There were a number of great stories at GeekWire Startup Day (#GWStartupday), but none like that of Dave Cotter, CEO of SquareHub.
His talk was titled “The Big Exit.” Given the venue and the audience it might be about selling your startup or perhaps closing the door because there just wasn’t enough traction. Or perhaps it was a tale of making it through an IPO.
Actually the title didn’t refer to any of those. It meant the exit all of us have. Death.
It wasn’t a Halloween tale full of ghosts and goblins — although it sounded like some of Dave’s former colleagues might live in that world. It was about a man in the prime of a life filled with work in the fast-paced tech industry suffering a stroke.
In the hospital he was surrounded by thoughts. I’m sure he had people with him some of the time — he’s too engaging a character to be completely alone. But the wife, who was now an ex-wife, and the three daughters he admitted to not knowing all that well, really made him think.
He started a change. He made a list of the 10 people who meant the most to him in this life. And he vowed to pay them back, not in wild, extravagant, meaningless ways. But to pay them back with the simple things of contact, recognition, surprises and understanding.
When we each make our own list, and I’m sure you’re thinking about it now, you need to make sure you add your own name. You need to be part of whats most meaningful in your life to enjoy and share the full benefit.
Check out SquareHub, his new gig. It’s an application made for friends and families to connect.
“It’s not the meek that will inherit the earth, it’s the geek.”
That was part of the message as Washington Governor Jay Inslee addressed the GeekWire Startup Day gathering on October 25th. In a talk that started slow — yeah 9:30 in the morning seemed a little early for many in the startup crowd — the Governor showed his understanding and appreciation of the technology industry.
The Governor recalled Washington’s history with airplanes and software and offered that innovation is really the stock in trade for the state. One of the relatively new industries, gaming, has 70% of total industry revenue in the state.
One key initiative was in making government data more accessible to the public. He highlighted Socrata a Seattle company focused on democratizing access to public data.
The Governor also has some key technology policy initiatives he will be pursuing:
- Tax credit for startup companies
- Research and Development tax credits
- Increasing focus on colleges and universities spinning off research to private enterprise
- Creating an index on the efficiency of government regulations
- Increasing the number of students graduating with STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math) degrees
Finally, he challenged the audience with a bigger issue; the cumulative effect of our carbon choices. We’ve consumed vast stores of carbon fuels in a relatively short period of time. What technology and innovation can we bring to these challenges to improve our future?
I’m at the Geekwire Startup Day event. The agenda looks great — a full day of capitalism at its most basic. I hope to have a lot of information to share in the coming days.