Boulder and Denver, a Mile High Sibling Rivalry
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Now, it’s all pretty friendly, really.
And there are some who are trying to smooth the path. Jim Franklin, CEO of SendGrid and Bart Lorang, CEO of FullContact, both could have decided to set up shop anywhere, but both of them chose Denver for their offices even though both live in Boulder. I live in Denver, but our BlogMutt HQ is in Boulder so I come up most days. So does Luke Beatty, the new managing director of TechStars, who told me he finds this whole rivalry “totally obnoxious.”
The current round of construction on the Turnpike certainly doesn’t help. It looks like an actual DMZ right now.
The good thing about the rivalry
Boulder has run a couple of Startup Weeks now. They are terrific events with hundreds of folks participating in a nice variety of events. A few people will meet a few new people, but in general the crowd is remarkably similar to the line you’ll see at the Chipotle on Pearl Street on any given weekday.
Denver decided that it needed to up the game, so it started its own Startup Week. They decided to involve the Powers That Be in Denver. Those powers, it turns out, are essentially one person, Tami Door, CEO of the Downtown Denver Partnership. With her involvement, a bunch of others came on board and suddenly the kick-off luncheon had the mayor (who is, you know, a mayor with actual power) and a fantastic speaker held in a world-class performing arts center and was attended by about a thousand people. The week overall had more than 3,500 people participate. The only day you get 3,500 Boulderites together for one event is April 20th.
The Denver organizers wanted it to be better than Boulder’s event. They succeeded to such a degree that they ended up making Denver Startup Week the biggest and best Startup Week event in the country.
That’s why this tension can be a good thing.
So again, welcome. Now you know the lay of the land.