Lately I’ve been thinking a lot about the value of media players in an ecosystem. We (Atlanta) are finding our stride when it comes to events. We are getting the “community centers,” or “clusters” or whatever you want to call them in high gear. We also are tracking the right things to measure our progress. One key part that I think we need to focus on is the importance of the media.
People need to know what is going on. Knowing about the events. Knowing about the progress: exits, fundraises, product updates, big hires, new markets…. getting the word out is important.
We do a fairly good job of what I’ll call “internal” knowledge. This mainly comes from a handful of active bloggers and now a healthy Twitterverse conversation. But what strong media companies can do is so much more powerful. It’s about bringing new people into the community that aren’t already participating.
When I was on the Atlanta Tech Edge TV show in August, a local Atlantan saw the show and learned for the first time about the Atlanta Tech Village. This guy happened to be Joe Gebbia Sr., whose son, Joe Jr. is the co-founder of AirBnB A San Francisco based startup recently valued at $2.5 BILLION (!?) and has 650+ employees, now in only it’s 6th year. Joe Sr. called the Village to say that his son will be in town and he’d like to bring him by to see the place and maybe even speak to the community. He did, we hosted him at a Startup Chowdown, and his stories about AirBnB and his personal journey from $200/week existence to riding one of the hottest rocket ships around inspired a ton of Atlanta entrepreneurs. I still hear today from folks how that little chat fired them up.
This is a great example of how broad reach can bring meaningful traction to a community. I think Atlanta Tech Edge and the Atlanta Business Chronicle are doing a great job, but I think there is much more opportunity to tell the story of the Atlanta tech community than just these two organizations can deliver.
Mark my words, there’s an opportunity here somewhere and Urvaksh can’t be everywhere… nor do we really want to clone him.