Ron May Follow Up

I will both begin and end this with a Thank you, as odd that may seem. Let me start with thanking you for putting my name in the response so many times. You wisely ferreted out that the true motive for knockNOW! was to increase my name count in TMR. I was feeling left out.

On a serious note, this was not a personal attack on you, nor was it intended to be derived that way. I was giving my humble opionion that your report is potentially doing more harm than good. How is continually reporting about layoffs at companies promoting the City, or better yet, expanding the knowledge of the local tech community?

I agree with you that 70 companies with over $10 million of funding in Chicago is not a good track record. However, what do we do about it? What can we learn from those companies? That was my point. I am more interested in WHY these companies failed than the fact that they did. X number of people lost their job gets a bit old.

I would be really curious on a journalistic piece about the number of companies in San Francisco who received over $10 million. How many made it? What would the impact in Chicago be if more seed money went in to get companies to the stage to raise more money? What if it was 700 and not 70 local companies with funding? Would we have had more successes?

Additionally, what do you define as an Internet company? If Click Commerce (1995) does not count in your mind, how does Lante or MarchFirst (formerly Whitman Hart) count? Both of those have been around longer than CKCM. Does Yahoo not count because they have been around since 1994 or so? When did the Internet revolution start in your mind? Was it only in the last 18 months? Again, not an attack, just the type of questions I look for. Why would the success of Click, Archapelego, or Prime Advantage not count? Because they have been around too long? Mature companies are what we are looking for. This is who has the experience, contacts and credibility. Now, if a couple of these companies would pop out a few executives with a couple hundred million, we might all be further along. That’s what happens on the west coast.

That’s what happened with us. Mark Tebbe stepped up as a local entrepreneur and invested in our company along with a few others. Are there other local investments by our tech leaders we don’t know about? If there are, why hasn’t anyone written about them? This would local leaders supporting local companies.

I hope our relationship is not strained, and in my mind it is not. I just felt it was more prudent to be cautious with the first event of knockNOW! We needed to gauge the interest of the community see if they would be committed to this type of organization. With all of the noise that currently exists, I needed to make sure we could cut through it and people would want to listen.

If anything Ron, you should appreciate the “Do it first, and then talk about it!” mentality as opposed to running around telling everyone how great something is going to be. If what we were trying to do got out too early, it would have been counter productive.

As it turns out, this information has already opened up a flood of requests from service providers who feel this would be the perfect group to present and sell their wares. Though we like and appreciate all of the service vendors, this event was not designed for that. As soon as we change, the very people we are trying to attract would once again disappear.

Therefore, this was not a gratuitous attack on you as is surmised. It was instead an open letter to the City of things as a whole I think we can improve upon. We love this city and all that comes with it, however I feel we can improve.

Do you serve a place? Sure. Could you be more productive with the journalism? In my opionion, yes.

The comment about “creative” editing was not meant to slight you; it was designed to give you the liberty to shorten the Magna Carta that I presented. I appreciate the fact you did not. Additionally, I thought you were tempered and tame from your normal self in the coverage of knockNOW! thus for both I thank you as well.

In closing, I don’t feel Ron, you are “out to get me”. I do however feel that both Brad and Darcy have done more positive stories and looked for the greater good in this current environment. The point is, this is not about “me”. This is about the tech. community we are all a part of, the City, our friends, and our desire to be successful.

We chose one small step to try and make a difference. Is this the right answer, we don’t know? At least we are doing something!!

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