Why did we create The Start Society?

StartSoc helps entrepreneurs help themselves

While other parties in the ecosystem are important such as investors and educators, it is the entrepreneurs, the hackers, hipsters and hustlers (also known as the developers, designers and business executors) that are the heart of the ecosystem.

Our focus is tech startups & ecosystem enablers

We support all parties in the ecosystem starting with tech entrepreneurs but it is important to recognise there are many parties on the edge of our industry that talk the talk but ultimately dilute or even compete (e.g. for talent, funding or resources) directly with our entrepreneurs and their ecosystem.  They depend on entrepreneurs so we support them first and foremost.

Many also compete on or even foster an un-level playing field by lobbying to create regulatory or taxation complexity or by using sophisticated methods to avoid tax (these methods are out of most entrepreneurs reach because they are surviving on noodles).

We also have challenges with institutionalised brain drain or bias in funding models for government support.

The most common misconception we have to over come is that all startups are the same. They are not. Most of the last 30 years of innovation policy (and indeed most recent announcements) focus on commercialisation of traditional research. That is fine and it is something we do need to do as a nation but that is NOT the focus of the start society, we focus on a parallel challenge that is fundamentally different and higher in value (reward in terns of wealth and social impact) and higher in risk and harder to realise (skills are rarer).

Tech startups founders are our focus because these disruptive innovators have the most leveraged wealth creation and social impact to improve our nation and wider region. Entrepreneurs enable us all to compete globally.

Over half a TRILLION dollars in value (that is 500 Billon or even 500,000 Million or $500,000,000,000 if you prefer) has been created just in the privately held larger tech startup companies in the last 3-5 years. This is more than any period in history and doesn’t include the social impact or the wealth and social impact of much larger listed companies or the smaller companies. Combined wealth and social of all these groups is probably around four or five Trillion dollars just in recent years.

These ‘unicorns‘ are different to traditional companies, they are based on moving fast (Uber has done hundreds of cities in just a few years) and generally don’t require large amounts of capital in the early days. They also tend to know who their (usually global) customer is and what they want and refine this through iterations called experiments or testing or ‘lean’ approaches.

Usually these new companies also don’t focus on protecting themselves with IP like patents, it might be part of the plan in a defensive way but it is not the primary means of capturing value. Value is captured by building a loyal ecosystem (often called liquidity in marketplace businesses) of customers and partners that protects them from competitors and magnifies value for stakeholders in a virtuous circle.

Traditional companies are often at the other end of this innovation barbell. They require capital to do long term research up front and protect findings with patents. Often they don’t have a clear path to commercialisation even after years of collaboration with universities and laboratories. Time to value is often much longer and a high proportion are not aiming to be global from day one and are not planning to scale to hundreds of millions of customers in the first few years (like instagram, whatsapp, twitter and Facebook have done).

Our name ‘The Start Society’ represents our hope for cultural change, a new economy and a new way of working, creating and living.

Producing great products and companies every now and then is great. We hope to help entrepreneurs do that more. But our real goal is national and regional change of culture so we can reliably produce many more than anyone else and transition from old legacy industries to new smart industries that are able to leverage our unique assets like diversity, education, proximity to the world’s growth centres, force of law, incredible quality of life and a tradition of lean ingenuity.

The technology industry has many industry bodies but StartSoc is unique, we are independent, grassroots and free from external agendas like sponsors or investors.

We aspire to extreme transparency and democracy.

We are more like a professional guild than an association and we are not a union or a charity although we are largely run by volunteers and becoming a formal not-for-profit may eventually be where we end up.

How do we achieve this? How does StartSoc help entrepreneurs.

We are a volunteer run social enterprise and provide a wide range of products from education to events and resources to really amazing deals on products. You might like to join us and learn more. Start, Get connected and Grow. Become a member for peer learning, insight, savings, policy voting, access to peers/resources, accelerate your business and improve your business and personal resilience.

Cheers,

 

Pete Cooper

Founder

The Start Society

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