How To Get Your Midwestern Startup Noticed



John Biggs (Editor-At-Large, TechCrunch) spoke at Social Media Week Chicago on how to get Midwest startups noticed.

John Biggs, Editor-At-Large for TechCrunch spoke at Social Media Week Chicago on how to get Midwest startups noticed. He started out by describing three different types of founders: connectors, strivers, and everyone else. Connectors are those who have friends in the valley, who work smarter and not harder, and although their ideas are ridiculous they can get a lot of funding.

Strivers are those who won’t stop networking, and won’t pay anyone for their work. Biggs joked, “networking is one letter away from not working.” The last founder type is those who create solid ideas that fill a hole. They often have a hard time finding funding, face plenty of sharks waiting to bite, and are the most likely to succeed.

Biggs says one of the biggest issues he has with midwest startups, is the local view of themselves. He stated, “a startup is a small business with global ambitions” and Midwest startups should expand their view. Red flags to be aware of however are poorly written pitches, surly founders, and ideas that have promise but are poorly executed. But don’t be discouraged Biggs does have a three-step plan to help your startup get noticed and be successful.

Step one is to polish. Create an illusion of permanence, similarly to how Google’s building 41. Naming a building 41 would give the allusion there are 40 others which is not the case, but it helps create the illusion of permanence. The second step is to write your story. Always have on hand your deck, a one-page summary, 90-second pitch, longer take, and (sometimes) your business plan.

Finally, when you have steps one and two complete, find our who to tell it to. Avoid the local news, nondecision-making VCs, and rich friends, however. Tell your story to those who can help expand your business and take it to a global level.

While these steps might not guarantee success the first go-around, continue to repeat and try. Biggs believes “if you are not acting upon the world, the world will act upon you”. Midwest startups need to be proactive in their efforts to push their business and expand their awareness and successes.

Biggs ended his speech with a bit of reassurance for startups stating, “your mere existence is a triumph”. Entrepreneurs are those who chose not to go work for someone and do it themselves, which alone is courageous.

Further analysis and commentary from ‘Escaping the Black Hole: The State of Startups And Innovation In The Midwest’ session:

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