Reinventing an icon — How we redesigned the region’s leading news and weather website for new audiences and revenue opportunities without sacrificing a loyal consistency — Case Study

A Case Study on the responsive website redesign of power house local news leader WRAL.com and the exciting results from the project.

The Goal:  While logging 3-4 million page views on an average day, super-successful, online power house WRAL.com still needed to evolve or die.

  • News viewing habits for important younger demos had shifted since the site’s last update
  • Mobile devices had become the top access mode
  • First created in a supporting role to broadcasting, the online arm of WRAL-TV had become a strong, independent brand in its own right and needed to explore new revenue opportunities

The Challenge:   Size and scope were formidable.  Not only did we have to hire web vendors and agree on a major design changes, the real devil was in the details.

  • More than 300, 000 pages, half a million pieces of content, including instantly changing headlines had to be integrated into a homegrown content management system that adapted to 6 different screen sizes and configurations.
  • Breaking news and weather needed special looks and treatments
  • Sports needed a separate identity, as did popular franchises like TechWire, GOASKMOM, and High School OT
  • In addition,  all fact-finding and decision making required buy-in from across the business, including news, sports, weather, sales departments, radio stations and popular online franchises

My Role: On-site strategy, project management and leadership from beginning to end over a one year period. We provided the cool head, confidence, and sure planning to see this major overhaul through on deadline, within budget, and without blow back from stakeholders.

2014_01_side_by_side _WRAL.com

The Results: 

  • 78% increase in monthly video views
  • Effectiveness of some ad units: increased by 371%
  • Increase in download speed—desktop only 35%
  • Increase in unique visitors – 31.9%
  • Created 30% more advertising inventory
  • Offered creative and innovative native advertising opportunities, more sponsorships and less display

Check out my recommendations from the WRAL crew.

From Euro Zone to Fireball Whisky – My Top 5 Social Shares of the Week

This week’s top social shares includes some bad news for Euro Zone and The New York Times.

Now on to the good stuff.

News looks good for Fireball Whisky. Learn a thing or two about their marketing strategy.

How’s this for serendipity. Last week, I declared Focus is the New Black, and this week I found an ingenious tip to help with focus—the 90/90/1 rule.

Euro Zone Business Growth Remains Weak in October Despite Deep Price Cuts: PMI

From Reuters: Despite price cutting, Euro zone business growth has been slower than expected for October. This puts added pressure on the European Central Bank as it tries to ward off deflation.

This segues into the next story. Europe is also where Fireball Whisky is facing a scandal for containing too much of a chemical found in antifreeze.


How Fireball Became The Most Successful Liquor In Decades

The liquor has been experiencing exponential growth.

According to Business Insider, Fireball is close to surpassing Jägermeister as the go-to shot. This is due to some aggressive marketing. Part of Fireball’s marketing campaign includes targeting college towns, enlisting celebrities, and encouraging drinking contests.

Need A Productivity Boost? Master the 90/90/1 Rule

Move over 80/20 rule, there’s a new productivity equation in town.

The gist of the 90/90/1 rule is simple: For the next 90 days devote the first 90 minutes of your day to your most important project and nothing else.

Read more about it here in Forbes.

This rule seems simple to implement. Are you willing to take the 90/90/1 challenge?

Time Is Running Short For The New York Times

News doesn’t look good for The New York Times. According to this Forbes article, the company hasn’t recorded consistent profit growth for five years.

Reddit Makes Crowdfunding Official With Redditmade

Crowdfunding has been growing steadily in recent years, and now Reddit wants to get into the game. Introducing Redditmade.

Intrigued? Readwrite explains how it works.

Comcast Owns a Theme Park Business, the Truth About Steve Jobs, and More – My Top 5 Social Shares of the Week

This week’s top social shares are mostly about technology, the business of technology, and what technology can do for business. But first, let’s learn who owns the nation’s second largest theme park—after Disney.

Just a Reminder That Comcast Also Owns a Huge Theme Park Business

BuzzFeed News wants to remind us that the country’s largest cable provider also owns Universal-branded theme parks.

The BuzzFeed News piece opens with a pop quiz: Which company operates the second largest theme park in the U.S.?

If you guessed Sea World or Six Flags you would be wrong.

The answer is Comcast.

Comcast is so big, that its theme park business is one of the company’s smallest units, but Comcast has been investing heavily into the parks, adding new attractions such as “The Wizarding World of Harry Potter” and “Despicable Me”. The unit is performing strongly, increasing revenue by 13% so far this year.

