Information Patterns for 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 and information maps of its founders and their social networks that together form a supportive ecosystem for start-ups to start and grow.

This is a kind of magic that is hard to transport over the internet. For entrepreneurship cannot be fully learned by looking into its past. It is less a body of knowledge to know and more a mental process that shifts continually with the current economic and cultural ecosystems. What worked ten years or even ten months ago might not work in the present moment to create a successful company.

The goal of this book is to look at entrepreneurship through the lens of information ecology to understand how universities can better design their infrastructure and programming to foster productive information ecosystems where entrepreneurship can thrive.

This book is written for Community Information Designers (CIDs). CIDs are anyone at a university, city, or other community, that wants to improve the entrepreneurship ecosystems by changing how information is structured and shared in the spaces around them. CIDs in many ways are similar to urban planners, but whereas urban planners control the built environment, CIDs design for the often invisible information patterns that impact people’s thinking and actions. Information patterns are embedded in people’s social networks, the websites they use, and their mental models of how the world works.

But, if Community Information Designers can develop stronger entrepreneurial information ecosystems within their communities, hundreds more communities can capture Silicon Valley’s magic to become places where founders feel supported in building great, big things.

This book is broken down into six chapters, each of which centers around an information pattern vital for successful entrepreneurs. Each chapter is then broken down into theory and practice. The theory behind why each information pattern produces productive interactions for founders, and the practice to provide Community Information Designers guidance to implement these patterns into the design and programming of their communities.


Part I: Information Patterns

Part II: Patterns In Practice

Foundational Selection: Putting Entrepreneurship on the Mental Map

Chosen Edges: Building Companies That Scale

Layers: Narrowing Unknown Unknowns

Nodes: Efficient Ecosystem Navigation

Effective Schemas: Entrepreneurship as a Loop

Part IV: Moving Forward