Last week I was walking downtown in Iowa City and I saw a poster for Creative Week which made me do a double take. Creative week? In Iowa?! How exciting! I went home and looked up the event and much to my surprise discovered something called Iowa's Creative Corridor. The Iowa Creative Corridor is the area in the map below. The organization seeks to bring together all of the creative people and ideas in the area to support one another. This week they are having a ton of events to demonstrate all of the great things happening in the area. The organization also provides many resources and services to those starting a business.
Many of the events that were speeches, panels, and conferences, I was not able to attend because they were during the workday and again I could not take time off due to a project at work. However, I was able to attend the first ever Startup Town Hall in Iowa City at the Innovation Expo. The event had three speakers that discussed how Iowa City can create a community and network that supports new startups. The speakers included Dan Reed (VP for Research & Economic Development for the University of Iowa), Scott Case (CEO of Startup America Partnership, former CEO of Malaria No More, and founder of Priceline), and Scott Heifman founder of Meetup.com which I am currently using to put together a Lean In group.
The panel started by showing the short video below which I loved. A few of the speakers on the video I have connected in the past for speaking at Iowa HOBY and it reminded me to meet up with them now that I live here. The panel talked about how in the past, if you wanted to be creative or be part of a startup, you had to move to either the Silicon Valley or New York City. Now there are many places where you can be successful and the Iowa City/Cedar Rapids areas is working on becoming one of the those places. One of the thing that draws me to want to live in a bigger city is the ability to be among a creative class and have a creative network , so it made me happy to hear that people were working on building that support here.
On a side note, I also learned that the average age of CEO for a startup is 40 and that the best talent for building a creative community are between the ages of 25-30. This information reassured me that I am not behind the game at age 28 . . .
The panel was very inspiring for me to discover that this network exists and hear advice from CEOs that I can apply to the work I am doing. It was comforting being in a huge room with people like me: wearing huge plastic glasses, buzzing about what hashtag to use, taking furious notes, asking questions, and trying to get the perfect photo to Instagram. I fit in and it felt good and motivated me to work on my Startup idea (teaser).
My favorite quote of the night came from Dan Reed -
"Make new and original mistakes. . . The mark of success is how many times you have tried and failed."