How Tweeting Led to Heading Up a Track for TechStars’ Atlanta Startup Week

My chat with LinkedIn influencers Dale Dupree and Judi Fox

TL;DR

This is the somewhat brief story of how a few tweets led to an incredible summer of helping to build and launch TechStars’ Atlanta inaugural Startup Week.

I’ve made it as short as possible without skimping on the details of the people who made this all doable. I included the other team captains as well, though to detail their respective speakers would certainly take a further article.

For me, though, I tried to give a full rundown and sampling of what the Tech/Fintech track put together for that week, including promo graphics and links to (most of!) the videos—the last few should be uploaded soon!

Sorry the TL;DR was still long anyway lol. 😆🚀

A Few Tweets

In October of last year, I found myself at OTT Fest here in Atlanta, tweeting about some of the great presentations and speakers I was seeing that week. It was before Covid turned our lives upside-down—hard to remember, I know—and at the time, I couldn’t have seen where it would lead. In fact, the biggest surprise at the time was that some of my tweets eventually led to winning a Roku by accident

But one of the other happy side-effects of my tweets was running into Aly Merritt of SalesLoft in the same hashtag conversations of the event. Being a film-oriented event, most people were engaging with Instagram or Tik Tok as opposed to Twitter. We struck up a brief conversation first in the comments, and then via DM, discussing the things we enjoyed about the event from the techie angle. After the day was over, I mentioned we should keep the dialogue going. We did, meeting for coffee a couple weeks later—again, pre-Corona—discussing tech startups and whatnot. Then the year ended and we agreed to circle back in 2020.

Getting the Call

In February of this year, just as I was back from Colorado and before the pandemic would turn the world on its head, Aly and I hopped on a zoom call; I thought to talk more about the Atlanta tech scene. Aly, however, had a unique and totally unexpected proposition for me. Under the covers at the time, she was working with TechStars Atlanta to help launch their first Startup Week and lead the Tech/Fintech track. The work was definitely a two-person job, though, and she mentioned she wanted to bring me in as a co-captain to work together if I was interested.

So…was I interested?

I didn’t have to be asked twice—how could I pass up an opportunity like this? Especially one that seemed to come so out of the blue.

Later on in the conversation, she mentioned her reasoning:

“You have a massive network on Twitter and on LinkedIn—I told TechStars that could bring some incredible value.”

An hour later at dinner, I had to take a mental step back and reflect on where the hell I was compared to the start of the day and how the hell I’d gotten there.

That morning, I’d hoped that our scheduled zoom call would lead to another; one consistent conversation at a time is my networking philosophy. Methodical and consistent value creation and authenticity—that’s what had built prior relationships and what would build this one. Instead—or perhaps, in addition to..?—I was now working on a long-term project for TechStars, co-captaining with one of the best networkers in the Atlanta tech scene (which she still is!). All of which had seemingly dropped in my lap as a result of some tweets months ago and a reputation that I hoped was growing, but never thought at the time had expanded so far. 

Why do I harp on this?

Because the proof is in the pudding, as my mom would say. Relationships take time and patience. And life is relationships. 

Because even when Covid hit hard and required us—all the team captains, TechStars, sponsors, and potential speakers—to reevaluate and roll with the punches, we found a way to pull together and put on a phenomenal program. Sometimes unexpected things throw initial plans out the window, but when you’re working with talented and determined people, you find ways to create positive value all around.  

Before I go any further, I want to make special mention of Kylan Kester (Lead Organizer), Eli Becerril (TechStars contact), De’Havia Stewart (Track Captain Lead), and Ronan Roche (TechStars contact) who were our conduits at TechStars and who all did an incredible job helping Aly & myself (and all the other track captains!) coordinate to put on a fantastic event. 

So we—and all the other team captains and TechStars folks—worked through the summer against a new November deadline. To their credit, the behind-the-scenes people at TechStars reworked the entire backend of the program to go 100% virtual. So often we don’t think about the amount of work that goes into that reworking, but coming from the music world I know what it looks like behind the curtain to get a show done right, so kudos to the team there. 

