Silicon Valley Watcher - Former FT journalist Tom Foremski reporting from the intersection of technology and media

The Startup Spirit Of St. Louis - Building A Sustainable And Socially Conscious Tech Community

Posted by Tom Foremski - October 16, 2014

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With it's famous arch in the background, St. Louis celebrates 250 years in 2014.

I recently returned from 4 days in St. Louis, meeting the local startup community and contributing to a new conference, Startup Voodoo organized by local tech news site Techli and Elasticity, an innovative digital marketing agency.

These next few posts offer a whirlwind introduction to some of the events,  people and companies of St. Louis. I was impressed with the quality of the tech community.

I was more than impressed with the strong sense of social responsibility everyone seemed to have from young business students, entrepreneurs, to philanthropists. Even newly transplanted residents with just a few months residency talked about S. Louis as "we" and exhibited a strong loyalty to their new community.

It is worth remembering that Silicon Valley used to have a strong sense of social responsibility, too. It once was very important in recruiting software engineers, they cared about it more than free lunches and free haircuts.

When Google registered for its IPO in 2004 the first pages of its SEC filing was a letter from the founders, in which they spelled out their goal of building an enterprise for greater good:

Don't be evil. We believe strongly that in the long term, we will be better served-as shareholders and in all other ways-by a company that does good things for the world even if we forgo some short term gains....

We aspire to make Google an institution that makes the world a better place. . . We are in the process of establishing the Google Foundation. We intend to contribute significant resources to the foundation, including employee time and approximately 1% of Google's equity and profits in some form.

We hope someday this institution may eclipse Google itself in terms of overall world impact by ambitiously applying innovation and significant resources to the largest of the world's problems. 

Here are some of my St. Louis startup stories:

St. Louis Spirit: Bud Albers Is Chief Angel And Mentor -SVW

St. Louis Spirit: Pixel Press - Draw A Video Game -SVW

St. Louis Spirit: Arch Grants Equity-Free $50K For Startups Moving To St Louis -SVW

St. Louis Spirit: Social Media Club - Can You Compete With Silicon Valley? -SVW

St. Louis Spirit: Startup Voodoo - The Black Magic Of Building A Tech Business -SVW

St. Louis Spirit: Cortex Urban Research Park Bucks Tech Campus Trend -SVW

St. Louis Spirit: Lockerdome And Other Standouts -SVW

A shimmery future comes into view for St. Louis...

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