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The world's innovation economy is broken. If you have an idea, depending on who you are or where you live, you might never get a shot. A handful of people in a handful of cities are deciding, behind closed doors, which entrepreneurs get a shot to succeed. The determining factor? Potential profit.
We're living in a world where we are struggling to feed, provide energy, and provide quality jobs for a growing population, yet the innovation economy continues to prioritize investing billions in photo-sharing apps and on-demand food delivery services. The result is a system that doesn't support most entrepreneurs - entrepreneurial activity is at a 30-year low - and a system that doesn't work for investors.
In The Innovation Blind Spot, venture capitalist Ross Baird demonstrates how to fix the problem by helping us find better ideas, looking at people, places, and industries often overlooked. Baird also explores "one-pocket thinking", which ensures ideas are not just benefiting a few people from the top down, but broadly benefiting entrepreneurs, business, and society from the bottom up. Ross's firm, Village Capital, is at the vanguard of a new way to finding ideas that is much more democratic and inclusive, and his method promises to dramatically increase success for everyone involved.
This book touched on so many blind spots that i never relized in my pursuit of entreprenuership. I learned so much. I recommend it to all aspiring entreprenuers.
Would you recommend this audiobook to a friend? If so, why?
Are you an entrepreneur located somewhere other than SF, NYC or Boston? Are you someone who believes the solutions to many big problems in health, agriculture, eduction, sustainable livelihoods have not yet been invented, proven or scaled up? Do you believe if they are to be solved they will come from the bottom up, not likely to be solved by existing multinational but rather will come from the people and communities experiencing the problems?
This important book shows the new way forward to build a more inclusive innovation economy in the US (and globally) by increasing access to networks, capital and technical/human resources outside of the traditional coastal startup cities/ecosystems. A good read for entrepreneurs in the rest of the country and those seeking to support them, attract them to their regions/cities, and invest in them and their pursuit of solutions.
Any additional comments?
I'm an entrepreneur located in Nashville, TN. I had a great experience participating in Village Capital's US Agriculture program in 2015/2016.
What was one of the most memorable moments of The Innovation Blind Spot?
The entire book was a revelation
Did you have an extreme reaction to this book? Did it make you laugh or cry?
It made me jump up in the realization of my mistakes.
I'm mostly a popular science non-fiction reader. I'm interested in some business and economics topics, so I'll sometimes give books written for a business-type audience a go. I am frequently disappointed by their shallow analysis or failure to develop their ideas.
Not so with this book. Baird starts off with an interesting different perspective on the investment ecosystem: that all of our most "innovative" startup hubs are focused on a very thin slice of potential businesses, namely those that provide a quick financial return using tech-based solutions to provide services to hip upper middle class folks. Think "Blue Apron" and "Snapchat." Baird then explains how this model fails to develop a multitude of business that cater to the not-so-well-off (e.g., a company restructuring payday loan debt for the poor) and companies that create stable, long-term jobs (e.g., a fish processing plant in the south). Baird doesn't come off as preachy as he describes this phenomenon. He focuses on the individually reasonable factors that cumulatively lead to this problem (e.g., choosing to invest in companies founded by alumni of your prestigious alma mater).
And that's where Baird sets himself apart. He doesn't just have an interesting idea. He takes an interesting idea and then develops it with an engaging mix of anecdotes, business knowledge, sociology, and a vision for improving the future. His writting style is still that of a business book, so don't expect a 1,000+ page tome like "Better Angels of our Nature" (which I love, of course). But if you're looking for an engaging, fast moving, and thought provoking read with some intellectual substance to it, I strongly recommend the book.
excellent book on discussing the need to help startups that don't fit the standard Silicon Valley white male model