Former Apple CEO John Sculley: We Need to Embrace Failure as a Way to Learn

Business Insider did a Q&A with the former Apple CEO. The first discussion topic was Steve Jobs. Sculley was best known for firing Steve Jobs in the ’80s, but Sculley says that is a myth. Read his take.

Use Hadoop to Create Value, Not Push Reduction on Investment

Hadoop, Apache’s open-source big data platform, is ready for business. This SiliconANGLE article points out the challenges and potential of this technology.

And for more information about Hadoop, check out this InformationWeek post:

Hadoop ‘No Longer Optional,’ Says Forrester

This is the first of Forrester Research’s eight predictions for 2015.

Leadspace: Getting B2B Leads with More ‘Rich’ Attributes

As entrepreneurs know, finding good leads is difficult. Bill Robinson talks about Leadspace in the HuffPost Tech. Leadspace is a technology that not only makes finding leads easier, but helps businesses understand their ideal customer better.

 

Can’t Win Them All: Focus is the New Black

focusTime and time again we are tested. If feels a little like the sound of a moral at the end of a fairy tale. Character meets challenge. Is tested. Good prevails. Maybe I have been watching way too much Once Upon A Time, but I think today’s ultimate test is Focus.

Yes, I have written about it before and will probably write about it again.

In this hyper distracted, super connected, uber messaged era, FOCUS is the new black. Forget orange. Time is the only finite resource we have. Use it wisely.

Cliche alert: Don’t try to do everything. It is true you can’t win them all.  The instant access to everything is diluting it all.

Here is an example of how a little focus goes a long way…

My tale begins in a lovely coffee shop with an amazing business owner this past week. She says what we all have said at some point, a litany of actions. It was like an AK 47 went off. (OK, maybe I have been watching way too much Sons of Anarchy.) She says, I have to do this and that and Facebook and website and flyers…the list of to-dos were endless. First thing I said was, “Well I can give you some advice on all those things, but first I ask you. Who is your most profitable customer?”

The light went off. She had those at the ready. I said, well of all those things you listed that had to be done, which of those are going to get you closer to those two customer types? More lights went off – like a fireworks display. Focus saved the day. She quickly whittled her list.

Because the endless demands and never-ending to do lists, we get wrapped up in this: shouda-woulda-coulda-haveto cycle that makes even the most obvious connections not-so-obvious. I didn’t tell her anything she didn’t know…I just listened and asked a question. That’s hard to do for yourself. It’s hard to stop yourself and ask those questions, but I would challenge you to block your calendar 2x a month to ask yourself – “Are the things I am spending my time on getting me closer to my goals?” If not, it’s time to re-evaluate.

For this tale, the moral of this story is that just because it is there and “people” say you need to do it all, you don’t have to. Call BS. The reward for your focus and discipline – more time, the only finite resource we have. Now that’s wealth! See what I mean, Focus is definitely the NEW black.

Google’s New Inbox App, Apple Pay Opens for Business and More – My Top 5 Social Shares for the Week

Convenience. Everyone is searching for convenience. This is the prominent theme in my top social media shares this week.

If you what to make skimming email more convenient, Google has a new app. If you want making payments on your iPhone 6 more convenient, Apple has a new service.

Other topics of interest this week are: getting a higher salary, customer service, and how happiness is a competitive advantage.

Google’s New ‘Inbox’ App Actually Makes Email Fun Again

Email fun? Maybe back in the ’90s, but in 2014 email has become just one more thing to manage.

Google claims to make managing email fun with its new ‘Inbox’ app, meant to enhance, not replace Gmail. What makes this app different from the standard Gmail inbox is that it organizes and highlights message content, much in same way as a Facebook newsfeed.

Here’s an example from the Huffington Post article of what that looks like:

The article also includes Google’s promotional video.

The app is only available to a limited number of users by invite, but you can email Google (at inbox@google.com) to request access.

Are you excited or skeptical? I’m curious to hear what others think.

Apple Pay Opens for Business on Monday with iOS 8.1 Updates

Do you have the iPhone 6 or iPhone 6 Plus? If you do, making payments with your phone has just gotten easier.

Read more about Apple Pay, the new mobile payment service.

When the Customer is Wrong

With the conventional business philosophy being “The customer is always right,” the headline of this Huff Post Business article might come across as counter-intuitive. Once you read this article, however, you can see one obvious example of when the customer is wrong.

