Four Ways to Build a Better Ecosystem for Tech Startups in San Diego


Through all the ups and downs of building TakeLessons over the past eight years, I can say with certainty that San Diego’s ecosystem for tech startups is better now than I’ve ever seen it.

That said, we have reached a crucial juncture. Our entrepreneurial community can either take San Diego to the next level by doubling down on our assets and honing in on issues we need to improve, or accept our reputation as a beautiful city defined primarily by the sun, surf, and coastal lifestyle.

If we choose to build instead of “coasting,” I can see four areas that should be addressed in the near term, to benefit our city’s startup ecosystem:

Change Our Attitude

What we in San Diego need to focus on first and foremost is our attitude. We need to live and breathe a startup mindset. Anything worthwhile is always created twice: First, in our minds; and second, in reality. As members of San Diego’s entrepreneurial community, we must choose whether to focus on the challenges we face, or on actually making it happen by taking advantage of the strengths we have and moving forward, despite our challenges.

It is up to us to make this change first. Inner victories always precede outer victories. Only by being in the right frame of mind will we see the manifestations of our city’s true potential emerge. This is the fundamental key to shaping our reality and our future. By changing our attitude into that of a can-do city, we will begin to change the lens through which we view the world. Only then will we be able to influence the perception of how the rest of the world views San Diego.

Envision our Future

San Diego’s community and tech leaders all want to see our city’s emerging tech scene continue its explosive growth. The key to doing this is to first have a clear vision—we want to make innovation a key political, economic, and social initiative that shapes San Diego’s future.

With a unified voice, we should all strive to forego our egos and surface the best ideas that can help us move forward. In addition to working on our own agendas, there needs to be space for all of us to work on initiatives, narratives, events, and plans that support the greater good of the ecosystem.

Address our Weaknesses

San Diego has numerous challenges, real and perceived. One of the foremost challenges I’ve heard from VCs is the “lack of talent” perception: investors don’t think it is possible to … Next Page »

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Steven Cox is a veteran entrepreneur who is the founder and CEO of San Diego-based, an online marketplace that matches students with the best private instructors. Follow @Steven_Cox

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