Leaving VentureBeat BluePrint. TLDR: inspired.
The Conference centered on the need to increase access to economic opportunity and income growth between the coasts. With 32 states represented and Founders, Regional VCs, Economic Development Directors, and Enterprises in attendance, the opportunity to discuss both the need for broadly dispersed economic opportunity and possible models proved unique and valuable.
With MT's start up scene rapidly scaling, I went to the event not sure if we were an exception or more broadly representative of other regions and to learn from others. I can say without reservation that there appears to a broad-based, pervasive rise of entrepreneurial focus and activity in similar markets and states, be it TN, WI, OH, UT, CO, NE, and others; a Rise of the Rest, even. The Conference brimmed with confidence and palpable sense of what is possible. Speaker after speaker made the good news clear.
The siren call of a more balanced, less expensive (buy a house), and, frankly, less stressful way of life is pulling people away from the coastal cities and to towns like Chattanooga, Madison, Bozeman and they are moving back well equipped to build companies that leverage their experiences and connections. The secular trend of cities benefiting from accelerators, angel and seed funds, government policy, etc. and the relatively new proclivity of Bay Area VCs to invest nationally is rewriting what's possible and raising the economic prospects of towns previously cut off from the great technology economy's benefits.