About adammarx13

I'm a music-tech advisor, journalist, and entrepreneur. I started my first music company Glipple directly out of college, and am using those lessons to construct my new music startup. I'm a passionate poet, essayist, musician, entrepreneur, and artist--obsessively and constantly creating. Proud Brandeis grad.

What Is Socially Just

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In 2018, amidst the high school walkouts taking place around the country, I called on my alma mater, Brandeis University, to join a slew of colleges and universities and put its money where its mouth is. I—and I’m sure many other alumni—challenged them to commit to honoring their ideals of free speech & social justice in the wake of high school administrations cracking down on such free expression.

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They rose to the occasion and released a public statement articulating their support for free expression and exercise of social justice—a core ideal on which our school was founded—and committed to honoring interview dates and acceptance packages based on students’ merits, and not swayed by fickle administrative politics. It even got picked up by Buzzfeed News and I made my social media debut—my Twitter handle at least—in a Buzzfeed listicle; I guess I can cross that off my bucket list. 

Now, two years later, I called on them again to rise to a similar, if not more daunting challenge. And again, I imagine I wasn’t the only one.

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As the Trump administration seeks to engage in thinly-veiled isolationist and racist policies—in the wake of a global pandemic no less—simple students have found themselves caught in the political crossfire. The administration’s “guidance” over not allowing foreign students to take online-only classes for the U.S. fall semester is yet another stain on a consistently tumultuous and erratic educational policy. It’s not only antithetical to everything that Brandeis stands for as an institution, but what we as a nation stand for. One would think that such a stark departure from core American ideals would be enough to dissuade the Trump administration from pursuing such a draconian agenda.

And yet here we are. 

On the heels of Trump’s announcement of the new policy, Harvard University and MIT—two other Boston-based schools with which Brandeis is good-naturedly competitive—filed a joint lawsuit in the U.S. District Court for the District of Massachusetts against the Trump administration. In Harvard’s own words to CNN:

“The order came down without notice—its cruelty surpassed only by its recklessness. It appears that it was designed purposefully to place pressure on colleges and universities to open their on-campus classrooms for in-person instruction this fall, without regard to concerns for the health and safety of students, instructors, and others[.]”

The lawsuit itself expands further on this line of thinking:

“…for many students, returning to their home countries to participate in online instruction is impossible, impractical, prohibitively expensive, and/or dangerous.”

Why does any of this even matter? Why did I even tweet about it?

Well if you’re reading this as someone with any connection to Brandeis at all, you should be able to answer those questions on your own.

For everyone else, here’s why:

Because Brandeis was founded on ideas of equality, diversity, right to a first-class education, and above all, social justice. Indeed the latter phrase emblazons most every free space around the university’s campus.

In the school’s own words:

“Brandeis University was founded in 1948 by the American Jewish community at a time when Jews and other ethnic and racial minorities, and women, faced discrimination in higher education.

Brandeis’ visionary founders established a nonsectarian university that welcomed talented faculty and students of all backgrounds and beliefs.”

There, in the first breath of our school identity and history, is the commitment to being different in the face of adversity and acting as a tether—the tether—to being a socially just port in the storm. It’s no surprise that Justice Brandeis—the school’s namesake—adorns the central space by the Student Campus Center—the “green building” as it’s affectionately known to students. The indelible mark that Brandeis made on modern jurisprudence is now playing out before our eyes.

And in this moment, we as Brandeis alumni and community members cannot be spectators; we must be leaders.

When I called on Brandeis to step up to the plate in this game, I didn’t have a specific goal in mind beyond urging my alma mater to lead in the game from the start. Whether joining Harvard and MIT or finding a place similar to Cornell University, which has joined the case as a friend of the court and had this to say:

“This was wholly unexpected, and it is a senseless and unfair policy that runs counter to all that we stand for as a global academic community[.]”

Because in the end, this is not a game.

This is about who we are and what our legacy will be. I spent years at Brandeis majoring in history—I studied masses of it. From East Asian and European Medieval to Roman and American Colonial, there’s always one thing that’s true about history:

There is always a right side of it. And a wrong side of it.

It seems that the Brandeis administration is of a similar mind.

As I continued to tweet about this whole snafu last week, I noticed the Brandeis account liking all of my tweets.

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Then I saw their comment pop up; a link to a tweet from the Brandeis account late last Wednesday evening—hours after I’d logged off for the day and busied myself with dinner and household chores—that detailed their full statement on the matter. The official post—appropriately titled “Supporting International Students”—basically boiled down to this:

“In the face of such callous [ICE] guidelines, Brandeis must act in support of our international students and those across the country. Today, we are joining with a number of other colleges and universities in supporting an effort by Harvard University and Massachusetts Institute of Technology to temporarily prohibit the enforcement of these guidelines…We are committed to finding solutions to redress the ICE guidelines.”

However Brandeis is named in the suit—either jointly with Harvard and MIT or similarly to Cornell and other universities—is more or less irrelevant. Semantics are just that—semantics.

The only relevant thing is that they—we—are in the arena, fighting for what we as students, donors, alumni, and socially just thinkers went there for. This is how Brandeis can (and will) continue to define itself as a leading university and community in the coming years; how it proves to the outside world that it deserves to be mentioned in the same breath as the Ivy League schools and similar institutions like Emory, Stanford, and MIT.

The suit came before a federal judge this week and it took all of five minutes (seriously!) for ICE and the Trump administration to cave. But I have no illusions; I imagine there will be other repressive agendas that follow. And in those moments, we as Brandeisians must see and meet these challenges head-on.

Because ultimately this isn’t a meaningless issue. There is no gray area here.

There is only what is socially just.

My Friday Post Went Viral. Here’s Why.

Last Friday, I wrote a post that felt more like a personal update than anything else.

It went viral anyway, and I know why. 👇

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Quick Message — I’m Here to Help

☝️ First, let me say: I know the crunch that’s happening all over the country (and the world), which is why I’m cutting my rates and making them as flexible as possible. I do personal branding, relationship-building, content editing, and networking consulting.

I teach people how to get in front of anyone; tech investors, company CEOs, journalists or media, etc., and I do it by teaching basic tactics that anyone could use (patience, value creation, consistency, etc.). If you need help—growing your network, developing your brand & reputation, building relationships for a new job—then reach out to me. I will work with your budget —just send me a message on Twitter or LinkedIn.

What We Expect of Our Companies

When we apply for jobs at companies, we expect that the contracts they give us are mutually beneficial at their core. For our part, these contracts require us to show up on time, excel in our skills & dedication, produce results, etc. And for that we get paid. It often boils down to a base concept:

“You give me time and skills, and I’ll give you money and benefits.” 💰

But sometimes in our readiness to accept these terms and get paid, we can overlook the things which we should be expecting & requiring from the companies hiring us.

And one of the core things that every employee should expect of their employer is a safe workplace. This isn’t innovative thinking; it’s a necessary cost which every employer should figure into their overhead.

Here’s the problem with that:

Safety isn’t sexy and profit rules the day.

Many people like to think that their company has their back; that the organization will catch them when they fall. And indeed this is true of many companies, but unfortunately not all.

And I think this is exactly why my post went viral. 🤔

Companies in Two Camps

With all the coronavirus stuff happening globally, there’s a lot of fear about how to weather the storm. Many companies have taken it upon themselves to step out on the limb with their employees and help as best as they can. Some of my favorites like SlackAirbnbZoomPagerDuty, and Box are cutting costs to their premium products so that the sudden influx of people now forced to work from home can continue to be as productive as possible. Many companies recognize that they may see a financial loss in the coming weeks, but they accept that this is bigger than that.

