Thursday, October 4, 2012

Loud City

(image by Greg Burns courtesy of Steve Lackmeyer, aka OKC Central)

 I love Oklahoma City. It's my birthplace, my home, and the place where I'm building my family history and (hopefully) my legacy. It's been blown up (both figuratively and literally), and has recreated (and is still recreating) itself.

Why the lovefest, you ask? Because I spent the past 24+ hours recharging my batteries, in large part with the help of Brad Feld, mentor par excellence. Brad agreed to come speak to various groups within our fair city: entrepreneurs, IT folks, and investors/policy influencers. He's got a new book out called Startup Communities. If his previous works (Do More Faster with David Cohen and Venture Deals with Jason Mendelson, as well as his blogs Feld Thoughts and Ask The VC) are any indication, it's be valuable reading. Brad believes that startup communities can exist anywhere within the constraints of the Boulder Thesis (buy the book and find out). As an OKC resident who has invested a considerable amount of time, effort and resources into the startup community here, I know we fit the bill.

There have been some recent events that have threatened to damage what momentum and strength has already been built. Respected advocates have been slinging arrows at one another, and sides have been drawn by many members of our community.

Let me be explicit where I stand:

Fuck that.

Oklahoma City and the legacy we produce within it matter much more than any immediate dispute. I count both parties as friends, and hope they stay that way. The support of the community is far bigger than this incident.

Within the next week, you'll start to see some momentum around bringing a unified voice (or at least an attempt at unification) in OKC. I'll try to help however I can, and I encourage you to do the same.

Ladies and gentlemen, shit happens. Keep your eyes on the prize. Our city has too much to offer to everyone, and stirring up nastiness, quite frankly, is not how we roll. What makes OKC special is that everyone roots for everyone else to succeed. Let's don't stop that sentiment now.

If you want to be part of positive action moving this forward, sound off on, sound off at #startuprevOKC, or hit me up in private through jrr2ok at jrr2ok dot com or twitter handle at jrr2ok. This doesn't have to be hard.

Our city has the will, the talent and the guts to do this.

City Is One. Loud City.