Seattle has a lot to be proud of lately. We have America’s top musical artist in Macklemore, the Seahawks are favored to win the Super Bowl, and the national media is now recognizing our startup community as one of the strongest in the country.
Recently, Seattle has been ranked the leading city for Generation Y Startup Jobs, the top city for Tech Job Growth and Wage Growth, and ranked 2nd in Women-led Entrepreneurship. In addition to these accolades, Seattle has been in the top 5 for private tech M&A activity by PrivCo and Forbes listed us as a top 5 city for quality jobs. The Startup Genome Project listed Seattle as the 4th best startup ecosystem in the world (behind Silicon Valley, Tel Aviv, and Los Angeles).
However, while the national media is starting to laud Seattle’s ability to create quality jobs, attract private capital, foster a gender-diverse business environment, and create a thriving startup ecosystem, we are still an under-rated ecosystem. While there are many ingredients to a thriving startup community, (just ask Brad Feld), one key element missing from our community is celebration.
When you ask members of the startup community what makes Seattle so great, they almost unanimously agree it’s the people. Seattle area founders have a confident humility that produces an atmosphere of mentorship and cooperation. Founders help founders, investors are loyal, and there is no elitist mentality in the successful entrepreneurs.
You’d be hard-pressed to find Seattleite founders touting their individual successes. We read and hear about local companies raising large rounds and big exits every week, but there isn’t the focus on celebrating our successes that is present in many other communities around the nation. I don’t feel like we get enough opportunities to stand up and applaud the companies that are creating jobs and are growing the local economy. By not consistently celebrating local startups, we are missing out on an opportunity to amplify the success of the whole community.
I think the willingness to help is prevalent in our community, but I get a sense that people don’t know what they can do.
I have a challenge. I want to challenge each member of the Seattle startup community to do what we do best: help each other out. Pick at least one local startup a week and tweet, Facebook post, and recommend it to a friend. If you already do this, raise the bar and recognize two per week. Are you not sure where to find local startups?
Here are just a few of the places you can start:
StartedInSeattle.com posts video profiles each Tuesday and Thursday. (#ShamelessPlug)
Red Russak curates the Startup Genome map.
When startups succeed in a community, everyone benefits. As John F. Kennedy famously said, “A rising tide lifts all boats,” and we know a thing or two about boats in Seattle.