When deciding where to get an MBS, I had a clear set of criteria: (1) the area and program would help me start a business upon graduation, (2) the MBA program would give me a good return on investment, (3) the area had to be somewhere my wife and I could stay, and (4) the closer to family the better. Boulder satisfied the first three and instead of being closer to family, we’re now working to bring them closer to us (cross your fingers, a couple are apartment hunting next week!).
I remember my first couple weeks here like it was yesterday. I was excited to start the program, I was in awe with the beauty of the location, I was inspired by the healthy lifestyle, and most of all, I was impressed with the people, especially in the entrepreneurial ecosystem.
I’ve said it many times, one of the things I like most about Boulder is that I feel like I am among my peers. Sure, my religious beliefs separate me in some aspects, but the people here are inspiring, driven, creative, and intelligent; all the things I aspire to be. It is truly a world-class city.
One example of this was my experience yesterday, I got the opportunity to attend the board meeting for StartupColorado. This meeting brings together almost all of the front-range entrepreneurial leaders, everyone from entrepreneurs to lawyers, from venture capitalists to professors, and a couple lucky students like me. Pretty much every big name in Colorado was there. The whole meeting was filled with ideas and projects focused on taking the already world-class entrepreneurial community to the next level. I liked almost every idea I heard, I really got a sense for the how effective communities are built, and I got a sense for ways that I can make a meaningful contribution.
After the meeting I volunteered to help one of the ideas and my offer was met with enthusiasm. I can’t help but doubt that these opportunities are available in other entrepreneurial hot spots in the country, especially for someone as new as I am to the community.
It reminds me of an experience I had last March. Myself and a group of entrepreneurial students took a trip to Silicon Valley to dive into the entrepreneurial ecosystem. One of the meetings was with Roger Smith, the co-founder of Silicon Valley Bank. He talked about how Silicon Valley was an inclusive place where everyone helps everyone else.
At the time, I was a bit shocked by his description because I had never heard the valley described that way. On the contrary, the stories I had heard were competitive and cut-throat. However, what struck me was that his description matched what my experience had been in Boulder thus far. The takeaway for me is that Boulder has the secret sauce to be an even bigger deal in the future. The goal isn’t to be the next Silicon Valley, but the goal is to keep attracting amazingly smart people, keep attracting investment capital, and keep building companies of value.
I’m extremely grateful I came to Boulder, and I look forward to a long future here.