Insights: Some Thoughts on Branding Startups and Communities

In our Insights and Opinions section, we try to feature interesting thoughts, opinions, advice, and more from the local community. Earlier this week, Brad Feld, a venture capitalist who is well known for his work on TechStars, investments, and for his frequent blogging and speaking engagements, commented on the Los Angeles area using the term Silicon Beach. Mark Suster, a venture capitalist at GRP Partners, and frequent blogger and host of This Week In Venture Capital, added his own thoughts, which we're reprinting here (with his permission).

Brad Feld visited Los Angeles this past week. I always enjoy spending time with Brad as the antidote to the eco chamber. He is a unique human being with original thoughts & ideas and very limited concern for having to fit into other people's narratives.

And I've always remembered a quote from high school, "Non Conformity is the Highest Form of Social Attainment.” That always stuck with me. That seems very Brad to me. It's what I strive to.

We threw a Launchpad LA dinner to bring the community together as we tend to do 6-10 times a year. Brad was our guest of honor. After a great 30-minute talk he took questions. Somebody asked the question, "What do you think about the term ‘Silicon Beach?” It was not a planted question by me. My views are pretty well known.

Brad wrote up his answer here – you should read it because it's very instructive for how I believe communities ought to think about naming conventions.

In his blog he says,

"I responded that I thought it was stupid. I hate Silicon Whatever. LA should be LA."

Many people on the Westside of Los Angeles are using the term Silicon Beach these days to describe the amazing renaissance that is truly happening here. That's OK with me. But I think Brad actually has a point. I kind of think LA is just LA and doesn't need some clever marketing term. (Continued...)

Read the rest of Mark Suster's opinions at Some Thoughts on Branding Startups and Communities.