Day 38

Day 38

We build things, we take risks, and we believe that if you have a good idea and are willing to work hard enough, you can turn that idea into a successful business.

— President Barack Obama

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On February 2, 2012, the White House hosted a Google+ Hangout to celebrate the one-year anniversary of Startup America, a White House initiative that was launched to celebrate, inspire, and accelerate high-growth entrepreneurship throughout the nation.

Gene Sperling, the President’s National Economic Council Advisor, Aneesh Chopra, the nation’s first Chief Technology Officer, and Steve Case, chairman and CEO of Revolution (an investment company that has backed the likes of Zip Car and Living Social), answered questions about Startup America and discussed President Obama’s announcement this week for a small-business bill. President Obama said, “In a time when companies can set up shop anywhere there is an internet connection, we need to make sure the next generation of inventors and innovators can thrive right here in America.”

To take on that challenge, the President launched entrepreneur-focused policy initiatives that include tax cuts, efforts to connect mentors and educators to entrepreneurs, and accelerating innovation. One ongoing push to get younger companies started sooner is the “Pay As You Earn” plan which launched this past October. In the Startup America video Advice for Young Entrepreneurs, entrepreneurial founders talk about the urgency to get a company off the ground, the necessity of building a network, and the components of a successful startup. Scott Case, former CTO of Priceline advises: “Your job is to build a network from the assets that you have today.”

Case’s words resonate with us as we build our own network. We’ve talked to many of our contributors about just how important it is to have a mentor and support team. Many of them openly admit that they had no clue what they were doing when they started, so they simply asked people they respected for advice and took them out for a beer. We know there’s more to starting a company than getting advice over drinks, but it may be the conversation over those drinks that leads to a community for your product and eventually capital.

We’ve been really fortunate to have the opportunity to meet some truly amazing designers and entrepreneurs, many of whom we’ve long respected and admired, but also those that we’ve been able to discover through this process.

A side note: We know many of our readers aren’t from the States, and we’d love to hear more about your governments’ initiatives to support entrepreneurship.