Goals & Breakdown

Working with Aly, we put together what I considered to be a truly exciting and bang-up list of speakers. Importantly, and absolutely worth mentioning, one key thing that Aly and I set out to do from day one was construct a speaker list that reflected what we both believe that tech should (and does) look like; that means we made a conscious effort to have a diverse set of panels and perspectives. I’m immensely proud to have had a hand in creating panels that heavily represented female founders/VCs as well as those who identify as POC. Next year I hope we can outdo ourselves and bring in even more diverse groups and perspectives.

Let me take a quick aside and mention that I’m no statistician, so there are numerous cross-demographics at play here which I’m frankly not gifted in statistics enough to properly record.

For the entire Tech/Fintech track, we broke down as:

50% male; 50% female (!)

70% white; 30% POC — This is clearly an area that we can & will do better on next year.

Interestingly enough, though, of the POC demographic, 62% were women of color. 

Were we perfect? No. But will that dampen our drive to continue to do better? Also no; we’re more driven every day. Why am I spending time to break down some simple numbers? Because unless we have the conversations about our goals and where we are, we never get to where we should be. 

Diversity builds better businesses.

The Rundown

Monday

For the Tech/Fintech track, we divided the week into daily themes: HR & Legal (Monday), Media & PR (Tuesday), Funding & Partnering (Wednesday), Design & Development (Thursday), and Branding & Marketing (Friday). And damn if I’m not proud of the programming blocks we were able to put together. TechStars was good enough to record all of the live panels & talks, and you can watch them below!

**(We’re still waiting for 3 more to be edited & uploaded, including the panel I ran on Tuesday, so I’ll be sure to update as soon as I have those too!)

What’s the Big Idea?: Navigating Common Intellectual Property Challenges

Featuring: Rusty Close (Troutman Pepper)

On Monday, November 9th, we kicked it off in the morning with Rusty Close of Troutman Pepper discussing intellectual property law and patents within the context of the startup world. He did a terrific job underscoring how IP should be handled from the outset. Often it’s the intellectual property factor which can lead to a dispute between cofounders and potentially lead to an implosion, and Rusty’s talk discussed great ways to try to preempt this headache.

Rusty Close

Dead on Arrival: Avoiding Legal Mistakes That Could Kill Your Startup

Featuring: Jack A. Donenfeld (Boomtown Accelerators)

Then we had Jack A. Donenfeld from Boomtown Accelerators discuss some of the common pitfalls that startups should be aware of and avoid. Jack gave an awesome & detailed powerpoint presentation on some of the legal mistakes that he sees daily in his work with startups. Some of Jack’s suggestions are so critical precisely because they are seemingly so common, and his guidance was a great addition to Monday’s schedule!

Jack A. Donenfeld

HR Empowerment: The Cost of Good Company Culture

Featuring: Stefanie Jewett, moderator (Activvely; formerly CNN), Jeannie Marx (Marx & Marx, LLC), & Elaine Jacques (Executive coach & LinkedIn influencer; formerly Frito-Lay)

We wrapped up Monday with a killer panel which I heard got immensely positive feedback. Moderated by my good friend Stefanie Jewett—well-known here in Atlanta—and featuring LinkedIn influencer Elaine Jacques as well as my own Mom, Marx & Marx partner Jeannie Marx, this afternoon panel discussed the cost of good company culture, especially when the murky waters are difficult to navigate. Elaine and my Mom broke down some of the most common situations that often go unaddressed by HR and how to address them so you don’t end up on the opposite side of the table from my parents’ firm in a sexual harassment or discrimination lawsuit. We talk so much in tech about good company culture; this is how we ensure that we walk the talk.

Stefanie Jewett, Jeannie Marx, & Elaine Jacques

Tuesday

Tuesday, November 10th was no less busy. We had a spirited discussion in the morning with some of the biggest names in tech journalism and I had an awesome time leading my own panel in the afternoon around networking & reputation-building.

