In the spirit of year end reflections, I thought it would be appropriate to look back on the remarkable year the DFW startup community has had—and I mean remarkable in its truest form: worthy of notice or attention.
Each year our ecosystem grows exponentially and at this year’s State of Entrepreneurship Address, The DEC helped us visualize just how strong our ecosystem is and now it seems others are finally taking notice. From Forbes and CNBC, to Geekwire and hometown startup hero, Mark Cuban, it appears as though all of the talking, pitching, and evangelizing has paid off. People outside of our echo chamber are finally beginning to see North Texas as a powerful hub for entrepreneurship and innovation.
Reviewing some of the most popular stories featured on Launch DFW in 2015, I’m pleased to see that in addition to news about funding, or profiles of emerging startups, our readers are genuinely interested in the stories of the people and politics that shape our region. This shows me that not only do our readers choose Dallas because they care about things like a low cost of living and access to resources for startups, but because they are invested in what happens to Dallas as a whole.
This is in stark contrast to San Francisco in which a city once known as a diverse haven for artists, creatives, and hippies has all but been cannibalized the culture of tech startups. In a fantastic piece from Newsweek, “The city’s once-vibrant culture has been paved over to cater to the sleek, homogenized tastes (and budgets) of a single demographic.”
Our community has a strong and engaged voice in Dallas. The fact that Austin and San Antonio gave Uber and Lyft the boot but Dallas didn’t, can partly be tied to the strong, unified, supportive voice of the startup community that showed up and campaigned for innovation. Imagine that kind of organized passion happening on a greater scale and in regular frequency for issues relevant to us all like historic preservation, education, and urban development.
The story of the San Francisco tech community shouldn’t be the daydreams of North Texas startups—it should be a cautionary tale. I don’t want Dallas to become a city so consumed by a bloated industry that it wipes out the very culture that drew tech pioneers here in the first place (I’m looking at you commercial real estate developers with your uninspired mid-rise “luxury” apartment buildings and pathological demolition of historic buildings). But it takes community, communication, and collaboration to accomplish this.
That’s my challenge to all of us for 2016: build up our startup community in partnership with the greater community. For Launch DFW, community is part of our mission and is at the heart of all that we do. Looking ahead at 2016, I’m inspired by this challenge and can’t wait to see what we can accomplish together.
Cheers to a fantastic 2016,