Johnson Cook

Atlanta tech investor. Entrepreneur.

Johnson Cook - Atlanta tech investor. Entrepreneur.

Invisible Barriers to Innovation


When discussing the Atlanta Startup Rainforest we like to promote that our local economy has all the right ingredients for a great innovation ecosystem. No doubt, we certainly do have all the right ingredients.

Then why are we not already a Top 10, 5, or Top 3 innovation community?  It’s because we have the right ingredients, but we haven’t yet built the right system for them to connect.

Rainforest Axiom #3: What we typically think of as free markets are actually not that free.

Here we mean that for some reason, the human connections that need to happen for ideas, capital, and talent to turn into startups aren’t happening at the same velocity as in other cities. There are barriers.  Something or some things are restricting the flow.   What are they, Atlanta?

Social? Are there class differences that keep people apart?

Geography? Is our sprawl issue really so bad that it is the reason more entrepreneurs don’t meet each other? That investors aren’t bumping into the right teams and ideas more often? That talented developers and executives aren’t connecting with startup teams more regularly?

Politics? Are politics keeping certain groups from connecting, mingling, and sharing ideas?

Whatever the barriers are, for some reason they are creating transaction costs for innovation in Atlanta high-enough that more of it isn’t happening.  I don’t have the answers to these big questions, but hope if we keep asking the question “Why aren’t we already …fill-in-the-blank)…”  then we will find the path to a vibrant innovation hub. Let’s help the resources of talent, ideas, and capital flow more freely.




Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *