Mentoring is also a more significant part of the economy today than since, perhaps, apprentorship in the craftsman age. Why? The rise of entrepreneurship and the freelance economy is similar to the craftsman age since as the very structure of the economy undergoes massive transformation, workers are increasingly required to find their own means of making a living.
During the Industrial age, most labor was focused on optimizing repeatable tasks. Repeatable tasks are taught. Mentoring was more focused on developing leadership qualities, responsible for corporate management. See Blank’s Sloan vs Durant. Today’s mentoring must teach leadership, too, but additionally, the nature of entrepreneurship.
With Brad Feld coming to town this week, I think it’s a good time to evaluate the state of San Diego’s Startup Community. If you don’t know Brad, you should take a few minutes to learn more about him. He is an entrepreneur turned investor, a co-founder of the TechStars accelerator program, a prolific author and a community builder. Last year he published Startup Communities: Building an Entrepreneurial Ecosystem in Your City, which explores the ingredients necessary to have a thriving startup scene. The challenges Brad discusses are spot on and I highly recommend the book.
I first met Brad in the Fall of 2010, when he and TechStars co-founder David Cohen came to San Diego as part of their Do More Faster book tour. San Diego didn’t represent; it was a pitiful showing. Brad told the audience San Diego was 10 years away from having a solid startup ecosystem and he challenged, “who in the audience is committed to leading the effort for 10 years?” A few hands raised up, some by those merely seeking affirmation and the chance to pitch Brad on their failing startup. (When Andrew Beinbrink and I pressed those after the meeting to join us in building San Diego Tech Founders, they evaporated faster than dollars in a freemium business model.)
ShowUHow offers manufacturers and retailers a series of web and mobile video product guides for every stage of the customer lifecycle, including pre-sales, installation, feedback and retention. Led by Founder and CEO Kim Folsom, ShowUHow has raised $3M from Syncom Venture Partners.
Bump connects existing digital profiles with your vehicle license plate number, allowing you to “connect with those you don’t know yet.” The Active Network founder Mitch Thrower is the Founder and CEO of Bump, which has raised $2.2M to date.
Oceanhouse Media develops mobile apps that “uplift, educate and inspire”, primarily through licensing popular children’s content providers, such as Dr. Seuss, Chronicle Books and the Hay House. Oceanhouse Media was founded by Michel Kripalani, a veteran of the video gaming industry, and is privately funded.
FashioningChange Fashioning Change is a shopping experience that gives you stylish eco-friendly and ethical alternatives to popular name brands lacking social responsibility practices. Shoppers enter the name brand they like and FashioningChange gives you eco-friendly alternatives based on style and price point. FashioningChange was founded by Adriana Herrera and is a Founder’s Institute graduate.
Flaretag has developed a mobile marketing platform that helps businesses and individuals promote their products and better engage with customers using mobile phones. Their tools allow you to connect web content to the world around you via QR codes, SMS and email. Flaretag is a Founder Institute graduate and was founded by Daniel Arroyo and Jose Granado. Flaretag is currently self-funded.
Nettle is developing a social/local/mobile app in the entertainment market. Nettle was founded by MP3.com veterans Brian Dear and Dan O’Neill. They have raised 500K from Google Ventures, Advancit Capital and 500 Startups.
ai-one develops and licenses “biologically inspired” artificial intelligence engines to software developers. The technology enables machines to learn. The company is founded an lead by Walt Diggelmann and Tom Marsh.