Friday, December 23, 2022

The Rise of the Rest: How Entrepreneurs in Surprising Places are Building the New American Dream (Steve Case)

Steve Case made his mark as one of the cofounders of AOL in the 1990’s, eventually becoming a venture capitalist and investor. Over the past decade, Case has spearheaded bus tours of a number of mid-sized cities throughout America to help promote innovation and venture capital for startup companies in parts of the country that typically are not known for technological innovation. He chronicles his journeys over the past decade in The Rise of the Rest: How Entrepreneurs In Surprising Places Are Building the New American Dream.

Case breaks his book down into small stories and case studies into areas of America where innovation is taking place outside of the “known” hubs of Silicon Valley, New York, and Boston. In each of these examples, Case offers insight into how these communities have supported and cultivated innovation, providing the incubation for startups to grow to scale. Case highlights several examples of companies his group invested in through his bus tours and pitch competitions, highlighting what factors guided the decisions to award them money.

The book spends very little time highlighting the “secret sauce” that cities should strive for in becoming hubs for regional innovation. That sauce, if you’re wondering, is a combination of corporate, government, and community support and money. While Case spends much of the book talking about some of the nation’s successful innovation cities, I think more attention could have been paid to discuss how more national investment to the local level would be useful, along with how larger companies and the federal government could help level up the Pittsburghs and Salt Lake Citys of the world.