November 30, 1999 in ATDC News

Media Exposure

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ATDC graduate founder and ATDC Entrepreneur Advisory Council member Bird Blitch recently shared his thoughts on entrepreneurial coverage in Georgia:

"Time to jump on my PR soapbox.  Our media exposure for Georgia technology companies is to be frank, way too limited.  Did you know Firethorn recently was acquired by Qualcomm?  Did you also hear about SPI Dynamics being acquired by H-P?  HUGE wins for the community.  Great stories about entrepreneurs and management teams who had a vision and then executed on it."

Why not more acknowledgement from the mainstream press?  Not just an announcement, but an after-the-fact, in-depth analysis the way college football and basketball is dissected everyday in the papers.  The day the Firethorn acquisition was made public, the headlines in the AJC Business Section focused on chicken.  It’s time to change the way people see things in this state.  Back in the old days, the economy used to be run by agricultural interests — cotton, soybeans, peaches, etc.  This state was loaded with farmers.  Then apparel manufacturing was the apple of everyone’s eye in the 50’s, 60’s and 70’s. Textile mills dotted every small town.   

But now if you look at the two greatest economic engines in the state, it’s got to be the airport and Georgia Tech.  Technology is the future.  It’s where the jobs are.  And when we get wins in our community, they need to be analyzed and discussed by the mainstream press. 

TAG does a good job of evangelizing this PR battle, but in the end, big wins drive the entrepreneurial ecosystem.  Without wins, the money dries up.  New ideas don’t attract investors because the same investors have their money tied up in other deals.  As a result and without cash on hand, it’s harder for these new businesses to attract scale and customers in a timely fashion.  These entrepreneurs are forced to cash flow the business.  Which, by the way, isn’t all bad if you can do it and still achieve scale.

"Scale" leads to revenue generation and exits.  If the business is growing and can scale, then there’s a good chance for a strong exit.  These exits are the ultimate complement for our community. Yet, when it happens, they seem to get mentioned and then forgotten.

So just don’t sit there and agree with me, how are you going to help change it?

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