The customer is wrong when the customer’s disruptive behavior ruins other customers’ experiences. In the article’s example, an inebriated, loud, disruptive customer was kicked off a flight—for good reasons—by Southwest.

This is sensible advice about business and boundaries.

12 Tips for Getting The Salary You Want

“Ask for an odd number” is one of these 12 salary negotiation tips offered by pros from Business Insider.

Why Happiness is Sweeping the American Workplace

Happiness has almost become—dare I say— a trend lately. Happy is the name of both a hit song and a documentary dedicated to… happiness. And according to Forbes, happiness helps the bottom line.

Agree or disagree?

Top 5 Tips to Transition from Enterprise to Startup

startup

Most people know I left my BIG corporate job at Cisco to go out on my own. I am a HUGE advocate of stepping out of your comfort zone. But leaving a steady corporate job for the unknown is hard. NO DOUBT.

So for those that are considering taking the leap…not necessarily just going out on your own, but going to a smaller operation, I thought these tips might help prepare you for the leap. And it is a leap—a leap of faith—that I don’t think you will regret!

Top 5 Tips to Transition from a BIG Enterprise to a Startup or Smaller Company
  1. Be willing to take less money – Call me Captain Obvious, but that is a big one. You have to be willing to leave a big “known” salary. That doesn’t mean you will make less, it just means you aren’t guaranteed that monthly paycheck. When I left the big corporate world, I actually made more money. I was scrappy for sure, but for the first 6 months I sweated it. You should try to save up for what I call a Freedom Fund. You should have enough in the bank to sustain you for at least 6 months, but the more you can save the better. Put together a “lowfi” spreadsheet of your monthly bills and then save accordingly. Oh and get ready to change your diet, e.g. more eggs and peanut butter sandwiches, less lobster and steak.
  2. Forget the Title – Titles don’t matter as much in a smaller business. I often joke I am president and janitor. In all seriousness, when you take a position in a smaller business (e.g. NOT a Billion dollar business), you have to do things that others used to do for you in a big enterprise. For example, when I worked on web projects for Cisco, we always had an analyst spit out reports and insights. When I went out of my own, I learned how to pull my own Google Analytics and interpret them. You have to be willing to be OK with less complete data to make decisions and willing to learn new skills and add new responsibilities.
  3. Embrace your own decision-making – In a large enterprise, everyone has opinions and often you aren’t the final decision-maker. (On a side note that is usually the biggest reason why people want to leave the comforts of the Enterprise.) When you work in a smaller organization you are responsible for the big decisions and that can be scary. At first, I found this to be paralyzing…after all the complaining I did about not being able to make a decision at my fancy corporate job, when it was time for   me to make the decision (and live with the outcome) I was super nervous and found my confidence not so bold. Lean in…nothing is permanent AND there is never perfect data, so make the best decision you can and work like hell to course correct if it doesn’t pan out like you expected.
  4. Be willing to try new technology – When I was at Cisco, all I knew were the systems, software and technology they used. Most enterprise companies have sanctioned software which often makes sense because of their investments and security requirements.  When you are in a lean business, you learn to use every free trial, evaluate technology differently based on ease of use and price point. I tell all my big company friends that when I left my big technology job, I learned more about technology. I didn’t have the 20 page requirements document to limit my choices. I didn’t have legacy systems to consider. I didn’t have technology policies I had to adhere too. I have done more, faster and cheaper with open source and monthly SAAS products now than I ever did with million dollar systems I used before.
  5. Be Humble – I never saw myself as arrogant. Confident, yes, but never arrogant.  But when it came time to work with clients with less budget and different processes, I had a moment (internally mind you, my mama taught me well) thinking why on earth are they doing it this way…we used to do this…and that… What I learned is that when you don’t have an average sell of $100K or your margin isn’t 80% you have to make different choices. You have to create processes that work for your company at the size you are and cash flow you have. Granted I used my big corporate experience to help my clients, but often times I learned more from them on different ways to achieve the same goal. You must be adaptable and humble to make it outside the BIG C….

These tips will come in handy when you take that leap so that you cannot only survive outside the big enterprise but thrive.  If you are considering making a leap…contact me…I will help you quit your job and open your mind to new ways of working and new ways of taking control of your career.

If you have other tips, please share them in the comments section!

Debunked Science Myths, Indestructible Reputation Tips and More – My Top 5 Social Shares of the Week

This week’s top 5 social shares consists of valuable branding insights such as how men and women evaluate artwork differently. The artwork piece provides some insight into purchasing decisions. But the number one social share satisfies the inner-geek with some little-known science facts.

