Atlanta: Play To Your Strengths

Take-away From Inaugural Kevy Connects

It’s no secret to my friends that I don’t like networking. But last night, the inaugural Kevy Connects, brainchild of Brooke the marketing director at Kevy, was a blast.

The videos and brilliant comments about the evolution of cloud technology are recorded on

David Cummings, Michael Cohn, Reggie Bradford and Bill Nussey
David Cummings, Michael Cohn, Reggie Bradford and Bill Nussey

video you can find at Kevy.com, so I won’t recap the fun you can have listening to Michael Cohn of Cloud Sherpas, or Silverpop CEO Bill Nussey (who gave admiration to the “global brand” of Mailchimp even as he underscored Silverpop’s evolution into marketing automation), or David Cummings, one of the East Coast’s top tech visionaries.

Atlanta: World Capital Of B2B Software?

The idea I heard that I liked was that Atlanta should be recognized as a b2b technology center. I think it was Vitrue founder Reggie Bradford who said Atlanta pretty much invented the technology incubator with ATDC, which Forbes ranks among the top 12 incubators  that change the world.  (For a snapshot of Atlanta core strengths—check out Alan Taetle of Noro-Mosely’s summary a couple years ago in FAST COMPANY.)

Cummings made a call for Atlanta, and our region, to be less humble about our achievements.

I try to do just that—my article last month in FAST COMPANY put Pardot’s exit alongside YouTube’s and Tumblr’s, for example, which did earn me a teensy weensy bit of flack—but only from people in Atlanta! In the online world, the article got a lot of love, including retweets from the American Marketing Association and many outstanding entrepreneurs across the country.

Last night, David’s comment to be less humble also sparked an insidious rebuttal of its own–indirectly, in that fine Southern manner our grannies would appreciate.

  • One of the other panelists mentioned how Atlanta is great, but . . . we don’t have a platform company.
  • And someone followed up with another perceived lack—this time, we’re great, but . . . we don’t have enough billion dollar companies.

I came to Kevy Connects from the headquarters of SAIA (a billion dollar company). I find billion dollar companies and near-billion dollar companies in Atlanta under every rock! Seriously. Do we think it’s perfect in Silicon Valley—or might they have a few challenges out there too?

So I’m on the record here with my thoughts: Atlanta, I love you, move on. So we don’t have a “perfect” technology universe. So what? Companies thrive here every day. A little hardship grows a resilient, tenacious company. Yours can be one of them.

Suggestion: next time our inner Southerner tells us what we have isn’t sufficient, let’s stomp on her, and instead spend a moment smiling about Atlanta’s manifold, and growing, strengths. Thanks to Team Kevy for giving us a great forum to focus on that.

And now I’m gonna go listen to my WE BUILT THIS CITY soundtrack and get to work!

OH! And, my agency was ranked among the top 100 in the U.S. last week. Just making sure I’m not too humble to mention it.  :)