They’re placing their employees’ safety above their fiscal bottom lines. 🙌

And then there are companies which are not.

Even with social distancing requirements going into effect all over the world, there are companies that don’t seem to be taking the situation seriously. Hobby Lobby has adamantly refused to close locations and GameStop declared the same.

These are the poster children for companies which are sticking to the gray areas of what is defined as an “essential business” apparently so that they don’t have to close up shop or move online. And this is going to jeopardize the health of their workers. 😷

When this is all over and the dust settles, there will only be two camps of companies:

  1. 📈 Those who placed the health of their employees over the fiscal bottom line, and
  2. 📉 Those who placed the fiscal bottom line over health and everything else

(For the record, the companies I’m referring to en masse are not the typical essential businesses; i.e. police, medical personnel, grocers, firefighters, etc.)

Why My Post Went Viral (I Believe)

My post went viral (perhaps a poor adjective given our current situation…) because I have been documenting the struggle that one of my close friends is having with some such company. My friend works for a company that is doing its damn best to stay in one of these gray areas; they are not “essential” on the same level as a homeless shelter or police department, nor are they 100% remote as software engineering might be.

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My original post from Tuesday, 3/24/20.

What I do know, though, is that the work my friend does—operations, bookkeeping, customer support—could all be done remotely. Certainly in an extenuating circumstance like the one in which we now find ourselves, 98% (if not more) of my friend’s work could be done from their laptop at home.

Yet the company refuses to allow them to do so.

The optics are even worse: the partners and employees who work in corporate are already working from home and have been for a week. 😡

My post went viral—I believe—because this kind of management of employees is not only reckless and irresponsible, it’s dismaying and unconscionable. People have a right to work in safe conditions, and a right to request leniency in extenuating circumstances like this. They have a right not to fear retaliation for desiring to work from home in the middle of a pandemic.

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My viral follow-up post from Friday, 3/27/20.

This Isn’t Leadership — It’s Extortion

I’ve run startup companies before and I’ve worked for bigger organizations, and here’s a rule I never break: I would never ask my employee or team member to do something I wouldn’t be willing to do myself.

Like, say, risk my life for a good quarterly profit.

The irony is that these companies who are putting profit before safety will see cataclysmic retribution when this is all over. Not from me or even from governments most likely, but from their employees, customers, investors, and advertisers. Nobody wants to work for, buy from, or promote a company which places profits over employee health and safety. Investor Mark Cuban mentioned as much just last week.

My post went viral because people are angry at my friend’s circumstance (and probably those of their close ones as well) and know that this is not right. This is not what my friend signed up for, and certainly not what the company should be expecting of them.

Leaders lead from the front, and what this company is doing now isn’t leadership—it’s extortion. 🚨

The Upshot When This Is Over

For those of you out there running companies the right way and doing your very best to hear your employees and put their health first, thank you. I applaud you. I will patronize your businesses and continue to lead with you in the right direction.

But for those who are not following suit—who view any desire for leniency & safety as insubordination and are living in the gray areas intentionally for profit—, you do so at your own risk. The optics are not on your side, and any profit you manage to make during this tough time will undoubtedly be used on public relations damage control.

And for the hardworking employees out there: you deserve to work in a safe environment. If you know that your company truly doesn’t fall under “essential business,” also know that your health and safety are paramount. This isn’t a normal corporate situation; this is an extreme that we’re living in right now and people need to adapt to that.

I’m truly grateful for all of your support. Keep moving forward. 🚀

***

Follow me on Twitter and LinkedIn @adammarx13 and continue to 😎 #LookForTheOrangeSunglasses.

P.S. — Leads on new jobs for my friend still greatly appreciated. To my knowledge, skills include: asset management, operations, bookkeeping, customer service, company relations, & extensive real estate experience.

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2019: A Year in Review

Last year, I took a look back at some of the things that I accomplished throughout 2018. It was a simple writing, but something which really provided some fantastic perspective.

Oftentimes, it can be all too easy to lose track of the little victories which we accumulate in pursuit of our broader goals. But for me, acknowledging these smaller steps has led to an ever-growing appreciation for the bigger picture.

And so with that, here are a few of the highlights from my 2019 year.

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January & February

I kicked the year off by sharpening my meme-making skills. 😂

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As with the last couple years, January brought me what’s become an annual picture with my friend Arlan Hamilton — the work she’s doing with her team at Backstage Capital is something I love supporting here in Atlanta. Her talk this year was no less compelling.

Adam & Arlan 2019

March

I was super excited to have my friend Emily Best here in Atlanta to discuss the work she’s doing at her company Seed&Spark, and the opportunities for the Atlanta film scene.

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“Three sibs” picture with our brother before he went abroad to Germany for six months!

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Two of my best friends in the world formally asked me to be their best man. I could not be more thrilled and am so excited to be there to support Luke and Danielle when they get married. It seems I’ll have to go rent a tux! 🤵

Best man pic

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I had an awesome time recording my first podcast as a guest on Tyler Wagner’s show, “The Business Blast Podcast”. We talked about music, startups & tech, my time as a music journalist, and how learning to build relationships has been key to all of it. 🎙️

👉 Listen to the episode here! 👈

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I did an interview with Omni Calculator for their #HuntedHunters series discussing music-tech, startups, and the importance of cultivating relationships.

👉 Read the full interview here! 👈

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Sometimes the most interesting opportunities come to you from the most serendipitous of sources. 🙃

April & May

I got retweeted by Dee Snider, the legendary lead singer of Twisted Sister! 😱

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And getting retweeted by Atlanta Magazine was kinda cool too.

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I was floored (and truly humbled!) to be name-dropped by Jessi Hempel during her interview with Recode. Formerly of BackChannel, Business Insider, Fortune, and Wired, and now the editor-at-large at LinkedIn, I’ve followed Jessi’s writing for a few years now, and it was some of the first material I gravitated towards upon my entrance into startups & tech. Sometimes in this business (as with everything in life, I suppose), you wonder if you’re making any sort of impact or impression. It’s moments like this that underscore the answer: yes. 😱

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Go out and bring the very best value you can to people; all the rest takes care of itself.

Here’s the full transcript of the interview and here’s the podcast itself. I highly suggest listening to the whole thing (I’d also recommend listening around minute 23:01 😉).

I didn’t make it to the #PitchAtlanta event at the Atlanta Tech Village, but I did make it to the afterparty where I was introduced to the incomparable David Lightburn.

Here’s a snap of the great panel I hope to hear live next year!

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The excitement continued as I became more politically active, meeting a number of rising stars. Some I took pictures with and some are people I’m quietly continuing to meet with. 🗳️

Get out there and get active!

Here I am with Georgia Senate candidate Jon Ossoff.

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And here I am with Gwinett County Board of Ed Representative Everton Blair, Jr.

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June & July

Went to a great 90s punk tribute show downtown with the bestie Abby (before her move to Ohio). This picture accurately captures our friendship. 🙌

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I could not have been prouder of my parents — their win at the 11th Circuit (in a gender discrimination case) was cited at this year’s NELA Conference in New Orleans. Huge deal with far-reaching results. ⚖️

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I met Kwam Amissah around the holiday time last year through Ruben Harris. It’s been awesome to see his growth in the tech world and exciting to hear about his current projects — here we are at Flatiron Atlanta!