Debunked Science Myths

Business Insider sets the record straight on certain science “facts” that are actually myths.

The four states of matter. Photo credit: Spirit469

The four states of matter. Photo credit: Spirit469

Browse the side-show and learn something new. For example, did you know there is a fourth state of matter? (In addition to the three states of matter we were taught in school: solid, liquid and gas.) And dog lovers out there may be surprised to learn that one year is not equal to seven dog years.

Indestructible Reputation Tips

John Hall, Forbes Contributor

With the high value placed on reputation, it’s no wonder this article in Forbes resonates with so many of my followers. John Hall lays out seven tips for building a brand with a reputation that endures.

PC Shipments Slip in the Third Quarter

Worldwide sales of PCs in the third quarter fell slightly, but didn’t fall as much as IDC projected. This piece in Computerword  explains current trends in PC sales.

6 Things Everyone Needs To Stop Doing At Work

Few would argue that bad work habits, such as checking Facebook on company time, will limit career success, but this article includes counter-cultural advice such as, “avoid staying late.”

Read more: http://www.businessinsider.com/things-to-stop-doing-at-work-2014-10#ixzz3Gz1b32oq

And tell me if you agree or disagree with these 6 tips.

When It Comes to Picking Art, Men & Women Just Don’t See Eye to Eye

This fascinating Huff Post Business piece explains how men and women evaluate artwork differently. Apparently men put more emphasis on the artist, while women put more emphasis on the art itself. The study, published in the August edition of the journal of Psychology & Marketing, consisted of 518 men and women who were asked to evaluate artwork and then read fictitious biographies about the artist.

If a biography described the artist as “ordinary” or a “beginner” men were more likely to take that into account when deciding to purchase art. Women seemed more interested in evaluating the artwork on its merits. Do the findings surprise you?

artwork

Holograms, Rockstar Women Entrepreneurs & My Lil Moments of Fame — All Happened This past Week

Everyone says, savor that moment of fame, because it is fleeting.  Well—here is how I am savoring mine by sharing some amazing technology and people at the same time.

Triangle Startup Weekend – Women was a huge success. Here is a full recap and one of my moments of fame shared with amazing organizers, volunteers and participants. #TSWWomen

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My “Vanna White Moment” is doing a product demo of a really cool Hologram technology created here in the Triangle, PRSONAS.

Hologram-That-Fits-In-a-Prius-250x250

 

 

Exciting times! I am just honored to be a part of such an exciting local entrepreneurial community.  What did you do last week?

Top 99 Reasons to go to Triangle Startup Weekend – Women: Oct. 10-12.

I am a huge advocate for startups, tech and women and all of these hot topics for me collide this weekend with Triangle Startup Weekend – Women.  And before anyone rolls their eyes about a “woman-themed” event let me reassure you, this isn’t one of those 1980’s Working Girl conferences. It is a real-live, no-jive Startup Weekend where we just want to reach at least 50% women in attendance.  It’s still the same 54 hours from concept to company event.  It will still have a rapid fire pitch round and final presentations on Sunday with amazing judges and I hear a kids music performance to boot.

I got into tech by accident and startups on purpose.  If you live in the Triangle, the technology sector is a large employer in this area and, I, like many others got into it because that was where the major of opportunity was, but after 15 years for working for someone else and innovating within, I decided to take the leap.  I have started several and failed, but more importantly, I have started a couple that have excelled. I can honestly say, part of that is the support of the community that surrounds Startups.  And women know community, so that is my first reason to attend Triangle Startup Weekend: Women.

