Smart Up Start Ups in Lexington

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BY DR. NICK KOUNS

 

I came upon this article on Twitter, referencing an article by Lexington’s Fark.com founder Drew Curtis about tech startups in Lexington, Kentucky. I could relate to both Ace’s editorial and the original article that it references.

In addition to having a  medical business, I also own part of a start-up company out in Pleasanton, California. One of my sisters used to live in Silicon Valley. As it turns out, most of their friends and neighbors had all jumped in on the tech revolution and had bought and sold some pretty big names out there.

Meg Whitman had a house 2 doors down, the owner of Brocade lived across the street….it was odd.  But as I got to know some of these folks, (they were all pretty much around my age), I realized that people are pretty much the same everywhere. They have kids, they get drunk at Halloween parties, they’re all interesting.

I’d met some friends out there during my frequent visits to my sister. (I was a medical resident during the time and used to moolight for WEEKS trying to save some cash to fly out there. She had a Ferrari and I was tooling around in a Ford Escort without air conditioning).

Over dinner, this guy (Tom Fristoe) was working on another startup.  He named in ‘Tentoe’ because he was a surfer. Apparently, ‘Ten Toe’ is a surfing maneuver that’s pretty difficult to master. As an amateur surfer, he took enormous pleasure in having mastered the trick. I’d met Tom and his wife on several previous occasions and found him to be someone cool to hang out with. One night he was talking about this idea he’d had–he wanted to start this great service-oriented online business. When he told me what he wanted to call it and WHY…well, It just sounded cool. One thing led to another and today, I find myself the 15th investor of what has since become SellPoint, Inc.


Nick Kouns with John Lackey at AceBestofLex

My point is that the folks that I met out THERE smack dab in the middle of Silicon Valley remind me of a lot of the folks I hang out with HERE in Lexington. The ideas are the same, the experiences are the same, and the community RESOURCES are the same. Events like last weekend’s Ace Best of Lex in the Distillery District and the JustFund soiree at Legends’ field were variations of just about every party or event I’d ever attended with my Silicon Valley business partners.

And Drew’s right — it IS a lot like your friend telling you that he/she wants to get out and meet somebody, and then proceeds to watch TiVo’d recordings of The Golden Girls all night.

What gives me hope? Things like the ‘Now What Lexington’ Summit– that gives me hope,  people like Vice-mayor Jim Gray running for mayor; people like Ben Self;  people like Drew Curtis; independent media like Ace Weekly.

And John Morgan and Linda Carroll. And Tom Yates and Michael Miller.  People like Diane Lawless, Kelly Flood, and Robbie Morgan. Bob Morgan, Phillip March Jones,  and Louis Bickett, Allison Kaiser, and Stephanie Pevec. People like Joe Ferrell and Sheila Ferrell. People like Summerfest’s Joe Artz and Trish Clark. David O’Neill and Chris Dennison. Jennifer Herzog, Kim Dixon,  Donna Smith. People upon people and person after person. Startups, one and all. Arts. Finance. Non-profits. Media. Technology. Politics.

Silicon Valley does not have any intellectual capital that you can’t find in Lexington, Kentucky.

Drew Curtis will kick off the University of Kentucky/ICTCoLab Tech Week on October 18 at 7 pm at the Student Center Ballroom.

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