“You might not have heard about it, but Indiana’s killing it in software and tech. We’re growing like crazy.”
That’s what I said this morning at my out-of-state coffee meeting. This is the same level of enthusiasm with which I share our tech growth story every time I tell it. Whether I’m in Silicon Valley, DC, or Kansas City—I always deliver our Hoosier story with confidence and conviction.
And the story is usually met with intrigue and excitement. But this morning was different.
“We’re growing like crazy,” I said.
“Well… until now,” the guy on the other side of the table replied. His words slapped me across the face. My blood pressure started to raise and my first reaction was to tell him he was wrong. But part of me felt like I deserved it.
The past several days have been difficult for people living in Indiana. The Indiana Religious Freedom Restoration Act (RFRA) has generated a violent storm of negative attention for the state we call home. The new law communicates a set of values that my community and I just don’t support.
“But I didn’t do this,” I thought to myself. “I didn’t write the damn bill. And I sure as hell didn’t vote for it.”
But I still feel responsible. I’m proud of how my friends, mentors, and fellow founders from Verge nation have spoken out and taken action regarding RFRA.
The best parts of Indiana were built on the values of inclusion, openness, and service. That’s why Verge supports an #OpenIndiana and will always be #OpenForService.
We’re going to stay focused on building the kind of state we want to live in. And what we want is to keep Indiana open—open to new ideas, people, perspectives, and business. My hope is that our government will take action and I’m encouraged to see that it appears they’re taking this matter seriously.
I’m hopeful that new legislation is proposed and implemented quickly to fix these RFRA and perception issues. In the meantime, let’s continue to celebrate the diversity of our community.
I know you’ll join me in sharing the stories of the people from our #OpenIndiana that are—and always have been—#OpenForService. The Indiana I know cares. The Indiana I know is open and growing.
So, how did I respond to my friend this morning at coffee?
I took a breath, looked him in the eye and said, “Just wait. You’ll see.”