In years to come, residents of Manchester may look back on May 24, 2012, as the day the Silicon Millyard was born.
More than three hundred business enthusiasts packed downtown Manchester for the first-ever abi Innovation Hub Party at Arms. They were treated to food from local restaurants, music from Boston-based The Wandas and a keynote address from Noah Everett, founder of Twitpic.
During his talk, Everett, who is only 27, challenged the audience to make a difference in the world. Twitpic exploded on the international scene after a passenger on US Airways Flight 1549 took a photo of the plane in the Hudson River. It was after this pivotal moment that Everett realized his site was not just about sharing pictures but was a way to pass along crucial information.
This organic growth allowed Everett to bootstrap the company and never take a dime of venture capital (VC) money. He told budding entrepreneurs to avoid VC money if possible, as doing such will give you more control over your business.
He advised those in attendance not to wait for change to happen but to initiate it. Everett doesn’t want people to just change the world. He wants them to change the universe. He said that while some industries need extensive schooling, starting a business is about sheer passion.
“At my company we having a saying: attitude over experience, experience over education,” said Everett, who graduated high school at 15.
Kyle York, Dyn Chief Revenue Officer and chair of the board for the abi, echoed Everett’s sentiments about getting involved.
“Don’t sit back on the sidelines and wait for this ecosystem to form and thrive,” York said. “Be a part of it from the ground up.”
Everett was the ideal speaker for the evening because like those in Manchester, he is trying to create a startup ecosystem in his city, Charleston, South Carolina.
He said that you know you’ve succeeded in creating a startup ecosystem when people in your city are starting to use VC buzz words, have some sort of a Silicon nickname (hence the Silicon Millyard) and there are plenty of hipsters. Looks like Manchester has two out of three. Come on, hipsters!
“Talk about a game changing event,” said Jamie Coughin, CEO and Entrepreneur-in-Residence at the abi Innovation Hub. “With an incredible turnout of 350 people, I would say we have definitely struck a nerve. People are excited to finally see some outside the box, innovative thinking and we delivered. We, the abi, are living the same entrepreneurial spirit we profess daily.”
The event was a fundraiser for the abi Innovation Hub, which is dedicated to helping startups receive the most resources possible.