In 2014, Steve Case launched the Rise of the Rest, a multi-stop cross-country road trip to meet entrepreneurs where they are all across America. He began a journey to better understand the startup communities that exist throughout the nation and are core to the American dream. Invention is a key part of Steve Case’s own story, including as a co-founder of AOL, a company that was the top-performing stock of the 1990s that revolutionized access to the internet. Now, he is embarking on another tour, this time to promote the stories of entrepreneurs and cities he profiled because of this multi-year tour. The Rise of the Rest: How entrepreneurs in surprising places are building the new American dream tells the story of a different kind of connection, the one that comes with being part of a local ecosystem that encourages innovation and entrepreneurship within your local community. Phoenix is one of the cities mentioned within his new book, which is currently a Wall Street Journal and USA Today bestseller.
In case you missed it, here is how Steve and his team at his investment firm Revolution made the most of the day in Phoenix:
Coffee and conversation hosted with the J. Orin Edson Entrepreneurship + Innovation Institute at ASU, the Greater Phoenix Economic Council and StartupAZ. This event was not only an opportunity to talk about the book and engage as a community, but also served as a reunion of sorts for many entrepreneurs and business leaders who were involved in supporting our entrepreneurial environment during Steve Case’s 2016 visit on the Rise of the Rest tour. So much growth, development, and connection has happened since; for many this was a special opportunity to reconnect and celebrate.
An interview with local media was followed by a quick lunch in the Flip Kitchen, part of ASU’s Fusion on First community. Named for its location on First Avenue in Downtown Phoenix and its fusion of arts, design and entrepreneurship, Fusion on First offers a way to engage students interested in those programs and provides connections to creative entrepreneurship opportunities.
On the first floor of Fusion on First, students led the conversation with Steve Case during an interactive Q&A session with a book signing that followed. Talia Massi, a Senior studying Sports Journalism, had the opportunity to co-host this discussion. A current Venture Devil, she shared that Steve offered great advice for those who are trying to grow their big idea. His experience and tenacity from creating AOL was inspiring. Her biggest takeaway from the event was “that despite the skepticism he received and heard about the future of the internet, he still ran with his idea and ultimately was very successful. Listen to those who doubt you but use it as motivation to continue to pursue your idea”.
Lance Lim, a graduate student with the Thunderbird School of Global Management who also attended the event shared that conversations around accepting change and being open to transition were really encouraging. This insight was helpful for Lance to build confidence that he’s taking the ‘right steps’ to improve his future. Encouraging comfort with risk and exploring the world around us as lifelong learners were other takeaways from the lively conversation.
Following a brief carpool, the Revolution team and Steve Case joined for one last conversation at the ASU Tempe campus. Kristin Slice, the Community Director for Edson E+I, lead the mostly student audience in discussion around what it means to build a community and learned more specific lessons through his business career. For Kristin, important outcomes, also visible on the pages of Steve Case’s new book, included:
- Most jobs, and opportunity for others, are created by new businesses, specifically those under 5 years old
- You can be a successful high-growth founder anywhere
- Phoenix has all the potential and is already a great city of entrepreneurs
As a member of our community, we encourage you to continue to take advantage of the potential of our place. Steve Case has been focused on making things easier for the next generation of entrepreneurs. Edson E+I is similarly committed to this goal and being an accessible resource for your ideas at any stage.
Please join us at an upcoming community event, browse the Training and Development Resource to further your own knowledge, or tell us what you’re up to so that we can help tell your story. Email us any time at [email protected] or visit entrepreneurship.asu.edu for more information.