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I bought a house in Kansas City on Monday. It’s next door to the Homes for Hackers and KC Startup Village. It will have Google Fiber in it. I hope it becomes an integral part of the nation’s first Google Fiberhood.
I’m not going to be living in it. Instead, I’m going to let entrepreneurs live / work in it. Rent free. As part of helping create the Kansas City startup community. And to learn about the dynamics of Google Fiber. And to have some fun.
Here’s how it’s going to work. The Kauffman Foundation and I are running the Feld’s KC Fiber House Competition. Entries can be submitted online starting now. Entries are open through Friday March 22. Applicants must be at least 18 years old. Up to five winners will be selected from among the applications received. They’ll get to live and work in the house for a year rent free. I’m not taking any equity in these companies – I using a “give before you get” philosophy here to experiment, learn, and help the Kansas City startup community.
The judges will be me, Scott Case of Startup America Partnership, David Cohen of TechStars and Lesa Mitchell of the Kauffman Foundation. We’ll be looking for the innovative potential of their startups and their companies’ ability to leverage Google Fiber. We’ll all be informal mentors and friends to the people who win and end up living in the house.
This came about through meeting with Ben Barreth, who created Homes for Hackers, at the Thinc Iowa conference. I loved what Ben was up to and offered to help. I thought about it more over the next month and then wrote him and Lesa Mitchell at Kauffman a note asking if it would be useful for me to buy a house near the Hacker House and open it up to entrepreneurs. This is what resulted.
I have a couple of very specific goals. First, I want to set an example using some of the principles I talk about in Startup Communities: Building an Entrepreneurial Ecosystem in Your City. Next, I’m fascinated with Google Fiber and the idea of 1GB Internet access to the home so I want to experiment and see what smart entrepreneurs can come up with. I have a long relationship with Kauffman and Kansas City going back to the mid-1990′s and I want to support the development and growth of the Kansas City startup community. And finally, when Amy and I talked about the idea of it, we agreed it would be a fun thing to do.
If you are an entrepreneur at a startup and want to live rent free for a year in a house with a 1GB Internet connection, apply now!
I don’t think I’m breaking new ground by saying that book publishing is going through a rapid transformation. I’ve learned a lot about traditional publishing after working with Wiley for the past few years on Do More Faster, Venture Deals, Startup Communities, and Startup Life. I’ve also experimented with self-publishing with HyperInk for the book Burning Entrepreneur. And, as I continue to publish books in the Startup Revolution series, you’ll see a lot more experimentation from me, both around the writing and publishing process, as well as with regard to engaging with everyone reading these books.
Recently, I starting pondering what would happen if a book wasn’t simply static content, but an actively-engaging, community-building platform? What if a class could read and share notes, an executive team could collaborate around a book, or a community of readers could interact within the text itself?
I recently found a social reading technology called BookShout!, and, after spending some time with them, think they are addressing a lot of things I want in my current book reading experience. As a result, I’ve launched Startup Communities: Creating an Entrepreneurial Ecosystem in Your City on BookShout!
If you download the book and join the community, you not only get the book, but you can also connect with me, see my notes, invite others to join you, and create robust communities and in-line conversations inside the book.
To help entrepreneurs worldwide, Startup America is also using its full resources to reach out to millions of entrepreneurs so that we can all read the book together. Leaders of Startup America, including Steve Case (the founder of AOL) and Scott Case (the CEO of Startup America) are going to read and share their notes as well.
We listen to music together and go to movies together – now we can read books together. I hope you’ll join me, participate, and give me feedback on what you think.
SPECIAL OFFER: Thanks to BookShout! and Startup America, I’m giving away 250 free digital copies of Startup Communities on BookShout! The first 250 people to create an account at Bookshout.com and send an email to email@example.com will get a copy. All I ask in return is that you make notes on areas that help you, invite others, and engage with me, give me feedback on what you think.
When I wrote Startup Communities, my mission was to provide a framework for building a thriving entrepreneurial ecosystem in any city in the world. I am excited to announce that I have partnered with Cojourneo to take this mission to the next level by launching a free online workshop for Startup Communities.
By participating in this workshop, you’ll receive exclusive videos I created that expand on the content in the book. You’ll also be able to interact with me directly via “Office Hours” and “Ask the Guide.” Even more importantly, you’ll actually begin the process of building startup communities by connecting and collaborating with fellow entrepreneurs near you and taking steps together towards making this book a reality in your city.
I’m very excited about this partnership with Cojourneo. Their mission, ”help people to help people,” is at the heart of this book and what entrepreneurship is really about. So, if you’re interested in building (or growing) a startup community in your city, I encourage you to register today for the workshop before it fills up.
Every day someone shows me a Kindle and asks jokingly if I can sign Startup Communities for them. This is one moment when I wish I always carried a sharpie or a paperclip with me. I adore Kindles too much to actually ruin them, but the thought crosses my mind every time I hear the question.
There is however a way for me to sign Kindle versions of my books. It’s a super cool app called Kindlegraph. Simply go to it, authenticate with Twitter, and search for “Brad Feld” or “Startup Communities” (or just click on the preceding links.)
As an author, there’s something emotionally satisfying about signing a book you’ve written. I guess it creates another connection with the reader, which is bidirectionally powerful. I’m glad I can now do it on the Kindle as well as on physical books.
I just finished up at Thinc Iowa and am heading to San Francisco for a few meetings tomorrow. I had an awesome time in the last 24 hours, especially last night hanging out for three hours with 20 or so entrepreneurs at StartupCity in Des Moines.
I started my talk off today by showing a video that the Kauffman Foundation just did for Startup Communities. It’s part of the Kauffman Sketchbook series which I completely love. I think it does a fantastic job of explaining the Boulder Thesis, which is the framework that I use in Startup Communities for how to create a vibrant and sustainable entrepreneurial ecosystem.
If you haven’t seen the Kauffman Sketchbook series, go check out some of the other videos. My favorite is from Paul Kedrosky about raising capital titled Money Game. It follows.