Almost Famous: How Tech Journalists Determine the Companies on Their Radars

Featuring: Mike Murphy, moderator (Protocol; formerly Quartz), Alex Wilhelm (TechCrunch editor; formerly Crunchbase News & Mattermark), Mary Ann Azevedo (FinLedger; formerly Crunchbase News), & Jason Rowley (Golden; formerly Crunchbase News & Mattermark)

As a writer and sometimes-journalist myself, I always wonder how my peers determine the companies that they like to keep on their radars. Yes, there are always the big companies with their newest fundraises, but I wanted to know how a smaller company might creep onto a journalist’s radar—and how it could stay there. This panel began as a question in my mind as to how new founders might be able to approach tech journalists in more mutually beneficial ways.

Mike Murphy, Alex Wilhelm, Mary Ann Azevedo, & Jason Rowley

Brick by Humble Brick: Building an Influential Network from Scratch

Featuring: Adam Marx (me 😄), moderator (The Zero to One Networker; formerly CEO at Glipple; Crunchbase News, Mattermark, & Startup Grind), Cory Warfield (ShedWool, CorryConnects, & LinkedIn influencer), Kate Atwood (LoCo+, Kate’s Club, & OTT Fest), & Jake Tital (Sproutways).


I hear so much discussion about how to properly (or not) develop a good network and if accelerators are necessary in doing so. For the record, I think accelerators are a fantastic resource and they certainly facilitate a number of the strategies. But for people who don’t have access to that option, there are indeed ways to construct a broad and influential network from scratch. In this panel, I talked with a number of influencers—and close friends!—about how strategies like patience, humility, and value creation can really build concrete networks seemingly out of nothing. In effect, this is how I built my network in tech and what the concept of the Zero to One Networker is all about!

(Link coming soon!)

Wednesday

Wednesday, November 11th began with a bang and we heard some amazing viewpoints from fundraising and IPO experts all day. Our panelists included some of the most well-known names in Atlanta tech, both on the funding side and the founder side!

The IPO Show

Featuring: Kunbi Tinuoye, moderator (UrbanGeekz; Advisory Board at CES and SXSW) & Barrett Daniels (IPO expert; formerly SoftBank & Next Step IPO)

Out of the gate we talked IPOs and pro/con assessments. Kunbi and Barrett had a killer discussion on the whole IPO process, breaking down some of the mystique and weighing if and when it’s actually a good idea. In startups we’re so often faced with news of impending IPOs that it behooves us to take a step back every once and a while and assess whether it really is the right strategy for our companies. Some of the perspectives dropped here are must-hear perspectives on the IPO reality.

Barrett Daniels & Kunbi Tinuoye

Building a $1B+ Enterprise: The Story of SalesLoft

Featuring: Holly Beilin, moderator (EngageVC; formerly Hypepotamus) & Kyle Porter (SalesLoft)

In the middle of the day, we were able to have an invaluable pre-lunch session with SalesLoft founder & CEO Kyle Porter and Holly Beilin (who for the record, is a killer tech writer here in Atlanta!). Kyle broke down the basic components of how Salesloft got off the ground and indicated some of the key tactics that could help other founders build a massively successful B2B SaaS company. It was great to hear some of the more nuanced portions of Kyle’s journey; full credit to Aly for setting this block up!

Kyle Porter & Holly Beilin

Show Me the Money: What to Know About Funding and How to Raise Capital

Featuring: Asia Orangio, moderator (DemandMaven), Karen Houghton (Atlanta Ventures & Atlanta Tech Village), Jen Bonnett (The Creative Coast & Savannah Economic Development Authority), & Charlton Cunningham (HBCUvc)

And we capped Wednesday with a killer discussion from some of the most well-known funding names in the Atlanta tech scene. Moderated by the incomparable Asia Orangio, the knowledge dropped by Karen, Jen and Charlton was almost a how-to regarding fundraising presented by a who’s who of Atlanta knowhow. Definitely one of the panels we were thrilled to have on-board, and again, credit due to Aly for taking the reins here to pull together a magnetic discussion.

(Link coming soon!)

