As I have recently come back to Austin after sequestering myself away for writing my forthcoming book, I have been out networking a lot again- and getting questions of “what are you up to”. Sometimes I just give short answers… but a number of y’all are asking, and so when Naomi asked for details earlier today, instead of just giving the short perhaps somewhat flippant answer that I might when processing emails, this is what I shared. Spoiler alert: this starts to speak to the grand vision that I see that I appreciate many of you listening to over the last four years. Thank you. I appreciate now and into the future your feedback. Below is the letter- I hope to share more through this blog and over drinks with y’all in the coming days, weeks, months. Please let me know what you think.
Good to see you too. I am just about to be out of town for a few days for a speaking engagement in Philadelphia and then in New York City- so let me quickly answer your question here, and then follow up with you as you have questions.
In 2003 I launched Enterprise Teaming, llc as an entrepreneur-focused organization to build networks of entrepreneurs who build their businesses through leveraging the network. I am applying my deep knowledge of social networking theory with my passion for being an entrepreneur, and supporting entrepreneurs. My 15 year goal, now in its fourth year, is that the network support/ drive 10,000 $1 million businesses to success…. with a model that at some point can be leveraged across multiple levels of entrepreneurs (into the poor, and also leveraged by large companies as well.) As I have led emerging trends in the past ( using the Internet in ’89, object-oriented programming since ’89, building Internet apps since ’94, building Dell’s eCommerce engine in my living room in ’96, building profile driven commerce in ’99, affective computing – computers that can read emotion in ’01, leveraging Linux as a platform in 2002, and now leveraging social networks to support a new style of doing work to support the US’s shift to being an Entrepreneurial Capitalistic society – from the Industrial Capitalistic society that we are leaving behind)… I am now focused on this emerging shift towards leveraging social networks to support entrepreneurs. It is all about having more entrepreneurs be successful in the ensuing chaos that the market is going to bring. Perhaps it is the 3.5 years of getting to work with Steve Jobs and amazing people at NeXT, but yes, I do believe that we can change the world.
In 2003, I had the opportunity to go to Chile to work with Chilean Senator Fernando Flores and others, building a network of entrepreneurs across Chile. Although I really love Chile, I went there first because they were receptive to trying out radically different models for working with entrepreneurs than is presently happening in Texas, even here in Austin. I left behind a group of entrepreneurs that I had started here… informally called the RDogs (referencing a counter-culture movie that several of us in the group particularly enjoyed). As an example, this is the group that founders Mason Hale and Matt Cohen met through, among other technologist and entrepreneurs. After a life changing experience in Chile, I came back to the US at the end of 2003, convinced that I was onto an idea about how the world was shifting towards entrepreneurship more than ever before… and how social networking software would be the underpinning of this tectonic shift. Because of the intensity that I came back with after having such a powerful experience, I quickly met Bijoy Goswami… and because of our shared passion for entrepreneurs, we combined the RDogs into Bootstrap Austin, and shared the work of building that organization from 20 people at the first meeting that I attended at the Gingerman, to the 650+ bootstrappers that are a part of the group today. (Bijoy recognized me for this with giving me the “Virtual Founder” award about a year and half later… Bootstrap Austin has always been a labor of love for us both, and I am certain will be into the future).
Often times, because of my focus on the theory and the philosophical groundings of how to make a network a network (and not just a pretty website with a list of people on it- as many of the networks out there are) I have often times been called the “Chief Architect” or sometimes “Chief Fire Starter” of the Bootstrap Network, that although informal as most things are in Bootstrap Austin, titles that I particularly enjoy… but these are not titles describing my technology background that many of y’all that have known me for in the past (being the CTO’s CTO… ) mainly because I now spend my time not focused on the bits and bytes of technology (like web servers, programming languages, etc) but more of how philosophically humans interact, and humans create… which ties quite nicely into my lifelong interest in innovation…. what is happening now, though, is that I am now focusing this interest at a level that can be taken to tens of thousands of people and companies, not just the one big client (e.g. Dell) at a time. The future is all about entrepreneurs. This link to Intuit’s work says it best about the Future of Business).
So what is happening right now? With Bijoy and Bootstrap Austin, with my colleagues in Chile, with an entrepreneur network that we created in Mexico, with the DCI board that I was elected to earlier this year, with a handful of colleagues that have been doing innovative economic development across Texas, and with a book that I have written (coming out Jan 2008) called Exponential Entrepreneurship, and other collaborators as they come, I mean to build a network that shifts how work is done and how entrepreneurs succeed in their work, shifting the dynamics of what to this point has been the status quo. I will be building a larger network that will include many other communities in it- and of course this will be tied into Bootstrap Austin, and the Prueba el Mundo (network in Mexico), and the network in Chile. My focus for the next year will be more on the central Texas area, but there are a couple of knock-them-out-of-the-park projects that are happening that I expect to get to announce in the next 6 months that will profoundly effect entrepreneurship in general.
I will be blogging about this at my blog which is http://www.exponentialentrepreneurship.com/blog
If you are interested, please follow it via RSS or you can sign up on the lower right hand side- and get emails. In fact, given that your question has been asked a lot of me recently, I will post my portion of this email. Thank you for the question- it is about time that I share this information.
It was good to see you. I am certain that there are opportunities in our work together. Please do let me know as you have comments on this- please feel free to also comment on the blog as many of the things that I am learning now from the feedback that I am getting on the blog are going straight into the book and the design of the entrepreneurial networks that we are building.
Please do keep me in the loop- thanks for the update on your work, and I look forward to catching up with you again soon.