Information Patterns for Building Successful Start-up Ecosystems

Rachel Aliana
3 min readNov 15, 2021


City skyline:

The magic of Silicon Valley is not contained within its roads and sidewalks. Rather it is stored in the schemas, social networks, and information maps of the people within this space that together form a productive and supportive ecosystem for entrepreneurs.

Yet it is possible to build strong, resilient information ecosystems where entrepreneurship can thrive, even outside of Silicon Valley. To uncover the magic of how to build these magic spaces, it demands seeing entrepreneurship in a slightly different way. Entrepreneurs in this light are information gatherers for a sustainable, repeatable model of revenue generation. This information search happens within an ecosystem of customers, competitors, investors, employees, and the entrepreneur’s own mind.

With the entrepreneur as an information gatherer and the world around them as an information ecosystem, it is possible to use information patterns to make a founder’s navigation through their entrepreneurship ecosystem more likely to be successful. An information pattern is a repeatable flow of information between people and what is around them, whether this is a person, digital, or physical space.

This book is meant to help people we will call Community Designers, which is anyone involved with developing entrepreneurship programs at their universities, schools, cities, or other communities, have clearer tools for creating successful information ecosystems. Much of what is an information ecosystem lives in people’s heads, their intuition, their friendships, and so changing this infrastructure is especially difficult to be redesigned.

But, I believe if Community Designers can develop stronger information infrastructure within their communities, these patterns can be used to make hundreds of communities outside of Silicon Valley places where potential founders can feel supported in building great, big things. This magic lifts up people and their communities and, I believe, the whole world is better for it.

This book is broken down into six core interaction patterns, developed through extensive interviews with entrepreneurs at several different stages of entrepreneurship at the University of Michigan. Each pattern is broken into the theory behind why the pattern produces productive interactions and the practice to provide Community Managers guidance to implement these patterns in their communities.

Part I: Introduction

Part II: The Landscape Now

Part III: Patterns In Practice

The Pattern of Foundational Selection: Putting Entrepreneurship on the Mental Map

  • The Story of Annika
  • Representation as Successful Evolutionary Path Indicator
  • The Changing Risk-Reward Ratio of Entrepreneurship

The Pattern of Chosen Edges: Fostering Companies That Scale

The Pattern of Paradigm Layers: Building Spaces for Narrowing Unknown Unknowns

The Pattern of Entrepreneurship as Ecosystem: Efficient Navigation

  • The Divergent Stories of Peter and Liam
  • Building Information Maps for Program Leaders: Shared Data, Aligned Goals
  • Building Information Maps for Program Leaders: Resource Maps and Founder Journeys
  • Building Information Maps between Programs and Students Part 2
  • Throughput and A Culture of No Last Steps

The Pattern of Process Loops: Schemas for Non-technical Founders

Part IV: Moving Forward




Rachel Aliana

Interaction Writer and CEO of Adjacent