I love this city, I really do. I hate whenever I hear creative talent say they have to move in order to found or join a successful startup. I’m not saying I disagree completely, but that still doesn’t make it any easier to swallow. So now the question is what can we do about it? Is the Queen City really content being only known for banking and finance, or can we achieve notoriety for something else? I think we can.
Now that begs the question how. We need someone to show us the way. Not saying that Charlotte hasn’t had startups featured on TechCrunch and the like; we have, but nobody in the community is really vocal about it. Nobody rallies behind someone to show those not fully plugged into this ecosystem that it can be done. The sad matter is that all of our talent is either moving away or getting sucked up by the banks because they don’t know that founding or joining a startup is a viable option. We need a Google or a Facebook started here in the worst way.
Silicon Valley is Silicon Valley because of past startup successes. Successful businesses spawn successful people, and puts a carrot in front of the hopeful. There is an interesting thread on Quora about the number of companies started up ex-Googlers. It’s astonishing. I can only imagine the wave of new startups we’ll see from Facebook’s monumental IPO as well. Why can’t Charlotte or other cities have that? We can. We’re just waiting on someone to do it, then the floodgates will open. So I challenge you (and myself): if you’re a startup, please hire and educate local talent. If you have an idea, give it a shot and be involved in the community.