By now we are all aware of the decision of Amazon with a few nudges from local NYC politicians to stop dating. Fair warning, I am a crawl-walk-run guy. This incremental, momentum-based thinking provides me comfort in just about anything I do. For the record, most things I do are about building things from scratch. These types of activities are fraught with self-doubt, unknowns and general fear. (Yes, even for someone as "experienced" as I.)
It is probably some level of cognitive bias but it seems like most successful building activities have a little magic about them. Is it the leader? Is it the product? Could it be the geography? Or is it the team? Maybe it is all of the above.
I believe that every successful project has a rhythm or cadence.
A few of my starting anything proverbs:
· Movement in a general direction is better than stop/starting yourself towards a specific direction
· Crawl - walk - run
· Confidence is contagious
· Momentum is your projects best friend
Fred Wilson of Union Square ventures posted a comment about the Amazon selection months back and what it means for New York City. In his post he argued for "grow, prosper, invest, fix, grow, prosper . . . You get the idea.
I was reminded of the Lawrence Welk show (careful, you must be over 50 to remember) where he would command his orchestra with the phrase "and a 1 and a 2 and a . . . ". Similarly, the Army training starts with "left, right, left-right-left".
These are all cadences to get everyone on board with the goal of achieving synchronization.
For startup communities, local leaders must also set a cadence to achieve synchronization and ultimately some community momentum.
Monthly meetups, regular coffee meetings, and daily or weekly blogs are all simple examples of setting a cadence or rhythm for your community. It is amazing to see what happens when everyone begins to see the progress as more people show up or more information is shared.
My take for ecosystem building? Focus on building a cadence of small wins and leave the big swings to others.