The Dallas Entrepreneur Center was packed. There were probably 200+ people in the space… the same space in which I sat second seat, second row, earlier that morning… like every Wednesday morning for 1 Million Cups. But, this time, I wasn’t going to the Dallas Entrepreneur Center to sit in the audience and take notes in my notebook. I was headlining. Ok, maybe not headlining. But it definitely felt that way in my own OOMCZ kind of way.
On Wednesday, July 13th, the Dallas Entrepreneur Center hosted “Plugged: An introduction to the Dallas startup scene.” (#GetPluggedDFW) The event promo went onto say “Get the who’s who and what’s what and what’s next of the North Texas Startup Scene.” The event featured mini interviews with some of the big players in the booming Dallas startup community. I, lo and behold, was one of the featured mini interviews… me. I was a “who’s who” and a “big player.” Madness! How [the fork?] did I get an invite to speak at this event? (Beats me! Just kidding.)
Back in December (2015) the Dallas Entrepreneur Center held The State of Entrepreneurship. It was an evening where many of the leading organizations and people in the community gathered to share what made the year significant. There was one in 2014 too. Both were huge successes and the growth, year-over-year, was impressive. There will undoubtedly be one in 2016 that will outdo the others. After 2014, in 2015, when I was midst move preparations, an infographic was shared by The Dallas Entrepreneur Center post State of Entrepreneurship that boosted my perception of the Dallas startup scene.
Once 2015’s event passed, I asked when the infographic would be coming out. The response was not affirmative. “We don’t have the time, resources, or budget to produce a graphic this year,” I was told. Unacceptable! What about all of the transplants like me looking for the startup scene? These people need to know that Austin isn’t the only Texas-city with a startup community. “I’ve got time. The community needs a new graphic,” I said.
And so I pressed. Week-after-week. Month-after-month. Buy-in from one team. Data from another. A design sponsor. Coordinate. Plan. Communicate. Must. Get. Graphic. Done. And then, the #GetPluggedDFW invite. They say, “without a deadline a project will not get done.” We were going to get it done and #GetPluggedDFW was our new deadline.
And then, I crushed it. I got up on stage, the last of seven speakers (the “I don’t recognize that name” of the lot), and I answered my pre-scripted questions: What’s special or different about the DFW startup community vs. other cities in which I lived? What is so important about this infographic? What does the DFW startup community need to do to succeed in ten years?
The Dallas Startup Community is a special place. The people in the community are what makes it special. So my recipe for success is: “Show up. Bring friends. Don’t hesitate. Take initiative. Get involved. Just do it.” [mic drop]