Allen Nance’s Breath of Fresh Air

August 17, 2013

in Events, Fundraising, Starting Up

I first learned of Allen Nance and What Counts a few weeks ago during his keynote at B2BCamp (my recap of the event is here). He’s started contributing back to the Atlanta startup ecosystem through his insightful blog.

Today he posted a great fresh perspective on ideas to strengthen the Atlanta startup ecosystem. Here are his main points and my thoughts on each:

  • Celebrate Competition more than Cooperation
    • Totally agree with the principle. I think that this may already happen naturally as entrepreneurs in Atlanta already competitively wage whatever battles they need in order to get stuff done. Maybe telling stories of the battles is a great way to enshrine this competitive spirit. I love telling the rocky road stories that led AccelerEyes to where it is today.
    • I personally do not really care about ranking my startup relative to other startups in different markets. I care how well I do against my own market. It’s nice to be on ranked lists, but for me it’s a vanity tickle more than a motivator of excellence or generator of actionable improvement. This is just my personal preference though, and I can see how others would like this ranking.
  • Celebrate the Beginning more than the End
    • Founder’s Fables is exactly this and is one of my favorite events ever attended in Atlanta
  • Stop wearing “Anti-valley” stickers and wear “Better-valley” stickers
    • I like where this is headed. I love the word, “better.”
    • My only thought here is that “better-valley” still pits Atlanta against Silicon Valley as a benchmark. We’re not a “valley.” We’re not really better than Silicon Valley or trying to be better. We just want to be great in our own right. I don’t really have any ideas for a slogan. I’m not sure we need an overarching slogan. The “Anti-Valley” slogan worked well for the moments when it has been used, and those that have used it have appropriately not tried to make it an overarching slogan. I’ve seen the slogan work well in targeted moments, such as when Stephen Fleming used it to introduce Tim Draper recently during his visit to Atlanta.
  • Go Recruit the Top Venture Capitalists with our Best Talent
    • Excellent idea! This would by far have the most impact on our Atlanta ecosystem.

What a great fresh perspective Allen brought to the table today. Go read his post and enjoy the new ideas!

What fresh ideas have you heard recently to improve the Atlanta startup ecosystem?


  • stephenfleming

    In my world, wearing my “Not the Valley” button is an effective tool, because I am always (daily) coming into contact with people from outside the ecosystem. Politicians, visitors from other cities and countries, counterparts from other universities, big corporate players who don’t know what’s going on here and who still think RTP is a role model for us… In other words, people who don’t read Allen Nance’s blog. Some of the visitors have active government programs to “become the next Silicon Valley” and the ones that don’t often wish that they did.

    By providing a bit of cognitive dissonance, handing them a “Not the Valley” button makes them reexamine their unconscious assumptions, and it gives me a chance to talk about all the strengths that Atlanta has without needing to compare ourselves to Silicon Valley/the Bay Area.

    If you’re not doing that kind of outreach on a daily basis, the button isn’t nearly as effective. We absolutely don’t need a new brand for Atlanta (although the idea comes up every few years.) Our brand is “Atlanta.” If people want to wear a different button, I suggest grabbing one of the “I am ATL” buttons like this one that Jen Bonnett is wearing:

    You can get more at

    • John Melonakos

      Great comment and thanks for posting! Having had a number of those politicians, counterparts, etc visit our office during our 3 years at ATDC, I know exactly what you are talking about. It’s great to jar people in leadership positions out of their previously developed concepts to understand the current reality.

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