What the Atlanta Startup Community can learn from Atlanta’s Hip Hop Community

I put on for my city yeah billboards everywhere
See me before your flight land, see me before your bag claim

I put on for my city, on on for my city
I put on for my city, on on for my city

– Young Jeezy “Put On”

The Atlanta Tech/Startup brand is non-existent.

You know what community has branded the city better than any other community? The hip-hop community. Aspiring writers, producers, and rappers flock to our city because they know, when music is created in Atlanta, there’s a greater chance of success. The platform developed is huge.

How did Atlanta become successfully branded as a hip hop community and what can the Atlanta Startup Community learn from it.

This is best personified by Atlanta resident, Young Jeezy on his lead single “Put On.” (entire lyrics and meaning here). Watch below as his Grammy nominated performance with Kanye West conveys his allegiance and credit to his city.

Regardless if you like the music, Young Jeezy does 3 things really well in one song to promote Atlanta:

Builds a great product:  Young Jeezy and Kanye West took this song global, were nominated for a Grammy, and had many remixes.
Credits Atlanta: The magic behind this songs is not so much that he talks much about Atlanta, but he promotes how everything he does is for his city.
Partners with big names: Young Jeezy had a great product. However partnering with an international superstar like Kanye West open bigger doors and took the single places it never before could have with just Jeezy. After Kanye was on the track, artists from around the world wanted to be on the remixes.

Young Jeezy is not alone. As the success of Young Jeezy proliferates, others also rise…because they collaborate. The combination of Young Jeezy, T.I., Ludacris, Outkast, Usher and many more, create hip hop neighborhood and talent density that the Atlanta Startup Community should aspire to.

The Atlanta Startup Community Brand

Just about every person i talked to this past summer in Boulder couldn’t recall one tech company from Atlanta. Big bummer, but true.

Most of them asked “does Atlanta even have tech?” I slowly gulped before answering.

Little do most people know, Atlanta is one of the most wired cities in the world and it has more talent in a 75/85 traffic jam than most cities could ever dream of.

Unfortunately, Atlanta has no brand when it comes to technology. Brands are lead by successful businesses, colorful personalities, and folks who help craft the conversation.

Ways to promote Atlanta’s Technology brand using Young Jeezy’s Strategies:

  • build great companies that promote Atlanta as their origin
  • blog: join the conversation and get our smart ideas and energy out to the world online
  • expose the city to technology power players. There should be more tech leaders coming to our city. We’ve got to keep Atlanta and Georgia, as Ray Charles put it best, “on my mind.”
1 comment
  1. It’s true. Unfortunately, many Atlanta startups are like Young Jeezy locked in a basement. Not only do they not build their city’s brand, they don’t even know how to get out and talk about the amazing things they’re doing. Atlanta startups generally don’t know swagger – not that they should spend all of their time chasing PR, but that intelligently earned PR advances the opportunity of a startup. And building the reputation of a community adds to the credibility of everyone there.

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