“Everything in New Orleans is a good idea.” – Bob Dylan
Yesterday I had the opportunity to do the first-ever AMA for Technical.ly on Slack. We covered a wide range of topics but much of the thread focused on on the growing startup scene here in the Crescent City. Having spent a lot of time in the East Coast startup scene, first in Boston during Web 1.0 and then in the 95 corridor between D.C. and Philly, I tried to sum up my experience on the 3rd coast. While cost of living, tax credits, and a growing investor community definitely play a part of the rationale for startups to come to New Orleans there are 3 other less quantifiable reasons.
Successful founders and investors know that without passion the trials of a startup are often insurmountable. So what if you were in a city where almost everyone was chasing their passion. Rather than being the outlier you were surrounded by musicians, bartenders, teachers, artists, chefs, and other founders all chasing their dream. New Orleans is not only tolerates your quest but in fact requires it. You can do a lot of things here but you can’t do anything half way.
From the Mardi Indians to the multitude of Krewes that populate the colorful floats in the parades New Orleans is full of groups of people supporting a common cause. You may find yourself feeling alone in many places but here all you need to do is look around to find others that are going through a similar experience. Need proof check out the 610 Stompers, Pussyfooters or NOLA Meetup. Being a founder can be a lonely job and sometimes it is the community around you that makes the difference between staying the course or stopping too soon.
The culture and resiliency of New Orleans are two of the characteristics that make a startup successful. You can’t swing a daiquiri in this town without bumping into examples of these critical factors. From the school system to the neighborhoods to the loose coalition of crews that come together every year to make Mardi Gras the celebration that is known around the world culture and resiliency are always on display.
That’s My Pitch
This is a city where being in the high school marching band is very cool and the Scrabble score for the word that sounds like “go” is a minimum of 13 points. I encourage all founders to find the place that is best for them not just the place that is closest to them. And in that search, I suggest everyone to “Geaux to New Orleans”.