Thursday

Thursday, November 12th was one of the only times we ran into minor technical issues—pretty good for a virtual tech event! Initially, we had Ruben Harris and Erica Stanley scheduled in the morning, but technical glitches moved their talk on non-traditional paths to engineering to Friday (we were so grateful for their flexibility and understanding!). So we moved on to a phenomenal discussion later in the day on the no-code movement, hearing from two no-code influencers!

Speak in No-Code: The New Movement

Featuring: KP (Karthik Puvvada) (On Deck & No-Code influencer) & Lacey Kesler (Women in No-Code, No-Code community at IndieHackers & the Visual developers Podcast)

No-code is blowing up, especially here in Atlanta. That was my line of thinking when I worked with Aly to recruit KP and Lacey Kesler—two of the leading voices in no-code—to have a discussion about the new movement. Their discussion of the possibilities of new no-code applications, as well as the potential for growth of the no-code communities, made this dialogue immensely engaging. Having known KP for years now, it’s been especially intriguing to see the focus he’s helped bring to no-code in Atlanta!

(Link coming soon!)

Friday

Friday, November 13th was our wrap-up day for the event, but no less busy or engaging! Aly and I were immensely grateful that Ruben Harris and Erica Stanley took time out of their schedules (again!) to come back and have a chat about non-traditional engineering after some minor technical glitches on Thursday. Their talk seems especially timely given Career Karma’s new Series A raise! Then in the late morning we switched gears and focused on branding and marketing strategies that can expand your sales funnel. Not a bad way to end a week of great content!

The Code Less Traveled: Non-Traditional Paths to Being an Engineer

Featuring: Ruben Harris (Career Karma & Breaking Into Startups) & Erica Stanley (Mozilla & Refactr)

Despite some minor tech glitches, Ruben and Erica generously came back Friday morning to kick off our last day with a killer chat. They covered topics like education and non-traditional paths to landing an engineering job. Whether at a startup or large company, with the pandemic making distributed work especially necessary, more and more people are looking for ways to get their foot in the engineering door. Their talk seems especially timely given Career Karma’s new Series A raise!

Ruben Harris & Erica Stanley

Appetite for Construction: Building a Brand for Your Sales Funnel

Featuring: Judi Fox (Executive coach & LinkedIn influencer) & Dale Dupree (The Sales Rebellion, Selling Local Podcast, & LinkedIn influencer), &….surprisingly me haha! (See Tuesday’s details; I was able to hop into this conversation at the last minute and I’m glad I did!)

Then we switched gears and dove right into branding & marketing with Dale and Judi, two super well-known influencers and branding experts on LinkedIn. In a funny twist of serendipity, they invited me to join their live chat and we discussed the dynamics of great networking (see my previous Tuesday panel 😄) against the dynamics of positive branding and successful marketing. Couldn’t have asked for a better discussion to be a part of on the last day!

Judi Fox, Dale Dupree & Me

Brand + Go to Market Strategies: Your Most Valuable Asset

Featuring: Tami McQueen (31south & B2B SaaS advisor)

We wrapped up TechStars’ Atlanta Startup Week with a brilliant presentation from Tami McQueen, well-known in the Atlanta startup community. Her discussion around go-to-market strategies within one’s branding provided great, actionable content that guests hopefully came away with!

Tami McQueen

Looking Forward to the Next Atlanta Startup Week

Lastly, I want to give recognition to all the other amazing track captains that were doing work simultaneously as Aly & I put our own speaker list together. 

Track: Corporate Innovation

Captains: Anita Morea, Noelle London, & Travis Kupp

Track: Creative Industries

Captains: Delroy Dennisur, Sheyoki Jones, Paul Ford, & Shayne Veramallay

Track: Entertainment/Sports

Captain: Ryan Bell

Track: Social Impact

Captains: Sydney Hulebak & Unshu Biyani

Track: Inclusive Innovation

Captains: Blanca Garcia & Joey Womack 

Side-note: I was also super humbled to be invited by Joey to speak about networking (my segment starts at 5:23:00) at his Goodie Nation virtual #GivingTuesday event a few weeks later!

Promo for my #GivingTuesday chat with Goodie Nation!

