Dela-WTF?

screen-shot-2016-11-18-at-7-45-06-pm“Victory has a hundred fathers and defeat is an orphan.”

When I saw the article from Technical.ly today on the “reinvention” of Delaware I was at first buoyed with pride for my one-time address.  That quickly faded as I realized how the founding story has been reinvented as well.  I was especially struck by the fact that at least one of the authors knows better, much better.

As background, I starting working in Delaware starting in late 2001 following the dot com bust and moved to Wilmington in 2006.  I worked with the people in the article and attended some of the events.  I also pitched them to help out startups early on and helped introduce Technical.ly to some of them.  This preamble is to say that I was there.  I also want to say that I am not invalidating that there were many forces at play to make it all come together.  What I am saying is that if you think the recipe for success for your startup ecosystem doesn’t include crazy, disrespected, marginalized, non-establishment, non-authorized characters YOU ARE WRONG.

EXHIBIT A

A polarizing outsider whose investment often limited others’ participation.  But when there was no investment capital in the state who formed the first home grown fund?   Established in 1995, the Delaware Innovation Fund was the state’s first venture-capital firm. Freschman started the fund at the request of Delaware’s then governor, Thomas R. Carper.  Combined with Early Stage East, his annual conference, it was a spark.   David and I butted heads more than once.  He style was direct and he always played bigger than he was.  Characteristics I have come to respect.  His legacy, and I hope the attitude, continues on in Delaware, in the person of Pedro Moore.  Probably considered not as qualified by most, but isn’t that where the best surprises come from.

GO SEE FOR YOURSELF

I covered a whole lot of other examples, two plus years ago, when I wrote my founding story for Delaware’s startup scene.  You may see some names there they you haven’t heard of.  That is my point.  Add to it the amazing supportive culture that allows people to create powerful podcasts, social change programs and a feeling that its OK to ask for help and you have a taste of it.  But know it is just a taste.  Go see for yourself.  See the founders, innovators and others that are there…after all the rest have commuted out of town.  And buy a T-shirt from Spaceboy because I am done giving them out.

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