(Picture taken by the incomparable Tammy Carson, whom I also met this year!) 📸

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I always love it when Career Karma CEO Ruben Harris is in town and I’m able to come out to support him. He’s doing awesome things in tech and I’m super humbled to count him as a friend & ally. 🚀

I’m also continuously thrilled by the serendipity of tech — it was at this event, heading out to support Ruben, that I had the immense pleasure of meeting Charles Pridgen, a huge asset to the Atlanta tech scene. 👍

Ruben Harris. gathering spot

Then it was time for a break for a little while. Wheels up for a couple weeks in Europe traveling with my mom — one of my best friends in the world. ✈️

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And here’s the post-flight exhaustion in the Frankfurt airport.

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First stop (same day!) — historic Mainz, Germany. The medieval history nerd in me was all kinds of happy. 🇩🇪

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August 

Next day — first full day in Germany, we went to Heidelberg. 😎

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We took in some amazing Jewish history in Worms. Here’s Mom going into a synagogue that is hundreds of years old.

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Hopping over to France, we experienced Colmar, a town in Alsace known as “Little Venice.” 🇫🇷

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We saw the Château du Haut-Kœnigsbourg in France. The medieval history nerd in me continued to geek out. 🏰

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I saw a hedgehog at our Airbnb and my life was complete.

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We stopped in Basel, Switzerland to see the synagogue. It was closed, but the architecture is amazing. 🇨🇭

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Stopped by the Jewish Museum of Switzerland in Basel before leaving the city.

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Next day brought Lauterbrunnen — it’s cold in the Alps even in the summer.

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We climbed the Schilthorn (ok, it was a cable car, but it was still 9744 feet up!). 🚠

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Jungfrau is known as the “Top of Europe” (11,333 feet). It also means snow in the summertime. 🗻

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Driving back north to Germany, we decided on a couple side-stops…

Like Vaduz, Liechtenstein! I feel like Fulton County in Atlanta is bigger than this whole country. (But it’s an awesome country!). 🇱🇮

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And dinner in Bregenz, Austria. 🇦🇹

This is my Mom, the badass master scuba-diver, Columbia-trained attorney licensed in three states, mature as can be…

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I wasn’t leaving Germany this time without seeing Augsburg. The historian in me demanded it.

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We went to see the synagogue here. Truly one of the most gorgeous synagogue interiors I’ve ever seen. They didn’t allow pictures in the sanctuary, but I will be going back sometime in my life.

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Ulm, Germany was beautiful. We took time to see some of the most popular sights.

And some of the most nondescript — here is the Holocaust Memorial behind the newly rebuilt Ulm synagogue. ✡️

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Before we did dinner in the town, we had to climb the Rothenburg city walls. Here’s Mom trying to distract me from taking a good picture because she thinks she’s funny. 😂

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While Josh finished his final exams, we took in the beautiful town of Bamberg.

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And here’s the camera capturing my face just after she tells me a ridiculous joke. 🤦‍♂️

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Last day before our flight home with Josh in the morning. Some wine in Frankfurt to celebrate a wonderful trip.

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September

Back from Europe, a week of rest, and then I so enjoyed finally having the chance to meet the phenomenal Lolita Taub in person. Gorgeous view of Baltimore in the background!

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Then over to Washington, D.C. to visit Shaina for her birthday. She makes funny faces.

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She also made me a special keychain — “one tiny fuck” as she called it.

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We hit up the Renwick Gallery in Washington, D.C. to take a peek at work from David Best (who’s most well-known for his ephemeral wooden Temples at Burning Man). 🔥

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And yes, we are very mature…

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I did an awesome interview with entrepreneur Rich Cardona which I’m excited to post in the new year! And had the immense pleasure of meeting Allen Gannett before heading back to Atlanta.

I published this piece on three things you should be doing on LinkedIn (or you’re missing out!).

And then dropped my second podcast recording as Mario Porecca’s guest on his fantastic show the “Ten Minute Mindset.” We talked about humor, humility, creating value, how to define a mission, and how to build relationships with people who might otherwise seem unreachable. 🎙️

👉 Listen to Part One of the episode here! 👈

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👉Listen to Part Two of the episode here! 👈

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Made it out to Atlanta Blockchain Week to hear about some of the great blockchain and crypto stuff happening in Atlanta tech. ⛓️

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I met Jon Ossoff again at his official Senate campaign kickoff event.

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And I met the legendary civil rights icon and hero Congressman John Lewis as well!

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October

You know it’s gonna be a good month when it starts with old college friends coming to visit — thanks Esther!

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October was an absolute marathon of Atlanta tech! I started the month off by landing access to the first-ever OTT Fest! The sheer number of talented film, tech, and media speakers over the multi-day event was incredible. 📽️

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I finally met OTT Fest founder (and newly-minted Thea CEO!) Kate Atwood in person.

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I won a Roku…from tweeting about the amazing panels… 😱🤣

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Over the same day during lunch, I raced up to Google Atlanta in Midtown and was able to see my friend Antoine Woods speak at their Founders RoadMap event.

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So I was able to add to my “Google guest” pass collection (I’ve now crossed off Atlanta, Seattle, and San Francisco ha).

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I was super excited to serendipitously hear Stefanie Jewett speak too, and finally meet her in person as well. 😃

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I was able to attend the TechStars Atlanta demo day and hear some awesome new companies pitch! 🚀

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I kept up the pace by heading out to Atlanta’s Startup Battlefield.

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I was excited to record my third podcast episode as a guest with Luke Williams on his show, the “Grab a Cloud” podcast. The episode drops early in 2020! 🎙️

And my fourth show as a guest, on Emily Velilla’s show, also releasing in the new year. 🎙️

Then I capped off October’s tech marathon by going down to my first Atlanta Startup Village event (thanks to Aly Merritt for the invite!).

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Actually that’s a lie; October’s tech marathon was really capped off with an awesome care-package from my friends over at Shrug Capital (thanks Nick and Niv!). 📦

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November

Could November begin any better than another amazing care-package from the incomparable Nikki DeMeré, who has become one of my closest friends and allies?

I don’t think so. 🤗

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I was super excited to represent my alma mater Brandeis University at the college fair this year. Once a Bradeisian, always a Brandeisian. 😎

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Back up to D.C. to spend Thanksgiving with Shaina. Can’t believe I’ve now known her for ten years. But she works for a tour company and told me some of the cool things about D.C. as we walked around. 🇺🇸

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And I introduced her to her first Philz Coffee! ☕️

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A day in Fredrick, Maryland with Shaina and Kate, two of my closest friends in the whole world. It was cold haha. And Kate’s son is adorable, even if he’s not interested in the picture. ❤️

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Met up in D.C. with my other college friend Victoria — and I was rocking my Liechtenstein shirt.

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And I started planning a short webinar with my friend Elaine Jacques — we’ll see about getting it out the door in the new year. 😉

December 

With multiple birthdays and anniversaries, December is family time.

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Met this wonderful girl a couple months back — here we are at Garden Lights at the Atlanta Botanical Gardens. Chelsea made funny faces in some pictures… 😂

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And we saw Hanson! The 90s kid in me was happy. 🎸

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December is also friends and siblings time.

