Mark Randall is a serial entrepreneur, investor and Chief Strategist at Adobe. His career conceiving, designing and marketing innovative technology spans nearly twenty years and three successful high-tech start-ups. He has fielded over a dozen world-class products which combined have sold over a million units, generated over $100 million in sales and won a total of 15 Products of the Year, 12 Best of NAB, 7 Best of Comdex, 2 PC Magazine Technical Excellence awards, and one Emmy award.
There are not many as well accomplished as Mark. We’re delighted to have him involved with SARTA and happy to have him in our own backyard– he resides right up the 50 corridor in Folsom. This month, Mark will present a SARTA seminar on disruptive methods of starting companies (see Lean Startups: Radical New Ways to Build Your Business Faster and Stronger). While prepping for that, he shared his thoughts with us about Sacramento’s entrepreneurial ecosystem, how it’s progressed over the years, and what is to come. We’re pleased to share those thoughts with you in Mark’s guest blog post.
Posted by Guest Blogger, Mark Randall, serial entrepreneur, investor and Chief Strategist at Adobe
Sacramento is a bit like a “startup suburb” to the bay area and there are a lot of advantages to that, including lower costs, more available talent, a less frenetic pace and higher quality of life. Sacramento-based entrepreneurs can do three bay area meetings in one day and still be home in time for a bike ride along the American River before dinner. Inexpensive technologies like HD video conferencing and screen sharing are shrinking the gaps between cities around the world, including the I80 corridor between Sacramento and the bay area. Where you are is becoming less important than what you can create.
I’ve spent time in both startup communities. There used to be a disparity in the level of talent between the two regions. That’s now started to shift dramatically and I think Sacramento could reach parity this year. I’ve done guest lecturing on entrepreneurship at both UC Davis and Sac State. These programs now offer the same quality information as entrepreneurial programs at Stanford and Berkeley. Programs like SARTA and the Sacramento Entrepreneurship Academy are doing great things unique to this region. Networking events and startup meet-ups are increasing and hacker spaces are starting to open. World-class startup knowledge, resources, vendors and mentors are now available in Sacramento.
In fact, Sacramento now has everything necessary to launch local startups into orbit except one. There aren’t enough locals who want to be startup entrepreneurs. While there are more Sacramento startups now preparing to launch than ever before, it’s still not the same as the valley where startups are the cool thing to do and every barista has an elevator pitch. That’s actually an advantage for Sacramento startups because it’s easier to get attention and help here. There’s a virtuous circle that built the valley startup culture. Startups there succeeded and created wealth for entrepreneurs and investors. Those people then put that capital and experience to work creating new startups. That virtuous circle is reaching critical mass right now in Sacramento, but where are the beginner entrepreneurs? Successful entrepreneurs aren’t special or different. They’re simply ordinary people with extraordinary dreams and the faith to believe in themselves. Sacramento already has a lot of those people but too many are still standing on the sidelines of life. The coaches, trainers and equipment are here and waiting. It’s time to suit up and get in the game.
– Mark Randall
Mark blogs at http://www.markrandall.com