TSWWFacebookProfilePic-01

Top 99 Reasons to attend Triangle Startup Weekend – Women

Do it because/for/with…

  1. The community. Once you participate in a Startup Weekend, not only will you be connected to a league of Triangle entrepreneurs and startup enthusiasts, but you become a part of a global startup community.
  2. It’s not just a women’s event—it is an event where we have tried to market to women so we can increase awareness and inclusion—so come on guys…get your tix before they are all gone! Everyone is welcome!
  3. The networking.  This event will have not only have success stories, but supporters and connectors to almost anyone in the Triangle that can help you start a business…and beyond.
  4. You always wanted to see what it was like to have an idea turn into something.
  5. The food…we will feature local companies and chefs from the Triangle from baked goods and amazing coffee to Columbian food—all women-owned businesses.
  6. It is uncomfortable.  One of my favorite philosophies in life is: “Life begins at the edge of your comfort zone.”
  7. Startups with women executives are more likely to succeed – by 7.1%.
  8. You want to move women forward — we can’t change the gender gap in tech or startups unless we, as women, engage.
  9. A friend—TSW_Women is offering a “Buy one get half off” sale to encourage more women and so you can bring your bestie – Use code “BFF” when signing up.http://bit.ly/buytsw2014
  10. You want to learn a new skill. In this wild weekend, people will be hustling to get the work done and you will be able to learn something new in the process.
  11. It is on your bucket list.
  12. The playlist—there is always a collaborative playlist on Spotify from the weekend….everyone gets to add in their fav.
  13. The booze—we always have festive beverages to help with the pitch nerves 😉  and to add to the fun. Not a drinker, no problem…we have lots of non-alcoholic beverages too.
  14. The exposure. If you have never been to a startup event, this exposes you to all sorts of interesting people and incredibly valuable concepts.
  15. The costume idea—yeah, Halloween is coming up and wouldn’t it be cool if you went as a woman pioneer.
  16. The T-shirt. Startup Weekends always have rad shirts.
  17. You want to be a part of a global movement to develops and nurtures entrepreneurial communities around the globe.
  18. You can.
  19. To learn some cool apps you may not know about.
  20. You are beautiful inside and out.
  21. The free advice from some heavy hitting coaches and mentors – Check them out here: http://www.up.co/communities/usa/triangle/startup-weekend/3867
  22. The inspiring stories from successful local entrepreneurs:http://bit.ly/buytsw2014
  23. To learn more about the sponsors and support them as they are supporting the cause of increasing women in business, startups and tech: http://bit.ly/buytsw2014
  24. Emma Watson’s un-feminist speech moved you:

    http://www.vanityfair.com/vf-hollywood/2014/09/emma-watson-un-speech-feminism

  25. To help us reach our goal of 50% attendees to a Startup Weekend = women
  26. To meet guys that also support more women in startups.
  27. You love yourself.
  28. You want to hear inspiring stories from local entrepreneurs like Laura Fenn and her Walking Classroom or  Tatiana Birgisson and her amazing energy beverage company Mati, Inc.
  29. You are looking for an adventure.
  30. Mia Hamm transformed how people looked at soccer–FOREVER, think of what you can do to change the world.
  31. You are a rockstar.
  32. Change the fact that only 13% of venture-backed companies have a female co-founder.
  33. You think you can’t
  34. Kamila, A Dressmaker in Afghanistan, can start and grow a business with the Taliban so can you. AND you don’t have to do it alone.
  35. To find your cofounder.
  36. You have a great idea.
  37. You want to help someone else with their great idea.
  38. You want to change the fact that in the software sector, women-run businesses accounted for just 10 percent of all venture capital deals.
  39. You have nothing better to do this weekend.
  40. The nice weather.
  41. Ping Fu, co-founded an amazing 3D printing company right here in the Triangle and you could found something amazing too.
  42. For your mother, grandmother, sister, daughter, niece, granddaughter.
  43. For your father, grandfather, brother, son, nephew, grandson.
  44. Pretend it’s going to rain and you should stay inside creating something than being stuck inside doing nothing.
  45. Be a part of the FIRST ever Triangle Startup Weekend – Women addition. http://bit.ly/buytsw2014
  46. You want to be a part of the over 9.1 million women-owned businesses operating in 2014.
  47. You want to boost Raleigh forward…just ranked No. 11 best city for female entrepreneurs—be a part of pushing it to top 10 status.
  48. You want to grow the female entrepreneurial cohort in the Triangle.
  49. You aren’t afraid.
  50. Amelia Earhart didn’t just look good in an aviator outfit.
  51. You are afraid.
  52. You need to stop waiting until your idea is perfect.
  53. It is a get-stuff-done kind of event and you are strapped for time.
  54. You want to be a part of a like-minded group.
  55. You don’t know what you don’t know.
  56. You don’t want to be a part of the lonely-girls code club.
  57. The seasons change and so should you.
  58. You want to add to the other 28% of women who own businesses in the US.
  59. You want to be a part of the upward swing of capital going toward female-owned business.
  60. You are a masterful multitasker.
  61. Maya Angelou rocks!
  62. You have hope.
  63. Women control $20 trillion in annual consumer spending (U.S. dollars).
  64. We women share and collaborate like champs.
  65. “Like a girl” is a badge of honor.
  66. You can open your own door, or you can have a nice person or gentlemen open it for you too.
  67. You believe in yourself.
  68. You are part of the 26% of women working in the computer field or want to add to that number.
  69. You may be one of the women that only make $.73 to the male-earned $1.
  70. You support a community that is inclusive for both men and women.
  71. Only 4.2% of VCs investing are women.
  72. 42% of Indiegogo’s crowdfunding projects are started and run by women.
  73. Women lead in tech adoption – owning more tech devices, adopt mobile and location-based services and use the internet more than men.
  74. Your favorite color is red or blue or yellow or green or pink.
  75. You like to share.
  76. Come on guys—you should sign up too.  The speakers are going to be amazing and where in the Triangle will you meet such dynamic and amazing women.
  77. You are funny.
  78. You are serious.
  79. You want more than of the 20% of the 56% of women who leave their tech field mid-career to be self-employed or start a company.
  80. You love a discount—Try this one on: “ILoveSW” for 20% off. http://bit.ly/buytsw2014
  81. Women ask for almost $7,000 less than men in a salary negotiation, but when negotiating for a friend they are on target…there will be lots of friends there.
  82. Girls rule!
  83. Dudes who support women and business are far more successful in life (ok, I made that up, but don’t you agree 😉 )
  84. Going above and beyond is in our nature.
  85. Get free family passes to Marbles Kids Museum: http://blog.up.co/2014/10/07/innovation-opportunities-ages/
  86. You just got a new haircut.
  87. Diversity cuts both ways—men should sign up too.
  88. Working so hard never felt so good.
  89. Kathryn Bigelow became the first woman to receive the best director Oscar (she’s only the fourth woman in history to even be nominated). Her film that year, The Hurt Locker, was also pronounced best picture.
  90. We accept you—in your PJs late night too.
  91. There is no more glass
  92. Take the advice of Emmeline Pankhurst: “Deeds not words!” who fought for the right for women to vote.
  93. You like to wear skirts and heels.
  94. You don’t like to wear shirts and heels.
  95. Coco Chanel, who allowed women to be fashionable while at the same time wearing comfortable clothes appropriate to the setting. She was a genuine liberator.
  96. Female entrepreneurs currently account for approximately a third of all entrepreneurs worldwide, and the U.S. Census Bureau predicts that by the year 2025, the share of women entrepreneurship in that country will increase to more than 55 percent.” The Global Legal Post, April 2012.
  97. We seem to think that women are risk averse, but BBC News 21 in February 2011, “Compared with men, women were found to aspire more to running their own company than achieving higher rank within a firm.” 
  98. You have a strong, accomplished woman role model like I did in my Great Grandma, Ester Mae.
  99. You were asked to come.

