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Monday, October 1, 2012

Evan Burfield Keynote at DevFestDC 9 28 12

Evan Burfield, Chairman and Founder of Synteractive. Chair of Startup DC. Co-Founder of the National Piggy Bank. Social and technology innovator.  gave the closing keynote at DevFestDC

(Dick’s notes, Dick’s fault) We have two interconnected problems. National – deep crises on many levels. The country’s broke, depending on your facts, $350K to $1.7 million per household. Cost of energy in this country is increasing, education costs 3 times comparable countries, medicine two times (at least), 25% of our Iraq/Afghanistan veterans are unemployed. 
We are at a junction. In the Collaborative Age, knowledge defines your value. 
At the same time, our institutions are Manufacturing Age mastodons. They persist for years, eventually the bubble will pop. We have an opportunity to reinvent those institutions. 
The last opportunity to upgrade our institutions was at the end of the Cold War, The Peace Initiative. 
9/11 and the dotcom bubble killed small business DC. We have a huge opportunity. 

DC Region advantages –
1.      Every corporation and NGO has a presence in this city.
2.      Unbelievably high data manipulation demand and skills.
3.      Highest density of developers in the world. 

As Chair of StartUpDC, I want to knock down barriers to this growth. I see three challenges.
1.      Latent Capital – Harder to raise capital now. Some solutions:
1.1.    K Street Capital Initiative - Lobbyists traditionally invest in real estate and restaurants. “A place to store my wine.” Introduce appropriate technology to lobbyists.
1.2.    Crystal City Capital Initiative – Introduce Defense Contractors to appropriate technology.
1.2.1.      Development programmers and government programmers don’t like each other because they don’t know each other.
1.3.    Diaspora Capital – Introduce Immigrant Capital to appropriate business opportunities. 

2.       Corporate Engagement – Google buys a company, founders leave, create a new company, Google buys new company. It’s a well-known left coast model. What about here? 
3.       Talent – Government technologist and Startup technologist don’t like each other. They don’t KNOW each other. Mix ’em up and solve some problems. 
Who other than entrepreneurs are going to tackle these problems? 
Look at where we were in 2002. No smartphones, no Facebook, little Google, good Prodigy. Where are we going to be ten years from now? 

DC is the most powerful city on earth. Must be the leader. 

Someone will be replacinng the mastodon ecosystem over the next 3 – 5 years.

1 comment:

Unknown said...

It is uplifting to hear Evan's comments about the future - not an easy path, however people can navigate to achieve the goal of changing for success.

We have seen the change that automation and computerization have caused. We can also see the slow change of roles and duties in organizations that are repetitive and no-value-add, with significant resistance and pretending it isn't happening or necessary.

Remember customer service where the person at the other end of the phone was reading from the computer screen to the caller? Still happens, but the caller may have access to that same information - now the person in the organization is available to help the caller with the unique issues and questions.

Evan's points about the role of DC encouraging for the proper reasons - build from what we have, change it to fit the New Normal needs.

Thank you for writing up your notes and sharing Evan's comments with everyone.