At Founders and Funders this week we took some time to interview Dan Debow. It was a bit of a love-in I admit but that is just because I really love how much passion Dan has for helping those around him. He has made a big difference in a lot of people’s lives. I’ve benefitted from it and so have dozens of others in the Canadian startup community.
One thing that Dan said really struck me. A little context might help though.
A lot of folks have been working hard to build a startup ecosystem in Toronto. For over half a decade guys like Dan have been pouring energy in to helping anyone with an idea and a glimmer in their eye to start a startup. There are of course formal organizations that do this on behalf of the government, but the fact is that making Toronto a viable city for startups has been a mostly clandestine movement. People working on the fringes to do what they believe in.
Sometimes you hear complaints about the ecosystem. Whether it is Toronto, Montreal, Calgary, Edmonton, Vancouver or Halifax you can find complainers.
“How can we fix the local ecosystem?”
Dan said it best this week and he was clearly passionate about it: You can’t fix your ecosystem. Just get out there and build something great. More accurately he said:
That’s your job. Your only job. Get out there and build something great.
You can stop being shy, coy and tepid about it. Everyone around you wants you to do something great. They just want you to step up a little and say you are going to do it.
I want you to do something great. I want you to put a ding in the fucking universe.
Take your vision and make it even hairier, bolder and broader. Take your product and get obsessed with it. Change the world for people around you and every single one of us will step in line and push behind you.
Dan did it and this week we got to shine the spotlight on him a bit. There are hundreds of folks out there pushing to do it. Stop worrying about the community. Go big and the community will be right there behind you.
The next time we plan a Founders and Funders I want it to be you that’s up there telling your story.
You can be next. JFDI.