Nashville Is On Fire
I don’t know how it happened, but somebody stole all of January and half of February 2010 here in Nashville. This town is hot hot hot and I think it’s about to blow up. In a good way.
For those that may not know my personal story, I was a partner in a local web development and marketing company called echomusic that was acquired by Ticketmaster/IAC in 2007 for a tidy sum. At the time, it was one of very few local technology success stories that received national attention – at least in the entertainment space, and as a result, I have had the privilege of participating in a broad range of advisory and investment roles. But something is happening here in 2010 that I have never seen the likes of. It seems that the terror evoked by the great recession has subsided and a potent combination of investment dollars and big ideas have converged at the same time.
I was out until midnight on Wednesday with a group of investors and entrepreneurs concocting a plan to identify and support the next generation of ideas here in Nashville. I won’t disclose the names or the terms being discussed, but if I had had the chance to participate in a program along these lines back in 2001 I dare say I would have had an incredible head-start on the competition from either coast. The recently-announced Nashville Entrepreneur Center, the initiatives under way with the Chamber of Commerce, Nashville Technology Council, Digital Nashville and the concepts exploding from the creative minds in this town should be on the radar of anyone here or abroad that wants to get an idea off the ground. I think this trend has been bubbling for a little while now, but it feels to me that the hard work that so many great minds have committed to are beginning to pay off. It’s like our own little Silicon Valley is taking shape. And why not?
I moved here from the Bay Area (via L.A.) in 2000 and couldn’t believe the quality of life Nashville had to offer. It’s teeming with creative types, college graduates and successful executives in a broad range of industries, from health care to publishing to manufacturing and seemingly everything in between. And yet, there is a rural sensibility about the place. You can buy 15 acres of land 20 minutes from town for $200 grand. People return your calls. They hold the door open for you at the supermarket. But you can also do business anywhere in the world from Nashville – our Int’l airport is a breeze to get through, Nissan, Pinnacle and AT&T all call Nashville home and I have yet to have a company in India refuse to cash a check because I wasn’t in a top 5 most populated city in America.
Life is good here, folks. Really good. And about to get better. So what’s your big idea? If you had a few grand to get an idea off the ground, what would it be and why? You might be surprised what kind of support is out there for a person with a sharp mind and a plan to put it to use.