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Mom couldn’t resist taking one last funny picture of me for the year. ✡️

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And of course I had to finish the year by posting my new list of “100 Independent Albums and EP’s” that people probably missed in 2019. Gotta keep the ties to the music world strong. 😉🎸

Reflecting on 2019

This was a marathon year for me. I feel as if the seeds that I sometimes serendipitously planted years ago in tech and music really began to yield amazing relationships and opportunities in 2019. And I don’t see it stopping anytime soon. I can see myself continuing to write about music, tech, relationships, mental health, business, and diversity, and so much of my inspiration is drawn from dialogues I had this year.

No plan ever survives the battlefield, and 2019 was certainly no exception to that rule. But I’ve grown as a person and as an entrepreneur, and intend to keep that trajectory moving at full force as we move into the next decade.

Bring on 2020! 🚀

(And remember to look for the orange sunglasses. 😎 😉)

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100 Awesome Independent Album and EP Releases You Probably Missed in 2019

Welcome to the FIFTH annual list of independent albums and EP’s that probably slipped under your radar this year. I’ve been in the music industry for over a decade at this point (I know right?!) and it continues to floor me just how much talent is out there.

Yet here we are again, with even more incredible music for you to sink your teeth into. One of the truest things that keeps me creating these lists year after year is the excitement I derive from the serendipitous discovery of these wide swaths of creativity. Sometimes the best artistry emerges from the best-kept secrets.  🤘🎸

Since 2015, I’ve given you lists of 100 independent albums and EP’s you probably missed during the year. Here they are:

And so, here is the 2019 list in all its glory. I’m equally excited for the new crop of artists here as well as for those returning again. A healthy helping of the content on this year’s list is from artists I’ve known for years and who continue to crank out new material. It’s all balanced by an influx of new content from new artists whom I’ll certainly be keeping tabs on into the new year.

As with all previous lists, these 100 albums and EP’s come from artists all over the world. This year’s list includes artists from: Canada, Greece, Germany, Spain, Austria, Hungary, France, almost ALL of Scandinavia (Sweden, Norway, Denmark, and Finland!), Australia, Estonia, Argentina, Mexico, the Philippines, New Zeland, Indonesia, Switzerland, Italy, Russia, Bulgaria, the U.K., Poland, and 21 different U.S. states. The independent world is massive.

It’s always interesting to see what each year brings in terms of style and genre, and this year’s list seems to heavily feature classic garage punk, pop-punk, shoegaze, alternative, metal, folk rock, and hard rock material.

With all that out of the way, here are 100 of the independent albums and EP’s that you probably missed in 2019. All were released during the 2019 calendar year.

As always, albums are in no particular order.

Remember, if you dig this and want to see more, follow me on Twitter @adammarx13 and let’s talk music, tech, and startups!

Come take a peek under the radar at the material you probably missed this year—live in my music world for a little while. 😎👍

 

1. What Happened To Us? (Vol. 1)The Head — Atlanta, Georgia, USA

What Happened to Us

2. Breathe In ColoursForever Still — Copenhagen, Denmark

Breathe in Colours

3. GhostBloody Diamonds — Toronto, Ontario, Canada

Ghost

4. I’m The ReaperThe Beautiful Monument — Melbourne, Australia

I'm The Reaper

5. Gone Off the EarthFelic — Helsinki, Finland

Gone Off the Earth

6. Far CanalFox Ache — Brisbane, Australia

Far Canal

7. EphemeralWe Are The Catalyst — Gothenburg, Sweden

Ephemeral

8. Hannah Wicklund & The Steppin Stones on Audiotree LiveHannah Wicklund & The Steppin Stones — Los Angeles, California, USA

