Friday afternoon, thanks to the ultimate Atlanta startup connector, Kyle Porter, I kicked back with the new head of the ATDC, Mike Hersh for a few brews over at Cypress Pint and Pub. Mike is a great dude, fantastic storyteller, and a proven entrepreneur/investor.
There was one question he asked as we ended the happy hour and it resonated with me all weekend. Writing about it seemed like the only option.
His question: if the ATDC could do one thing to improve, what would it be?
Disclaimer: I spent two years working in the ATDC for OpenStudy.
So here are the following 4 Ways To Make the ATDC Fresher Than Ever
1. Connect the Students – The ATDC has a multi-billion dollar machine pumping out some of the world’s greatest talent within a 3 mile radius. Sharing the ATDC story with students is the most important and easiest way to stay fresh. Too many students are leaving the city of Atlanta and the state of Georgia. One of the biggest advantages to building a company in the ATDC should be access to a constant stream of Georgia Tech’s top talent. Solutions include holding student focused events, building better relationships with the individual faculty members, and reaching out to student leaders.
2. Create More Serendipitous Connections with What They Have – I remember the first day Blinq Media moved offices right next to our OpenStudy suite. At the time, they were 4 people which seems like light years from last year’s news. Anyways, I was so excited because I heard about this amazing CEO by the name of Dave Williams. I thought I was going to bump into him all the time, learn their sales and marketing strategies and enjoy their great ride with them. Not exactly. I maybe saw him 2 times in the year and half we were neighbors. Yeah he was up in New York a fair amount of the time, but the bottom line, with approximately 6 different exits out of the ATDC, you really have to search and find who you’re looking for in the building. Solutions include holding more value add events. Atlanta Startup Village is a great example of what value a 5 minute presentation does to educate the community.
3. Every Catalyst Should Send 20 Email Introductions a Week – If I were Mike, I would leverage the network and relationships of the current team — which I must add is fantastic. From PFreet, to McGreggor to Jen to Blake to Moyer and others, the team is solid. However, as a Venture Catalyst there are only a few things that produce real value add: introductions to customers and introductions to investors. Any other consulting, advice, or strategy can be worked out in between the introductions.
4. Write even more. Has anyone seen the reaction of Stephen Fleming’s posts on the Saporta Report? People are listening to what every member of the ATDC has to say. Not sharing the stories of the ATDC, the members, or the journey of the companies growing is free PR left on the table.
These are the top 4 ways (of many) to make the ATDC fresher than ever before.
I really enjoyed meeting Mike, learning his story and understanding the bright future the ATDC has in store.