Incoming WARF Managing Director Erik Iverson says Madison can’t compare itself to larger tech hubs like Seattle or Austin.

Instead, Iverson said, Madison’s “very strong” startup ecosystem must continue to develop its own identity.

“Madison is Madison, and there’s so much greatness here,” Iverson said at the Wisconsin Entrepreneurs Conference yesterday. “Be yourselves, and let’s build it together.”

Iverson, who’ll replace Carl Gulbrandsen in July after he retires, was most recently the president of business and operations at the Seattle-based Infectious Disease Research Institute. He’s also worked as life sciences lawyer and was associate general counsel at the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation’s Global Health Program.

Seattle was similar to Madison a couple of decades ago, he said, before the area became home to companies like Amazon or Microsoft.

He said one of the lessons to learn from Seattle’s growth is that it failed to develop a real community. Read the WisBusiness story here.