The answer is that Michigan is a perfect spot to launch new, entrepreneurial companies!
Answer by Josh Linkner:
I’ve built three technology startups in Michigan and have had tremendous success. My most recent company, ePrize (www.ePrize.com) went on to become the dominant player in our industry. We have about 350 creative-class team members and the company is doing great after 11 years of growth.
While there are some challenges, we have amazing talent in the region, low costs, great work-ethic, and it is easy to stand out compared to either coast.
I believe Michigan is in a perfect spot to launch new, entrepreneurial companies. In fact, I just launched a new VC fund this month, Detroit Venture Partners. Along with Dan Gilbert and Brian Hermelin, we are investing in seed and early-stage technology companies to help rebuild the region through entrepreneurship.
All the right ingredients exist in Michigan for entrepreneurial success. We just need to tie them together with some connective tissue.
Day 8: Got snowed in today after the car slid back down Platt Rd (route #1) and Packard (route #2). But there isn’t a snowstorm big enough yet to stop a woman on a mission to spread generosity! While working from home I saw these folks outside delivering packages and (realizing that I did not have time to make them each a cup of hot cocoa) grabbed some of my best tea so that they could keep warm back at home base or back at home. Chasing down UPS trucks for the win!
Day 7: Ran into Dan and Greg who I have seen around town and really admired for sticking around through warm and cold weather. Took the time to learn about them…both are working and (though just getting by) could not be happier with life and the warm weather. They kept the smiles I gave them and promised to pass on the dollar to someone else in greater need!! Loving that generosity is being passed onwards. (Yesterday 3/11/14)
Day 6: I know what it is like to hit rock bottom after a break up, to feel my stomach and heart sink after noticing a key difference and wondering about what a life together would look like. I was sitting with Rashmi and I could feel my heart breaking as I listened to Kayoon who sat down at the table next to us relaying her heartaches to her friends. I was going to save the candle and hearts, but I whipped out my permanent marker and wrote what words my girls have said which have helped me most. “You are strong.” “You will light up the life of a guy who is 10x better and who loves you for who you are. For you he will be a better man. Things may not be 100% perfect all the time, but there will be love to heal strong words.”
Day 5: Went to Starbucks early this morning with Chelsea. As she studied and I worked on Warmilu the Starbucks filled up with people and these two girls came in and could not find chairs. I could hear one of the girls saying, as she looked around the Starbucks, “I knew this would happen and we should not have come here!” So tadah! Chelsea and I gave up our chairs so they could have somewhere to sit and work.
I knew what it was like to come into that Starbucks and not find any empty seats. In fact, that happened one of the times I had gone there with an amazing mentor only to find that this Starbucks was full. Couldn’t have been happier to share some seats with these ladies.
Day four was very random! I saw a sign shaker standing on a street corner wearing a smiling bee costume but their head was low and their body posture was anything but happy. Pulled over and wrote “You are un bee lievable!” on some plastic hearts I grabbed after today’s bridal shower. Turns out that these silly hearts and pun brightened Michelle’s day. We talked about some of my background after she saw my business card and I hope she has the opportunity to go back to school like she intends to do!
Day 3 was all about doing something out of the ordinary. Writing takes ten times longer than typing something up….but it produced a much more personal letter! Addressed the letter to my dad to let him know how Buddy and I are doing in Ann Arbor.
Sending an email is nice but this gave my parents a nice personal item that they passed to one another, all smiles, and posted to the fridge back at home.
Day 2: I met Erik Poppe today who has been homeless for 4 years. After being kicked out at 17 and dropping out of high school, Erik came to Ann Arbor. Thank goodness for the Delonis Shelter and their phone…that is how he finally stepped up and called financial aid who graciously provided a Pell Grant to cover his tuition when he was accepted into WCC. His backpack, a weight bearing his (unwashed) clothing and textbooks, were a testament to the challenges he was overcoming. I learned about his life and his next big step: trying to get a job and a phone. He could not call potential job interviewers back in time and he couldn’t even keep in touch with friends and family and he couldn’t be as helpful of a student teammate for projects or papers and he cannot even verify his ID on any sites requiring SMS verification. Today, to help a stranger, I walked him over to the nearest phone shop (AT&T) and got him a prepaid phone with 200 min so he could better pursue job opportunities. I will email him in two weeks to see his progress in job hunting and final exams.
This is James, from the AT&T shop who helped get the prepaid phone into working order. He broke the news about what happened in the alleyway next to the shop where someone jumped from the parking structure earlier today. It stopped me and made me wonder what else I could do to be generous, something that I could do to help me touch the lives of people who are in similar bad life situations who might be considering similar jumps.