairing the conference, leads with a great quote from Harvard Professor and Monitor Group co-founder Michael Porter.

"Paradoxically, the enduring competitive advantages in a global economy lie increasingly in local things – knowledge, relationships, and motivation – that distant rivals cannot match."

I’ve spent a lot of time thinking about this personally given all my work around the Boulder entrepreneurial community, TechStars, Foundry Group’s investments in different parts of the US, and the Startup Visa initiative. 

I’ll be on the first panel titled Entrepreneurial Immigration Policy with Lance Nagel (partner in Morgan, Lewis & Bockius’ Labor and Employment Practice) and Vivek Wadhwa (Senior Research Associate, Labor & Worklife Program at Harvard Law School and an Adjunct Professor at the Duke University Pratt School of Engineering).  I expect we’ll get a good chance to cover plenty of ground, including several of the incredible immigrant entrepreneur loci and projects like the Startup Visa initiative.

The second panel is Place and Iteration: Lessons From Storage and includes several folks who have been involved in the Boulder “storage ecosystem” over the past 30 years, including Jesse Aweida (founder of StorageTek) and Kyle Lefkoff (general partner of Boulder Ventures, who has invested in several Boulder storage companies over the years including McData and LeftHand Networks).  Jim Linfield (partner at Cooley Godward, the founder of Cooley’s Colorado office, and counsel for a number of Colorado storage companies) will be anchoring the panel.

The third panel is Innovation and The Architecture of Geography and will explore broader lessons and insight concerning the role of place, regional architecture, and innovation.

Once again, my friends at Silicon Flatiron have put together a rich conference on a very important and timely topic.  It’s taking place at the Wittemyer Courtroom, Wolf Law Building, University of Colorado on Thursday, March 18, 2010 from 2:30PM to 6:30PM.  Register now and come join us.

  • Brad, look foward to attending and to learning more about what you folks are doing in Boulder. Your reputation precedes you.

  • I’m also excited to finally meet you face to face and break bread together.

  • The most detailed account of how Boulder became a place for start-ups and the larger issue of place and entrepreneurship is here:


  • Thanks for the reminder on what was a great (and flattering) article!

  • Maybe we should grant immigrants green cards (not just H1B visas) if they can put 20-30% down on a house.

    We keep our foreign students here after grad school
    H1B is a essentially a trial
    Illegals have a clear path

    And all of these push new economy towards blighted areas. Areas with lots of low cost housing have a resource that suddenly matters to start ups. Anything has to be better than the artificial support of housing prices.

  • John Lee

    Thanks for the reminder!

  • Great article, Ben.

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