The Diamond in the Midwest

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If you’ve been reading my previous posts, you’ll notice a common theme: why Detroit? I think I summed it well in my entrepreneurial gold rush post but I left out a key point: there’s a hidden diamond in the Midwest.

Yes, a diamond is buried in the Midwest. One that is crucial to so many startups but has never really been touted before.

The startup diamond in the Midwest. Chicago, Detroit, Pittsburgh, Cincinnati, Indianapolis.

Connect the dots. Chicago, through Ann Arbor to Detroit, down through Cleveland to Pittsburgh, around the bend through Columbus, north from Cincinnati to Indianapolis, and back to Chicago.

A perfect 5-point diamond… well if drawn by a 5-year old, but you get the point.

Notice, Detroit is at the tip of this diamond, not a coincidence.

So what’s special about this geography? Here’s some juicy stats:

  • 8 of the 25 entrepreneurial colleges (Entreprenuer Magazine)
  • 6 of the top 20 engineering schools including Chicago, Michigan, Carnegie Mellon, Illinois (US News and World Report)
  • 15% of the Fortune 500 is within this diamond. Zoom out an extra ~100 miles around the diamond and you’ll get a staggering 45% of the Fortune 500

Arguably one of the most talented regions in America, churning out the most real, revenue generating businesses. None of these social networks that will “figure it out later”.

Steve Blank - Silicon Valley is out of A players. Don't start your company here, start it in Ann Arbor.

Notice how Ann Arbor is on the edge of that diamond? Steve Blank, a successful entrepreneur, who has written numerous books on the subject, even says to start your company in this Midwest diamond.

Not only that, but you know you’re on to something when the satirical sources poke fun at you.

But it’s not about this region being better than another region.

“The world would be much better if we had 50 more Silicon Valleys” Marc Andreessen, General Partner of Andreessen Horowitz, being interviewed at she++ conference

Well Marc, we’re not trying to be like a coastal valley.

We’re Detroit. We’re rolling up our sleeves and we’re getting to work. This Midwest diamond is about to get real shiny.


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