Johnson Cook

Energized. Seeking perpetual inspiration as entrepreneurial fuel.

Johnson Cook - Energized. Seeking perpetual inspiration as entrepreneurial fuel.

Peachtree City and the Atlanta Tech Village

 

Peachtree CityI mention regularly that my family lives way out in the south side burbs of Atlanta, in Peachtree City, GA. We love it here. People ask me: “When are you moving in town?” And my answer, at least for the next few years is “We can’t imagine living anywhere else.”

Peachtree City (PTC) is also known as the bubble. Some say it reminds them of Stepford, Connecticut.   It’s because PTC is a planned community.  Back in the 60′s and 70′s, some ambitious entrepreneurs recognized that there was a need for a great community south of Atlanta, primarily to support the growing airline community (execs and pilots), since the rest of the booming family-friendly communities in Atlanta were headed north, but Hartsfield Airport was staying firmly located on the south side of town. They made a big bet. The planning is impressive. There are distinctly defined “villages” in Peachtree City. The industrial needs were planned. The parks, lakes, libraries, pools, neighborhoods, streets, recreation centers, and trails were planned. We now have hundreds of miles of recreational trails (fantastic for RUNNING), an amazing amphitheater, 3 fantastic lakes, parks and pools everywhere, and…. well, you get the picture… I’ll get to the point.

At the other end of my daily commute stands the Atlanta Tech Village.  Again, people ask me regularly: “Why don’t you just get an office closer to home?”   And again, my answer is: “I can’t imagine spending my days anywhere else.”    Why?

It’s not the coffee. Not the comfy chairs, fast internet, convenient burritos for lunch, or even Jeff Hilimire.  It’s the community.    The Village is a planned community, just like Peachtree City.  It’s intentional.  Who comes, why they come, how they fit the core values are all intentional.   Other than the other startup incubators, there aren’t any other office communities that are planned like the Village.   The Village is a planned community for businesses.

It’s inspiring to think that 30-40 years after some forward thinking guys started Peachtree City, it still brings so much value to so many people. I hope that in 50 years, the Atlanta Tech Village will still be as strong (whether it’s in the same building or not) and that entrepreneurs and their teams will see value from the work we are doing today.

Read more facts about PTC on the Wikipedia page.

 

 

  • cdheiden

    Great Post. As a fellow southsider in Fayette, I love the area and will deal with the commute. I have looked numerous times to start more of a tech community (coworking) in the area, but would think it could be a great spot.

    • Jeremy Porter

      And the lacrosse is pretty good over in PTC. :-) I’ve been thinking about moving over from Stockbridge for a while.

    • http://www.johnsoncook.com/ Johnson Cook

      You are welcome to try!!! Let me know how I can help. (See my long reply above to the other comment)… I’d support you and drop in occasionally. ;)

  • Steve Brown

    Wonderful insights from Johnson Cook. I want to see us leverage Fayette County into the creation of a tech village-south.

    • TheGreatDanaJ

      That would be wonderful. That area has some great potential! I think things are changing. I’m from Tyrone and I feel like no other areas can compare.

      • http://www.johnsoncook.com/ Johnson Cook

        See long reply above!

    • http://www.johnsoncook.com/ Johnson Cook

      Here goes nothing…
      Being (a) an eternal optimist, (b) a tech entrepreneur who loves Peachtree City and (c) a guy who loves to defy the odds, I’d love to proclaim Fayette Tech Village is bound to happen one day… BUT, I have to go on record saying there’s not a chance that I’ll see it in my lifetime.

      First, take a look at the image below. This is the map from Startup Atlanta of startups and resources for startups. I saw this a year ago and it still tells the same story. Even the northside burbs are splattered with dots, but there isn’t one single spec in Fayette or Coweta County.

      To me, this confirms what I’ve felt like I was noticing at Christmas Parties, at church, at Flat Creek Clubs, kid birthday parties or any time I’ve had the opportunity to meet “working adults” in Peachtree City. There aren’t any entrepreneurs. Everybody down here works for Ma’ Something. Be it Ma’ Delta, or Ma’ Panasonic, or Ma’ NCR. It’s just not here.

      The funny thing to me is, that there aren’t even any Wannaprenuers down here! Even the ones who claim to be fascinated by the entrepreneurial process, will admit at the end of their conversation that they’ll never do anything about it… the 401k is too far vested and the car payments and mortgage are taken care of… no need to consider messing with a good thing.

      I’m not sad about it. Just realize that this is where we live. The plus side of a corporate-job-powered community is a ton of stability. This is why we have such great families here. We have predictable people living predictable lives (and I don’t mean that in a bad way… this time.).
      It is what it is.

      Building the Tech Village in Buckhead has been a great reminder that to create momentum of an ecosystem, it requires massive untapped resources. If the resources aren’t there, waiting, bursting at the seams… then ecosystems are very challenging.

      I love building things in Buckhead and relaxing in Peachtree City. My only one small tiny request is a high speed rail from Peachtree Parkway to Lenox Rd. That’s all I ask…

      • Steve Brown

        Where is your faith, good man! Where were all those dots in 2000? Nowhere in metro Atlanta.

        One thing I have learned in 50 years on the planet is trends happen quickly. We have international business in Fayette already and you are about to see more creative talent come with the movie industry.

        We need to focus on finding our niche. So what should our niche be, Johnson Cook?

        Here is an important land planning lesson: They who have the best quality of life, readily available land and a whopping big international airport when all the others are congested in traffic and watching their negative indicator rise wins …

        Why is there a successful Forsyth County that did not really exist 10 years ago? Because North Fulton and Gwinnett got unbearable. Our turn is coming, so use your influence.

  • http://www.jeffhilimire.com Jeff Hilimire

    Great post, but seriously, you started this with David in the hopes of somehow getting me to come here. I saw it in the business plan.

    • http://www.johnsoncook.com/ Johnson Cook

      Uhhm. Well, uhm. The thing is. Uhhm.