The same things that draw many of us to New England as a place to live and work can make networking for web entrepreneurs more challenging. With a few exceptions, the population density is such that we don’t have the same critical mass in small geographic areas as those in San Francisco or New York City.
Yet New England has a consistently strong track record when it comes to high-tech innovation and entrepreneurship. The Yankee spirit of ingenuity and self-reliance are often enough to excel.
But I believe that the stronger the community, the stronger our companies and ideas will become. On a personal level, I feel reinvigorated whenever I get a chance to hang out with fellow entrepreneurs, giving and getting advice and ideas.
That’s why I decided to start New England Web Entrepreneurs. I hope it will serve as an information clearinghouse, as well as an organizer and facilitator of offline and online events. It will not replace what is already going on, but rather seek to complement and extend it.
As I noted in the official launch post for NEWE:
There are many great efforts underway to provide opportunities to
develop those community relationships, of course. David Beisel’s Web Innovators Group brings together hundreds of people every few months to explore new products and network. Bryan Person founded the Social Media Breakfast in Boston a few years ago to give online communicators a forum to engage in. More recently, Leslie Poston has introduced a similar effort here in New Hampshire. Of course, Podcamp began in Boston under the wise leadership of Christopher Penn and Chris Brogan. And groups like Boston Media Makers gives multimedia creators the chance to get together periodically.
NEWE is open to anyone active or interested in web entrepreneurship in New England. Though it is designed for local people, we welcome others who have a connection to the region because of current business interests or past relationships. (And we have already had a few of those join, including the aforementioned Bryan Person who abandoned us here in New England for slightly warmer Austin, TX, as well as Brad Feld who has served as a catalyst for a non-traditional web entrepreneur community in Colorado and who had some of his early business success in these parts.)
Of course, the ultimate impact of the NEWE effort depends on my fellow New England web entrepreneurs, so here’s what I need if you think this is a good idea:
1. Join NEWE. It’s free and you’ll get some link love through our member directory, plus access to future events and resources.
2. Share your ideas. I don’t pretend to have all the answers. I have been ruminating on such a concept for some time, so I have some of my own ideas, but I really want to know what you think would be the most valuable things we could concentrate on with NEWE as we get started.
3. Spread the word. The more entrepreneurs who take part in NEWE, the more effective it will likely be, so won’t you please consider spreading the word on Twitter, Facebook, email, and your own blog?
Thanks for your help, and I look forward to building this effort out.