Skip to comments.Startup Day Across America Panel – with Congressman Jared Polis
Posted on 08/01/2017 8:25:13 PM PDT by flamberge
Startup Day Across America Panel with Congressman Jared Polis
This event was held on August 1 at the Rayback Collective in Boulder Colorado. About 40 people attended in person and an unknown number followed the discussion over streaming video. The event format was a six person panel of local entrepreneurs who have started small businesses.
The Collective is a restaurant-bar located on the site of the former Rayback Plumbing and Heating Company. It is a very large industrial space with enough remodeling to be a pleasant hangout for local residents. One of the owners remarked You would not believe the number of broken toilets and other things we dug up when we fixed the parking lot. I estimated there were close to 300 people inside and on the patio spaces. Not bad for a Tuesday evening.
Congressman Polis opened the meeting with some remarks extolling the virtues of small business and the people who create them. He mentioned that more than 50 percent of jobs come from small businesses and Government must encourage entrepreneurs.
It is quit disconcerting to hear a Leftist Democrat sounding like a Conservative Republican, at least superficially. I suppose this is all part of the illusionary art that enables politicians to appeal to different groups of people and get elected.
Polis had good words for employee-owned companies and co-operative organizations and suggested that people work more effectively in collectives where everybody has a stake in the outcome.
The Congressman introduced the panel:
One person on the panel started a restaurant with a group of his friends (and we are still friends, he said). This was one of the owners of the Rayback Collective, who was hosting the event.
Another person was working in a vocational training organization that had grown from a tiny startup to include 7 campuses in multiple cities.
Another person founded a company that makes a health-food snack bar. It seems to be quite popular.
There was a lawyer who specializes in advising startup companies. He said Every startup should be in the form of a Delaware C Corporation. This is the best way to protect the assets and equity of the founders.
There was a person who had been a former software engineer, and is now a partner in a Co-working office space that rents common space to freelance professionals.
And there was a person whose business I simply did not understand at all. He did not give any detailed explanations.
A number of questions were taken from the in-person and online audience. A common theme in many of the answers was successful business require a team of compatible people who work together and listen to each other. Also it is essential to recognize when you are in over your head on some area and ask for help from other people with experience in the matter.
All this stuff would have seemed perfectly suited for a Rotary Club meeting or an Optimist meeting.
One questioner from the in-person audience had comments about the need for Diversity in the Workplace of Startups. To my observation, this resulted in a lot of hemming and hawing from the panelists before they settled on the politically correct liberal responses and endorsements. This is The Peoples Republic of Boulder, after all.
Panelists repeatedly mentioned difficulty in hiring the right workers that would fit into their organizations. An audience member who owned a 300-person business asked the panel for advice on recruiting B-List talent because he simply could not afford or even find A-List talent in the area. The general consensus was to recruit inexperienced people from vocational schools or junior colleges, and spend the time and effort to develop their skills, also to grant some kind of stock options to such people.
My own assessment of Diversity Hires is that no small business can tolerate them. A protected class of people who cannot be criticized will quickly run a small business into the ground. That is why nepotism can destroy a small-to-medium sized business too. Nobody said anything like that in the meeting.
In after-panel conversations, one of the panelists astonished me with a candid statement that their company had difficulty with the work ethic and practices of younger people (20-somethings) and they would never hire anyone under 40. I was able to suppress any comment and just listened to the rant.
I thanked the host and the sponsor of the event and I left in fine spirits and without participating in any arguments.
All-in-all the meeting was not what I expected. I came away with the feeling that nothing is wholly what it appears to be.
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