Hannah Wicklund Live

9.  Retrospective | ReactiveHave No Clue — Esztergom, Hungary

Retrospective, Reactive

10. Mourning Vibes IIDownStater — Quebec City, Quebec, Canada

Mourning Vibes II

11. When Daughters & Sons RevoltPast Tense Of Never — Graham, North Carolina, USA

When Daughters

12. Show Me Your TeethBeth Blade and the Beautiful Disasters — Cardiff, Wales, UK

Show Me Yourth Teeth

13. The Extinction of UnicornsThe Dead Love — Sydney, Australia

The Extinction of Unicorns

14. The Wood Room SessionsJust Like Honey — New York, New York, USA

The Wood Room Sessions

15. Useless HandsRival Town — St. Catharines, Ontario, Canada

Useless Hands

16. Not So BoldDance Contraption — Grand Rapids, Michigan, USA

Not So Bold

17. Main Street RevivalMain Street Revival — Ottawa, Ontario, Canada

Main Street Revival

18. Crowned In FrostFrozen Crown — Milan, Italy

Crowned In Frost

19. Come What MayOh See Demons — Bergen, Norway

Come What May

20. How Your Life’s Played OutMontgomery — Toronto, Ontario, Canada

Howw Your Life's

21. Alone in the DarkIn Good Nature — Boston, Massachusetts, USA

Alone in the Dark

22. Brand New WorldDesert Queen — Tartu, Estonia

Brand New World

23. Asleep in the Deep EndAndross — Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, USA

Asleep In The Deep End

24. It Was BeautifulFawner — Bristol, England, UK

It Was Beautiful

25. TrayaSet Fire — Boston, Massachusetts, USA

Traya

26. Notti di FolliaOut For Summer — Moderna, Italy

Notti di Follia

27. SliceSpo — Salt Lake City, Utah, USA

Slice

28. Feeding The VoidHysteria — Dresden, Germany

Feeding the Void

29. Here & Now (EP)Dangerfield — Brisbane, Australia

Here and Now EP

30. CelebrationCityState — Holyoke, Massachusetts, USA

Celebration

31. Dream LivingLost Mind — Torrelodones, Spain

Dream Living

32. So It BeganSilvernite — Greece

So It Began

33. Bridges We Build | Bridges We BurnTeresa Banks — Helsinki, Finland

Bridges We Build, Bridges We Burn

34. SerenitySaint Raven — Salt Lake City, Utah, USA

Serenity

35. Two SidesDirty Rugs — Seattle, Washington, USA

Two Sides

36. ATERAZea Mays — Bilbao, Spain

Atera

37. LP1Clouds & Satellites — Savannah, Georgia, USA

LP1

38. Three on Three EPJack Droppers & the Best Intentions — Grand Rapids, Michigan, USA

Three on Three EP

39. CRAFTING EPCRAFTING — Wilmington, Delaware, USA

Crafting EP

40. The World ConspiresBirdeatsbaby — Brighton, England, UK

The World Conspires

41. TranscendHello, Mountain — Denver, Colorado, USA

Transcend

42. Spiral DownBlue Velvet Drapes — Los Angeles, California, USA

Spiral Down

43. RedeemerRed Handed Denial — Toronto, Ontario, Canada

Redeemer

44. MaladjustedMy Secret Haven — Warsaw, Poland

Maladjusted

45. Glitter TrailsGlitter Trails — Los Angeles, California, USA

Glitter Trails

46. MemoriasCarla Monterrubio — Mexico City, Mexico

Memorias

47. The TollDUSK — Vienna, Austria

The Toll

48. Manic EPLie to Life — Detroit, Michigan, USA

Manic EP

49. Genetic NobodiesGenetic Nobodies — Los Angeles, California, USA

Genetic Nobodies

50. Skull FlowerJohn Tessier — Paris, France

Skull Flower

51. UnbreakableKeep Flying — New Jersey, USA

Unbreakable

52. Scream In My DreamStrangers In The Attic — Zurich, Switzerland

Scream in My Dream

53. Stories in TimeTime Jugglers — Sofia, Bulgaria

Stories in Time

54. A New DawnAltHero — Santa Cruz De Tenerife, Spain

A New Dawn

55. On A FlowBreitenbach — Frankfurt, Germany

On a Flow

56. L’hameçonATHECIO — Lyon, France

L'hamecon

57. Dusky WingDusky Wing — Los Angeles, California, USA

Dusky Wing

58. PALIMONY EPPALIMONY — Gainesville, Florida, USA

Palimony EP

59. On FencesBetween Bodies — Berlin, Germany

On Fences

60. DormancyPlaying Pretend — Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, USA

Dormancy

61. Woodland RitesGreen Lung — London, England, UK

Woodland Rites

62. Peachy Keen EPGolden Cinema — Charlottetown, Prince Edward Island, Canada

Peachy Keen EP

63. ThunderjoyWest Valley Shakers — Sheridan, Oregon, USA

Thunderjoy

64. Queen of the PillThe Jackets — Bern, Switzerland

Queen of the Pill

65. After DarkPale Lips — Montreal, Quebec, Canada

After Dark

66. ErebusReturned To The Earth — Nuneaton, England, UK

Erebus

67. SchizophreniaAltersight — Saint Petersburg, Russia

Schizophrenia

68. IVOMAHA — Toronto, Ontario, Canada

IV

69. EgressTopLady  — Tulsa, Oklahoma, USA

Egress

70. Blind by MidnightDino Bravo — Burlington, Vermont, USA

Blind by Midnight

71. Cool EvilGlued — St. Louis, Missouri, USA

Cool Evil

72. StressorWine Lips — Toronto, Ontario, Canada

Stressor

73. Here It IsFragile Canyons — Minneapolis, Minnesota, USA

Here It Is

74. Feels Like ForeverPretty Bird — Indianapolis, Indiana, USA

Feels Like Forever

75. Larmes ConfettisCosmophone — Trois-Rivières, Quebec, Canada

Larmes confettis

76. UNOBlack Betty — Villa Maria, Argentina

UNO

77. The GhostwriterThe Ghostwriter — Detroit, Michigan, USA

The Ghostwriter

78. Pen NamePen Name — Canterbury, England, UK

Pen Name

79. Hoping, Not HopefulLow Vault — Baltimore, Maryland, USA

Hoping, Not Hopeful

80. Planet HunterPlanet Hunter — Wellington, New Zealand

Planet Hunter

81. Butterfly DistortionDive to Blue — Buenos Aires, Argentina

Butterfly Distortion

82. Take Her My LifeCastle Black — Brooklyn, New York, USA

Take Her My Life

83. Starburst – EPTruett & The Traitors — Springfield, Missouri, USA

Starburts EP

84. GoMoND — Bandung, Indonesia

Go

85. A War WithinEnmy — Cincinnati, Ohio, USA

A War Within

86. The Devil You KnowThe Coathangers — Atlanta, Georgia, USA

The Devil You Know

87. Manic MoodEasy Jane — Beirut, Lebanon

Manic Mood

88. DemonstrationFloral Canyon — Phoenix, Arizona, USA

Demonstration

89. ExhaleThe Sleep Department — Brooklyn, New York, USA

Exhale

90. epSoft Topics — Minneapolis, Minnesota, USA

ep

91. SPLASH – EPService Delay — Toronto, Ontario, Canada

Splash EP

92. Welcome to the BlockStonewall BLVD — Denver, Colorado, USA

Welcome to the Block

93. The New Joys E.P.The New Joys — Brooklyn, New York, USA

The New Joys EP

94. SuperfuzzSuperfuzz — A Coruña, Spain

Superfuzz

95. OvernightInsomnia — Milan, Italy

Overnight

96. EP 2019Dischord — Aix En Provence, France

EP 2019

97. Young & DumbAll In Due Time — New York, New York, USA

Young and Dumb

98. Indeed EPIndeed — Budapest, Hungary

Indeed ep

99. MuralMural — Cebu, The Philippines

Mural

100. No Missed Calls, No New MessagesThe Ragetones — Pueblo, Colorado, USA

No Missed Calls

***

If you enjoyed this list please share and give these artists some love!

If You’re Not Doing These 3 Simple Things on LinkedIn, You’re Missing Out

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Underutilized Tools! 😱

Everyone knows that LinkedIn is a highly underutilized platform and that it’s got the power to expand your network exponentially.

…Or at least that’s what we LinkedIn power-users may think sometimes.

The truth is that we who use LinkedIn daily—hourly—can sometimes develop a skewed view of how other users are utilizing the platform. We often assume that the value we see (and experience!) in LinkedIn is inherent, and as such, that it’s apparent to others in the same way.

A trend that I’ve seen lately, however, and that I’m thrilled to engage in is helping newer users “crack” LinkedIn so that they can experience the same sort of value that I and so many others do.

So, in the spirit of “sharing is caring,” here are 3 (three) dead simple things that you can and should be doing on LinkedIn.

Otherwise, you’re missing out!

 

Video 📽️

Okay, let’s get this one out of the way first. If you’re not producing video, you’re missing out.

There’s no nicer way to put it because it’s becoming a mainstay of LinkedIn content.

I’ve heard from some people that they’re nervous about using video because it may not seem “professional” enough (as compared to other LinkedIn power-users) or that they may not be comfortable in front of a camera.

To this I say: I get it and I know where you’re coming from!

I sometimes feel a little intimidated too, but the key thing to remember is that people will ultimately show up for your content because you are (hopefully) creating value for them. This is what should be driving any part of your content production strategy.

Takeaway: produce video! Even a weekly video with the right amount of passion and value is a fantastic time investment. I’d suggest trying to keep it under 1:30—I’ve found that to be about the mental timeout.

(Bonus: If you have access to LinkedIn LIVE, use it! I’m still waiting for access (hint, hint to my friends working at LinkedIn 😉), but I think it’s a great tool to really drive home your message in an authentic way when you find your rhythm.)

 

Voice Messages 🎙️

I’m still shocked that this one is so highly (criminally!) underutilized. It’s really one of LinkedIn’s best-kept secrets.

The voice message feature is only available to send through the mobile app (though you can still listen on desktop).

And It. Is. Brilliant! 🚀

Sending someone a short voice message (you have up to 60 seconds total record time) virtually guarantees that someone will open your message and listen to it. It’s basically changed how I approach new people (especially power-users I wanna connect with, hint, hint!) and communicate with new followers.

Wanna know why it’s so powerful?

Because people respond to the conversational aspect.

In my experience, I’ve found that a few key opening lines virtually guarantee that not only will that power-user listen to my message, but will often respond with a voice message of their own.

Boom! There’s the opening of a conversation that can then grow in interesting directions.

 

Comment Responses ✍️

Lastly, there is the strategy of comment responses.

Now, this strategy requires that you actually produce content on a consistent basis (daily, weekly, etc.), which, if you’re not doing…well, you need to be doing.

But this is certainly one of the easiest (if somewhat time-consuming) strategies to really up your engagement.

If you’re producing that right kind of content that engages people, you’ll hopefully be getting comments on your posts. Even a few comments is a good place to start.

So I’ll say this slowly:

Respond. To. All Of. Them.

Or as many as your poor little fingers can handle before giving out and completely falling off haha.

Responding to my comment on your post tells me that you value my input and recognize the time I took to write something. Me seeing your response makes me want to continue to engage with your other posts with more comments.

Dead simple strategy—HUGELY effective.

