The state of entrepreneurship in Maine

Across the city of Portland (Maine, not the other one) startup founders, investors and innovators of every color are meeting this week for Maine Startup and Create Week. This weeklong event offers a respite for entrepreneurs who are finally emerging from their home offices to build relationships and explore what it means to be a creative entrepreneur in this unique place.

Our co-founder, designer, hacker, autodidact, and entrepreneurial unicorn, Sam Mateosian is also one of the founding members of Maine Startup and Create Week, which kicked off June 20th and is now in full swing.

Sam shared his perspective on the Maine startup community in a video recorded during the conference with Knack Factory.

Many Mainers can relate to the dramatic perspective change Sam experienced after a recent working sabbatical. Sam spent his 3 month sabbatical living and working in Silicon Valley. Being in the eye of the startup storm helped Sam realize that stretching ideas further and taking bigger risks is a necessity to building something truly innovative.

Watch the entire video interview with Sam Mateosian:


"My name is Sam Mateosian, I am a co-founder at Big Room Studios which is a web and mobile design and development firm in Portland.

I think a lot about how do I accomplish the things I'm trying to accomplish while living in Maine. One of the experiments that I ran over the last couple of years, is I took a sabbatical from my business where I spent 3 months in Silicon Valley, working on the idea and talking to people there. and trying to get a feel for what the vibe was like there versus what the vibe is like here.

One of my big takeaways about the community in Maine is that a lot of the people and a lot of the organizations that I was working with and a lot of the businesses I thought were, relative to what I saw in California, limited to smaller thinking.

And so I really came back with a renewed vigor around thinking larger, taking bigger risks, being less afraid. I think that's played out in an interesting way in Maine. I think at first people react initially with a "whoa!" but then when they see the effects and when they see a couple examples of the risks turning into rewards then their thinking starts to change.

I saw that in our own work while trying to revive the Mechanics Institute which is a 20 year old organization. So their approach and thinking about the organization was definitely old fashioned, and outdated. They were afraid to try some new things. So I along with a group of us, pushed them in a much more modern direction and thinking bigger, and all of this fresh energy started to flow into the organization. Everyone said "oh wow, this is really nice!" And we saw that people were receptive to it but they need a little push.


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