    http://bit.ly/buytsw2014

Join us! Will I see you there?

What Can We Learn from Jesus, Ryan Adams and the Implications for the Triangle?

Surprised by the title I bet…but it was inspired out of two recent encounters with local entrepreneurs. They both threw out the Jesus reference…the Ryan Adams one is mine.

Whiskeytown Album Cover

Often you can’t get a speaking gig or a meeting in your hometown, but if someone from the outside comes in, somehow they have instant credibility. It happens all the time. That seems so irrational to me.

Doesn’t it seem logical that you would at least consider someone who shares your physical community? Doesn’t it behoove us, to support local talent so the whole community thrives.

So what does this have to do with Jesus or Ryan Adams?

This same scenario happened to both people:

  • Jesus tried to teach in his hometown Nazareth, and the whole town rejected him, so he had to go elsewhere. (It’s true, I had to look it up since it has been a while since my Sunday School days.)
  • Ryan Adams used to be in an amazing local band called Whiskeytown, playing small local music venues around town, but he had to abandon his hometown to find success and fame elsewhere (NYC).

My point is just a request to consider local talent, companies and the jewels in the rough here. Instead of always having the same old same old speakers or the ones outside the market, look within. Instead of investing only in B2B tech startups, consider consumer or life sciences too. A service provider business owner is still an entrepreneur. Tech or product startups can’t do very much if they didn’t have a lawyer, accountant or marketing firm to help them.

Let’s not lose amazing people to other markets. Many of our most successful entrepreneurs here in the Triangle have left to go to Silicon Valley or other places because they were not supported here. Only returning after they have made their fame elsewhere and only now the Triangle recognizes their clout or talent.

Let’s strive to create an open, supportive and inclusive community. That type of place will be a beacon for talent and success to come here now and forever. That is a differentiator strategy for this region to embrace in order to compete in the global marketplace. That is the place I want to call home.

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