Oh, and something like “Thanks Adam” is a copout of a response.

Unless you’re a power-user getting thousands of comments (and if you’re reading this, you may not be there yet), you have no reason not to take 15 minutes (total, not apiece) to respond to each of the 5 comments on your post thoughtfully.

If those 5 thoughtful responses create value, then you’ve succeeded.

Don’t get hung up on the numbers; if you’re building bridges the right way, all those vanity metrics will work themselves out.

 

Bottom Line 📈

So remember, the bottom line is that these are 3 dead simple ways to increase your LinkedIn footprint precisely because they are so simple. You don’t need a large production team or thousands of followers—you just need some great ideas for content and a desire to build relationships patiently and positively.

You get to those “thousands of followers” by doubling-down on the simple things:

  1. Video
  2. Voice Messages
  3. Comment Responses

The other details will iron out in time.

Be well my friends!

Follow me on LinkedIn and Twitter at @adammarx13.

And continue to #LookForTheOrangeSunglasses! 😎

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2018: A Year in Review

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Back in January, I set a list of goals for myself this year.

It may have been a bit lofty, but I am nonetheless proud of what I got done this year. I achieved some of them, and some of them I’m reinstating for next year. But life is about more than just work goals — here are some of the highlights of my 2018. 👍

January

I opened January with a slew of great projects. I continued writing for Crunchbase News, writing more on Spotify as they approached this April direct listing. My dad then proceeded to make a joke about the direct listing — I’m still laughing. 😂

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A week later, I followed that with some interesting editing work on Andy Sparks’ new Holloway project.

January capped with a great talk from Arlan Hamilton here in Atlanta, which of course I enjoyed attending. It was great to see Arlan again and hear her backstory — “inspiring” barely begins to appropriately describe it. 🙌

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Though I didn’t publish too many Minimum Viable Network pieces this year, one of the ones I’m most proud of drew heavily on my experience during Arlan’s talk. I begin to think a lot more about the power of ubiquity.

I finally said goodbye to my iPhone 4S. 📱

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Remember that time at the Product Hunt party last year that Eric Willis was poking fun at me for still being the only person in tech with one? 😂😱

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I snagged an invite to the Atlanta Jewish Film festival — they made me wear a tie. 😱 👔

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February & March

February was slow, but in March, I took a break from Atlanta for a few days to fly up to D.C. for the gun reform march — the March for Our Lives speakers were amazing to hear in person.

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My college friend and I caught some culture at the Smithsonian.

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A week later, March ended on a high note when I had the pleasure of meeting Randi Zuckerberg following her talk at Georgia State. 👏

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April

In April, I started becoming much more vocal about harassment, diversity, inclusivity, and accessibility. I’ve been a huge supporter of Backstage Capital since I learned about their mission, and I believe equally as much in the work being done by Aileen Lee, Jenny Lefcourt, and others at AllRaise.org. I’m happy to be an ally in whatever way I can and will continue to be loud about changes which need to be made. I’m similarly inspired by and have become an ardent supporter of the work that Melinda Epler & Wayne Sutton are doing with Change Catalysts (plus their partnership with Backstage is fantastic!). 🤔

I saw some of my closest college friends in New Jersey and considered leaving tech for a future in modeling. Then reality set in. 😂

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I published my last piece on time & money before taking a long, well-deserved break from writing.

I made a meme.

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May

Right around mid-May, I hit a wall. I was having a hard time fighting past some anxiety and depression. I was having constant conversations with some of my closest friends and supporters, to whom I will always be grateful. But I realized that conversations may not be enough, and perhaps some fresh air was in order. So I took a break from Atlanta and worked on changing my perspective.

June

I flew out to the Bay Area and got to see Kiki Schirr again (she also hosted me, which means she’s a special kind of saint lol). Day 1, I had lunch with my super-patient editor Alex Wilhelm and he gave me a tour of the Crunchbase offices! 👍

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I finally got to meet Ken Yeung in person after many months of snarky Twitter comments. He’s just as snarky in person. 😱

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I drank a lot of Philz Coffee. A lot. ☕

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Coffee with Barrett Daniels, who’s become a close friend and confidant, and with Rei Wang, someone whom I think is doing fantastic work with new founders. Then got to drop by and finally meet Ruben Harris in person! 🚀

Lunch again with Adam Singer, and got to hit up his album release party! It ended up making my list of new albums this year (see below). There was a lot of snark and even more discussion about music than we normally touch on.

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I meandered down to San Jose and had lunch with Poornima Vijayashanker, who’s been both a pivotal influence on my understanding of accessibility in tech, and an amazing friend. 🤗

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I hit up Sacramento for some awesome hiking with college friends.

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July

Then came some time in Chicago, where I had some awesome pizza with fellow Crunchbse News writer Jason Rowley. He’s got great taste in pizza places. 🍕

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I hung out with a college friend I hadn’t seen in years.

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I met Cory Warfield, who’s become a close friend and mentor, and has completely turned me on to using LinkedIn in a new way. 🙌

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Got back to Atlanta just in time to go meet Emily Best— her company Seed&Spark was putting on a great event here in Atlanta. 📽

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I finally met Andrea Hernandez in person at an event here in Atlanta to promote more women in tech and business. 👏

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I saw the March for Our Lives speakers at their town hall here in Atlanta.

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I snagged tickets to *the FINAL* Warped Tour here in Atlanta. Got to see Less Than Jake, Reel Big Fish, Simple Plan, The Red Jumpsuit Apparatus, Mayday Parade, August Burns Red, and The Interrupters. 🤘🎸

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August & September

In September, I had the super pleasure of meeting Jim Augustine— COO of Zuckerberg Media— when Sue’s Tech Kitchen came to do their event in Atlanta. 👍

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I spent a lot of time thinking about anxiety & depression, and talking about how to address these issues in a much more pointed and accepting way. I am more thankful than I could really even articulate to those of my friends— especially those in the startup/tech world— who have supported me through these challenges in my own life. To Kiki Schirr, Alex Wilhelm, Jason Rowley, Christina Warren, Nikki DeMere, Poornima Vijyashanker, Adam Singer, Espree Devora, Nick Abouzeid, Bryan Landers, Cory Warfield, and numerous others who have helped me find a more positive mindset this year, I am eternally grateful. 🤔🤗🙌

October

I voted early—  there are big things coming in the near future for Georgia. 🗳

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Halloween encouraged me to wear a tie more often ha. 😉 👔

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November

Hit up New Jersey for Thanksgiving break and Kerry Flynn took me to an awesome bar! We talked tech, music, and going to school in Boston. 🤘

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Some family time at Ellis Island. This has inspired my sister to start researching our family history and in the last few weeks, we’ve all learned things we never knew!

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Then the siblings and I pretty much froze at the Statue of Liberty. 🗽

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I returned from my six-month break from writing, and damn it felt good.

I’ve been exploring new projects with some awesome people— we’ll see what picks up in the new year.

December

I doubled down on Atlanta.

And I capped off this year with my new list of “100 Independent Albums & EP’s” that you all probably missed at some point.  😎🎸

Reflecting on 2018

The second half of 2017 was extremely hard for me for a number of reasons and I tried to enter 2018 with a new mindset. Nothing ever goes 100% according to plan, and I had a couple stumbles this year. But I’ve grown my network, cultivated deeper relationships, tried to create as much value as I could, created new things, and became determined to live my life in a more positive way. None of these things happen overnight, but it’s all about the journey.

