Last night we kicked off our first of many Kevy Connects events. With more than 250 registered attendees, the room was packed waiting to hear from our larger-than-life leader panel including Reggie Bradford – founder of Vitrue, Michael Cohn – Cofounder & SVP Marketing of Cloud Sherpas, Bill Nussey – CEO Silverpop & David Cummings – Cofounder & CEO Kevy.
In case you missed it, or just want a recap, here are a few key takeaways from the evening.
Atlanta as a Capital for Tech:
Atlanta is rich with Venture Capital dollars, resources and leadership. With the intersection of the Atlanta airport, immense number of seasoned salespeople and long standing history of successful companies; Atlanta is not slowing down when it comes to the growth of tech.
Reggie Bradford mentioned the technology incubator essentially started with ATDC. Bill Nussey hopped in saying that talent, attitude & work/life balance is a huge factor in why Atlanta is a top market for technology and entrepreneurialism.
David Cummings followed up by saying that Atlanta should be recognized as a B2B technology capital. He continued by saying that often, we as Southerners, try to be humble with our accomplishments – it is time to be ‘less humble’ about our achievements and start making Atlanta more known as a capital for tech.
Here are some tweets that came in from the evening about Atlanta and it’s rising influence:
- Jennifer Zember (@jenniferzember )- talking about can-do startup attitude here in the South #kevyconnects
- Felix Hu (@ChairmanHu) – On branding ATL, “We need to learn to toot our own horn, go beyond being Southern and nice.” @davidcummings #kevyconnects
- Atlanta Tech Village (@ATLTechVillage)– “Atlanta has an amazing community, we just need to make ourselves more well know.” @davidcummings at #KevyConnects
Explosive Growth of Software:
The conversation jumped from talk of Atlanta straight into the undeniable growth of the cloud. Cloud-based software is one of the fastest growing software segments in the tech space. Michael Cohn made the point that not too long ago the biggest hurdle in the cloud space was convincing people of it’s security. That is no longer a thought, the next big thing is integration.
- Lisa Calhoun (@lisa_calhoun) – @cohnhead (cofounder @cloudsherpas) says CIOs are prioritizing integration now when 5 years ago security was front of mind #KevyConnects
Along the lines of integration, Cohn continued by saying “There isn’t a single project we do that doesn’t need integration… whether making data accessible real-time from mobile devices or streamlining data between systems – it is what the market needs.” I do have to follow-up by saying – he was not paid for these statements. This was completely on his own accord which points to the clear pain point he witnesses amongst his customers. After the event I asked him what drove him to launch into discussing the topic of integration – he said because he sees multiple cases EVERY DAY where his customers are in need. Cloud Sherpas is the largest Google implementer and nearly 100% of his deals have integration needs.
- Team Kevy (@teamkevy) – “Its all about integration – whether making data accessible real-time or streamlining data between systems.” @cohnhead#Kevyconnects
Advice for Entrepreneurs – Culture:
One of the most frequently asked question about the night was how to find talent and maintain culture in the midst of growth. Cohn hopped right in saying companies don’t need a scooter to be cool but the unique culture elements tell you alot about the personalities of your employees. The people on the scooters are rushing to get back to work, the people playing ping-pong are competitive, the people drawn to the keg are social and creating a community within the company.
Bill mentioned that employees need to be passionate about your vision and buy into it. He made one of the more memorable comments of the night saying that if you are ‘Bat-shit’ crazy about your idea, you are one step closer to having a successful startup.
Reggie is well known for the culture he brings to his ventures. His belief is that he wanted to create a place where his kids wanted to bring their friends – and he did just that.
Most of the panelists agreed, good culture is imperative to a successful company.
- Emily Sato (@emilysatoatl) “Best advice” answers from #kevyconnects : show up early, have a solution to a problem, know what you want to be
- Jeff Perkins (@jeffperkins8) – Key thing that defines a company – passionate employees. @Silverpop CEO. #kevyconnects
The sheer number of attendees shows their is a hunger for collaboration amongst the Atlanta tech wold. We are rich in resources, brilliance and leaders so as Lisa Calhoun mentioned in her blog – it is time to take a moment & “smile about Atlanta’s manifold, and growing, strengths”. The vision for Kevy Connects is to create a space where leaders, entrepreneurs and tech-believers can learn, network and connect.
We will be posting a video so you can hear it all again …and….stay tuned for the the next Kevy Connects announcement soon!
– The Kevy Team