by Henry Curtis – YPAL Member
On August 8, I attended the fourth installment of YPAL’s Developing Louisville series. This wonderfully informative event dealt with the creation of startups in our city and featured a panel of noteworthy figures from the local technology community.
One issue mentioned during the session was that Louisville’s business culture is more risk averse than that of other places. This leads many local graduates to choose “safe” corporate jobs over founding or working for startups.
In response to this, one of the panelists commented that educators need to assure their students that entering the startup world is a valid career option. I strongly agree.
The panelist added that teachers can start by reminding pupils that every company was once a startup. This is an excellent point.
Although I believe that more students should embrace entrepreneurship, I at the same time concur with a countervailing assertion that also was made: while encouraging students to consider startups, educators must not hide the fact that opening such businesses involves plenty of risk and a steep learning curve. One entrepreneur in the audience compared running a startup to earning an MBA.
Over the course of the event, I heard much information that I already knew. Additionally, however, I learned things that surprised me.
For example, in Silicon Valley, hopping from startup job to startup job is not necessarily seen as negative. Likewise, leaving a startup and later being rehired is not unheard of.
Another eye-opening piece of information I encountered was that tech workers in other cities might spend only five hours a day on site but are expected to check in with work until late at night. This arrangement is not yet common in Louisville but could become the wave of the future as mobile technology continues to improve.
Something else that surprised me was two different panelists’ revelation that they all but ignore interviewees’ technical certifications. Since certifications are temporary, they do not impress employers as much as people might think.
During the session, someone stated that there are five or so startup accelerators in Louisville. I hope that the existence of these and many other sources of support will persuade local would-be entrepreneurs to start up.
ABOUT THE SERIES
This event was part of Developing Louisville, an ongoing technology series hosted by YPAL. The final session in the series will be held on October 28 and will explore the subject of “Growing & Staying in Louisville.” Visit ypal.org/events for more information.
Henry Curtis is a Code Louisville Fellow and has been a YPAL member since 2013. When he is not working on computer programs, he enjoys practicing Spanish and Chinese.