Des Moines’ Entrepreneur Climate

Mike Colwell of BIZ (Business Innovation Zone) has an excellent article talking about how detrimental it is for serial entrepreneurs in Des Moines to “Fail Fast.” One of the things he hits upon is something that I tend to tell people at least once a week:

Des Moines is a small town with a long memory.

While I knew this to be true, Mike Sansone was the person that gave me a plausible explanation. He explained that Des Moines’ culture is of risk aversion. Our largest industry, insurance, is dedicated to mitigating risk. The agricultural part of the state also has a culture of mitigating risk in the corn field, be it from deer, water, hail, etc.

Our culture dictates a certain level of hostility to something new. Startups are more difficult here because of our culture. However, the consensus is that the entrepreneur climate has improved greatly over the course of the last decade, particularly in the last five years.

How do we ensure that this trend continues for the next decade?

For myself, this means:

  • A commitment to honesty.
  • A conscious effort to learn from failures.
  • An openness to new ideas.
  • A pledge to reinvest in Des Moines’ entrepreneur community.
  • The ability to forgive past mistakes, given true contrition.

– Jon

Photo courtesy of Carl Wykoff