30 Dec T-minus 10, 9, 8, …
I get asked a lot: “What is Launch Fishers?” I love that question. It gives me a chance to tell the story. Inevitably, the inquirer has a preconceived notion of a business incubator or other similar reference point. But that’s not it.
It’s more than that. It’s an entire ecosystem of talented individuals that share ideas and celebrate each others’ successes. It’s a place where you can walk to the middle of the room and access developers, lawyers, accountants, marketing professionals, photographers, speakers, non-profits. The list goes on. This gets missed as one of the true benefits of Launch Fishers. To say incubator implies that only startups exist at Launch. While there are many startups, a significant part of the Launch population is a mix of seasoned entrepreneurs with a desire to work in an environment that fosters innovation and feeds their hunger for continuous improvement.
Discussing Launch Indiana with Jason Whitney this week, I was reflecting on the true value of co-working spaces. The true value is the magic that happens when you take a group of highly motivated individuals and thrust them together into a single place. The ideas, the collaboration, the ideation and the shared accountability propels the entire group of companies further than we would have achieved on our own. It’s the vision that John Wechsler and Mayor Fadness surely had. Creating an entrepreneurial ecosystem is more than just lip service. It’s a truly innovative idea. Its effects are widespread and valued in the community well beyond the walls of Launch Fishers. That idea of an entrepreneurial ecosystem took me a while to understand. Once I got it, that’s when things started to click for Iconic Digital.
I came to Launch Fishers back in the first year it was opened. I came with a fairly narrow understanding of what it meant to be an entrepreneur. My business plan was also fairly narrow (perhaps “shallow” is a better term). I made tons of mistakes (“made” implies all my mistakes are in the past – I believe heavy optimism is key to maintaining a healthy, slightly delusional state). My goals were absurdly low. My growth plan was a fraction of what it is today. In a sense, I had no understanding of the possibilities that exist. I credit the previously unknown “entrepreneurial ecosystem” for launching a wider understanding of how to scale a business, how to work with community leaders, and the vast resources that exist to support motivated business owners.
I look around and see the progression and achievements of others everywhere. Many of the companies we met early on are now much more advanced and sophisticated than they were. What a huge business advantage we had! Watching them, studying them, learning from them, talking to them, and working with them, our business has gained so much from achievers in the ecosystem. We’ve forged more relationships, found trusted advisors, and gained insights that may have been impossible without Launch. We push ourselves further, set our sights higher, and more aggressively pursue goals. The ecosystem strengthened our business by organically forcing us to re-examine what we thought possible, showing us models of how to achieve bigger things, and developing a plan to achieve a greater existence. It’s not contrived or scripted. It’s simply the magic that happens when you find a place for highly motivated individuals and provide enough support to facilitate the exchange of ideas and interconnection of the ecosystem.
So, you ask: “what have we learned from Launch?”
- Passion from Jason Krueger at StratoStar (our first Launch client)
- Professionalism from Enterprise Strategies
- Enthusiasm from Eric Anderson at SciSpeak
- Attention to detail from Matt Molter at Agency360
- Talent acquisition from Chad Tunison at eHealthcare Consulting
- Collaboration from Casey Kenley at Punch Content
- Project Management from Darye Henry at Developertown
- Scaling from Brad Seaman at MonsterConnect
- Corporate responsibility from Laurie Kroll at Village2Village
- Networking from Val Crooke at Incentus Global
- Operational excellence from Gabrielle and Calvin Hendryx at Six Feet Up
- Effective management of chemical dependencies from the Rise Coffee Shop baristas 🙂
- Leadership from David Bolling at Launch Fishers
- Good governance from Mayor Scott Fadness
- Innovation from John Wechsler
Perhaps the most important lesson we learned from the ecosystem is that success is not finite. Too often, as human entrepreneurs, we tend to think of success as finite. “There’s only so much to go around.” This belief tries to force us to be competitive with each other. It beckons us to think in terms of what our competition is doing. How do we get what is ours before others take it? A good businessperson plays their hand close to the vest, shields good ideas from others. Not true. Success is infinite. There is no bottom to the pool of success. There is no ceiling. No limits. No boundaries.
When a rocket Launches, it expends a significant amount of fuel to break free from the restrictions of Earth’s atmosphere. Once it propels itself far enough, it finds a new reality. One that is less restrictive, vast, and full of infinite opportunities for exploration.
What is Launch Fishers? The fuel.
2017 will bring changes. As Iconic Digital ventures out to a new space, we will surely miss coming to Launch Fishers every day. We are excited by the prospects of things to come. We will remain in Fishers just a Peyton Manning touchdown pass from the Launch parking lot. We will never forget the lessons learned. We will always cherish our time here. We thank each and every company we had the good fortune to work with and we invite you all to our new space opening in January. Thanks and Happy New Year!