Be well all, keep moving forward!

Bring on 2019! 😎🎉

 

 

 

 

 

100 Awesome Independent Album and EP Releases You Probably Missed in 2018

Another December just about passed, and another 100 independent albums and EP’s you probably missed this year. In any artistic industry, so much of the exciting content flies quietly under the radar, except for when you know where to look for it. 🤘🎸

Since 2015, I’ve given you lists of 100 independent albums and EP’s you probably missed during the year. Here they are:

Now here comes 2018’s. I’m so stoked for the new crop of artists here, as well as for those returning again. A lot of the content on this year’s list comes from artists I’ve known for years, producing music for new projects they’ve put together recently. This is a different kind of excitement; I love seeing the evolution of these creatives.

As with all previous lists, these 100 albums and EP’s come from artists all over the world. This year’s list includes artists from: Canada, Greece, Germany, South Korea, Belarus, Austria, Singapore, France, South Africa, Sweden, Australia, Norway, Spain, Estonia, Ukraine, Italy, the U.K., Switzerland, Russia, and 22 different U.S. states. The independent world is massive.

It’s always interesting to see what each year brings in terms of style and genre, and 2018 seems to have been heavy on punk, pop-punk, alternative, instrumental, metal, and jazz-influenced material, both in terms of my personal taste and overall releases.

With all that said, here are 100 of the independent albums and EP’s that you probably missed in 2018. All were released during the 2018 calendar year. Music is multidimensional, and all these artists should be treated as such.

As always, albums are in no particular order.

Come expand your universe and live in my world for a little while. 😎👍

1. Satellites — Chelsea Shag — Atlanta, Georgia, USA

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2. Painting with Scissors — Andy Gruhin — Silver Spring, Maryland, USA

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3. Feels — Fair Panic — Wayne, New Jersey, USA

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4. Overseas — White Coven — Zaragoza, Spain

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5. Hannah Wicklund & The Steppin Stones — Hannah Wicklund & The Steppin Stones — Nashville, Tennessee, USA

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6. Dreamland — Just Like Honey — New York, New York, USA

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7. Personal Issues — Oh See Demons — Bergen, Norway

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8. My Only Hope — Adam Singer — San Francisco, California, USA

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9.  Mind Tricks — Brownstone Inc. — Graz, Austria

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10. Thriving, Given The Consequences — Soviet Ohio — Syracuse, New York, USA

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11. In Moon We TrustHālley — Paris, France

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12. What The Wreck? — Stan Stewart — Ithaca, New York, USA

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13. Poor You, Part Two — Jinxbox — Middlebury, Vermont, USA

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14. Centipede – EP — Blooming Fire — Los Angeles, California, USA

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15. The Candleman and the Curtain — The Earth and I — Warwick, New York, USA

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16. Everyone I’ve Ever LovedValleyheart — Salem, Massachusetts, USA

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17. Kingdoms — Coopertheband — Nashville, Tennessee, USA

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18. Self Titled — Alias May — Melbourne, Australia

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19. Make My Millennium — Resident One — Atlanta, Georgia, USA

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20. FunnySexyCoolHollywood Horses — Birmingham, Alabama, USA

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21. .ghostworld – EP — .ghostworld — Singapore, Singapore

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22. Heaven and Her Demons — BlackBeak — Johannesburg, South Africa

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23. Wherever That IsPanhandler — Stockholm, Sweden

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24. White Roses EP — Dream Chambers — Nashville, Tennessee, USA

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25. Soul Transfer — Emphasis — Tallin, Estonia

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26. Westline Drive EP — Westline Drive — San Francisco, California, USA

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27. EP — Lampion — Montreal, Quebec, Canada

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28. Salvation — The Penske File — Burlington, Ontario, Canada

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29. Hypnotizing Euphoria — The Who Was Phone — Zurich, Switzerland

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30. Bridges – EP — For The Fire — Indianapolis, Indiana, USA

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31. Disposition — Young Animals — St. Louis, Missouri, USA

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32. Glow In The Dark — Rachel Rose Mitchell — Melbourne, Australia

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33. Dear Beer — The Bombpops — Los Angeles, California, USA

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34. Aftermind — HighView — Canberra, Australia

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35. It’s History, It’s Poetry — Detour North — Chicago, Illinois, USA

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36. Voices in My Head — Failing Up — Los Angeles, California, USA

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37. Omega — Shades of Dissonance — Minneapolis, Minnesota, USA

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38. From the Wild Sky — Halie Loren — Eugene, Oregon, USA

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39. Up in Roses — Fever — Portland, Oregon, USA

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40. Passing Years — Looking For Alaska — Regensburg, Germany

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41. Desire Paths — Turnspit — Chicago, Illinois, USA

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42. Absolution EP — Keating — Columbus, Ohio, USA

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43. The Fallen King — Frozen Crown — Milan, Italy

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44. Heartwoken EP — The Revies — Los Angeles, California, USA

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45. Amnesiatic — ODD ROBOT — Fullerton, California, USA

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46. Everything Is Temporary — Between You & Me — Melbourne, Australia

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47. Duoyu — Duoyu — Athens, Greece

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48. Six People in a Dream — Baronaqua — Melbourne, Australia

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49. Hometown Static — Second Street — Kansas City, Missouri, USA

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50. Happy Thoughts — Midfield — Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, USA

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51. Becoming a Ghost — Becoming a Ghost — Troy, New York, USA

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52. BedtimePawn Pawn — Toledo, Ohio, USA

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53. Alliance — We Call The Shots — Phoenix, Arizona, USA

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54. Mother’s Keeper — Mother’s Keeper — Birmingham, Alabama, USA

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55. Is an EP — THIS — Buffalo, New York, USA

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56. Distraction EP — Paper Citizen — Boston, Massachusetts, USA

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57. Nostalgia — deerfield. — Syracuse, New York, USA

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58. Street Talk — Big White — Sydney, Australia

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59. For Me This Time — Analog Heart — Boston, Massachusetts, USA

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60. While We DreamLights & Motion — Gothenburg, Sweden

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61. Raw SugarL’Absence — Zaragoza, Spain

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62. TamelessBuffalo Rampage — Moscow, Russia

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63. Never Asked for It EPSorry, Scout — St. Louis, Missouri, USA

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64. Old SoulSharp Sleeves — Blacksburg, Virginia, USA

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65. Aspire — VENUES — Stuttgart, Germany

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66. From Blue to BoneMama Doom — Poughkeepsie, New York, USA

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67. Heart Whispers (EP) — Grace & the Midnight Angel — Clovis, California, USA

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68. Cirque Du SkankSkunk Funk — American Canyon, California, USA

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69. Spring Silver EP — Spring Silver — Silver Spring, Maryland, USA

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70. The View From HereStealing Home — Concord, California, USA

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71. Weird’N’ConfusedAppocaloosers — Madrid, Spain

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72. InceptionWallbangers — Nantes, France

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73. Wanderlust EPGrowling Rabbit — Minsk, Belarus

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74. Paper SaintsPaper Saints — Dallas, Texas, USA

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75. Spinneret EPJEM — Singapore, Singapore

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76. Cashmore DemosCashmore — Brisbane, Australia

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77. DakotaGo Murphy — Fargo, North Dakota, USA

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78. Categories of ColourEither/Or — Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada

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79. FacadeBoxford — Virginia Beach, Virginia, USA

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80. Casual CornerBlesst Chest — Portland, Oregon, USA

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81. Paper HeartsThe Brothers Union — Asbury Park, New Jersey, USA

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82. New RuinsCandace — Portland, Oregon, USA

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83. Growing PainEnvious View — Springfield, Missouri, USA

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84. Hangin’ On!The Glycereens — Brisbane, Australia

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85. Digital EPAnemoria — Fullerton, California, USA

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86. AgonizeSever The Ear — Gwangju, South Korea

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87. Laugh It Off!Domino & the Derelicts — San Jose, California, USA

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88. Glass BonesWolvesMouth — Voorhees, New Jersey, USA

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89. AshesLed By Lanterns — Birmingham, England, UK

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90. A Quiet Riot Vol. 1We Are Riot — Bremen, Germany

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91. Membership DuesSad Girlz Club — San Francisco, California, USA

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92. Broken CodesIn Parallel — Nashville, Tennessee, USA

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93. The Deep Sleep — Unveil — Sherebrooke, Quebec, Canada

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94. The NexstoneThe Nexstone — Kramatorsk, Ukraine

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95. Comfort Zone — Superhaunted — Miami, Florida, USA

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96. Fault Lines EPAeve Ribbons — Manchester, England, UK

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97. Visions EP — Noise Maze — Udine, Italy

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98.The Outer Space (EP)Fallcie — Saint Petersburg, Russia

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99. JarenJenn’s Apartment — Lansing, Michigan, USA

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100. Nothing LeftMy Favorite Fault — Moscow, Russia

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***

If you enjoyed this please share, and feel free to Tweet me. Let’s talk music and tech!

Atlanta: Signs of the Next Major Tech Hub

Atlanta, Georgia, USA downtown skyline.

The Question

Almost two full years ago, in January of 2017, Ryan Hoover asked me what the tech scene in Atlanta was like. I was in San Francisco, and had flown across the country (on a very cheap ticket!) to attend Product Hunt’s celebration party following its AngelList acquisition. We were hanging out on the upper floor of the venue, me, trying to look like I belonged there, and he, casually leaning against a wall, gratefully shaking hands with everyone who wanted a picture with him.

I was actually caught off guard a bit because, frankly, I didn’t know too much about the Atlanta tech scene at the time. I’d grown up here, but left for college in Boston, and if I’m being honest, I only meandered back here after school because of family & the post-college reality of starting a company with essentially no money. As much as I enjoyed my childhood, I’ve never been much of an “Atlanta guy” — I’m a Mets & Red Sox fan (for the rare times I watch sports), I like the cold, and I yearn for the deadpan, brash humor of the Northeast. But I recognized financial reality and made the best of my situation.

The truth was that I hadn’t really invested much time or effort into exploring the Atlanta tech scene. I was head-down working on my music startup, so I was spending more time wiring myself up in the music industry than the startup world. Additionally, everything in 2014-2017 was (or seemed to be) San Francisco, New York, L.A., or Seattle, and that’s where my head was too. I figured it was only a matter of time until I left Atlanta.

From Bust to Boom

Part of the frustration I felt personally during this period was how the tech scene here felt & the tech press seemed to view Atlanta after Yik Yak’s failure: “well we tried, but Atlanta’s not ready for real tech investment yet,” despite our having TechStars, MailChimp, and Calendly, among others. This coupled with “go to California, that’s where all the money is” mentality.

But things change. Calendly has grown. MailChimp is a bona fide unicorn. Salesforce is building Salesforce Tower downtown. And now, Walker & Company Brands is moving here, following their sale to Procter & Gamble. And these are just the names many people are familiar with; there are others, blooming down at the Tech Village, scattered around Buckhead and Midtown, popping up around Tech Square, and nesting outside the Perimeter (OTP) in Dunwoody and Sandy Springs.

On the Cusp

Atlanta is fast becoming a tech hub for crypto, SaaS, and media startups. Yet it’s still not mentioned in the same breath as Austin or Denver. Why this is could be a topic for debate, but what ultimately matters is that 2019 will bring a new sense of tech startup intrigue to Atlanta. Warm weather, affordable housing, and ready pools of talent from at least 5 major universities in town (Emory, Georgia Tech, Georgia State, Spelman, & Morehouse) — not to mentioned UGA just over an hour away — are some of the unavoidable perks of the city.  And, we’ll begin the year on the tail of a major acquisition coup.

What’s missing — at the moment — is the same sort of starry-eyed, dare-to-dream-it dynamic which pervades tech in SF and NYC. Yes, we have SaaS meetups, startup chowdowns, and interesting groups which meet in the rooms of the Tech Village.

But what we really need to invest in are the more abstract, informal meetups, dinners, and coffee-shop interactions which don’t require reserving a room or having a planned discussion for each get-together. It’s these more abstract, informal dynamics which will generate some of the most exciting ideas, build reputations & relationships, and draw investment to the city in a way that’s more representative of the “dare to dream, go for broke” feel of Silicon Valley.

The Next Crop

As with everything, there will rise a set of core voices and personalities who help shape this new era of tech in Atlanta. They will be the people who just “seem to be everywhere,” seem to know everyone, and have a vision for how to transform the city in the next 5-10 years. It will be interesting to see who’s included on this short list.

I expect that we will soon be seeing more tech conferences here as this new mentality sets in. And while I may not start rooting for the Braves anytime soon, I will nonetheless have my eyes peeled for this group of individuals with the vision to make Atlanta the next great tech hub.

I’m a Writer—Here’s Why I’ve Taken a Six-Month Break From Writing

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The Writer’s Rub

It’s been about half a year since my last real essay or post. I took almost the entire summer and autumn off from writing full-length essays, response posts, and even shorter thought pieces. It feels—and maybe seems—that the only things I’ve been writing this summer have been tweets and LinkedIn posts.

This might seem odd for a writer—after all, writers are supposed to write consistently and be able to produce high-level content with each topic they cover. But here’s the rub; writers are also human. We hit walls, experience burnout, and need breaks like everyone else—especially those who are motivated to produce content at break-neck speed.

And damn was I burned out.

Where Startups and Writing Diverge

In startups and tech development, there’s the notion of “ship early and often.” It doesn’t matter if the first version has bugs (it will always have bugs) or if it’s a little unfocused; there’s time to fix all that junk later. The important thing is shipping, and your perfectionism is holding you back.

The same cannot (and in my opinion, should not) be said of writing. Yes, if you’re a writer or content producer you should employ every tool at your disposal to produce content at a consistent pace. But the “bugs” that exist in writing are a different breed than those of the “ship early, ship often” startup world; pieces aren’t supposed to go out sloppily written, half-focused, and “all over the place” as my mom would say. They’re supposed to be tight and bullet-proof, however you define that. In some ways, Alexis Ohanian addressed this issue in tech recently with his statements on “hustle porn.

Don’t Be Forgettable; Be Magnetic

To maintain this self-defined standard, sometimes the answer is that you simply can’t consistently produce at break-neck speed; sometimes you need a break to recharge and find new ideas and motivation. This is the frustrating, unsexy aspect of writing. It’s what happens behind your closed mental doors, and perhaps the thing that has the potential to make you feel like you’re “not a real writer.”

Stave off this thought and instead focus your energy on recharging. Come back to the writing when you have something real to say. People can always tell when you’re writing just for the sake of filling a quota.

Spoiler alert: that kind of writing is boring and ultimately forgettable. Don’t be forgettable; be magnetic.

All of this is to say that it feels damn good to be back. 😎👍