As well as Riya Santra (Technology Lead), Briana Wills (Partner & Sponsorship Lead), Nolan Jones (Budgeting Lead), Anjali Bhole (Marketing Lead), Carlos Pacheco (graphics and design), & Ryan Peppenhorst (Traffic Controller). 

And certainly to our corporate sponsor for the Tech/Fintech track, Invesco

I’m excited to see what the long-term feedback will be on all of the speakers and panels; I definitely think that TechStars will continue to see engagement on the content in the coming months. As we speak, I’m drafting out some emails to send out to the TechStars people after the holiday season to see how we can continue to get these high-quality talks in front of new founders & VCs who would surely appreciate them. 2020 was a hard year indeed, but this was certainly one of the bright spots for me. I added numerous positive and inspirational people to my network, created some (hopefully) killer content, and learned a boatload from a variety of experts across an array of disciplines. 

I’m looking forward to next year and hoping we can top it all in 2021. 

Have a great New Years!

*****

Want more networking and branding tips? Follow me @adammarx13 on Twitter, LinkedIn, etc.

And take a peek at my new initiative, The Zero To One Networker!

Promo from Simon Squibb’s Podcast!

Just #LookForTheOrangeSunglasses. 😎

If you’re looking to have more conversations around networking and building concrete relationships, ping me and let’s chat! I’m looking forward to picking up new clients and recording more podcasts in the new year. Anyone can be a powerhouse networker—that’s my philosophy behind the Zero To One Networker. 🚀

I’d love to be on your podcast so let’s chat! 🎙️

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.

lake

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.

food

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!

pitch atlanta

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. ⚖️

NELA

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!) 📸

Kwam flatiron

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. ✈️

pre-flight

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

post flight

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

Mainze

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.

worms

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

colmar

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

chateau

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

hedge

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

synagogue

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

museum

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!). 🚠

schiltorn

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

jungfrau

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!). 🇱🇮

liech

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…

austria

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

Augsburg

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.

synagogue augs

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. ✡️

Uln

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. 😂

rotenburg

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. 🤦‍♂️

bamberg

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

frank

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!

Lolita

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). 🔥

burning man

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! 👈

10min mindset

👉Listen to Part Two of the episode here! 👈

powerful

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. 📽️

OTT

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

kate atwood

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

roku

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.

woods

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!).

village

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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2018: A New Year with New Goals

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Perhaps the last picture I’ll post with my trusty iPhone 4S

2017 is over and 2018 is now here. That’s a good thing; last year was a tough one. A few very close relationships ended, and after a few years, I closed my first company. But I also learned that there is life after failure.

So here we are now in the new year, and I’m excited to start working on a bunch of new things. Here are some of the things you’ll see from me in 2018: 

  • 😎 🎸 I’m working on a new music project (company? 😎 ). That’s right — after a badly needed six-month hiatus (maybe longer?) from actually running a music-startup, I’m gathering feedback on a new idea which is incredibly exciting. So far, feedback has been very positive. Discussions with a select number of artists as well as a few journalists, founders, and confidants have yielded an ever-clearer perspective on how this can grow. I’m excited to read more people into this as the year progresses.
  • 📝 I’m working on editing a very special document that I’m extremely excited to finish. I’m a word-nerd, and in editing this piece, I can honestly say it’s been one of the most challenging and rewarding things I’ve done in my professional writing career.
  • 📝 🤘 I have an avalanche of new music articles written and in the works which I can’t wait to see published. Some of these will shake things up (I hope), but hey, what’s the point of being a music journalist if you’re not a little punk about it? 
  • 📝 📽️ I’m working on writing a rough draft of a screenplay (no, really!). Last year, I was kicking around an idea which I thought could be fun to work on, and over the last week, I’ve started mapping out characters and basic scene dialogue. I’ve never done a screenplay, so I am more than happy to have collaborators!
  • 🙋 🙋‍♂️ 🙌 🤝 I will start driving harder towards being more central to the discussions on sexual harassment and how to fix the issues we have before us. This is less of a “me” thing, and more something I am incredibly passionate about; I am open to collaborating with anyone on projects which will help with the goals of creating a paradigm with more meritocracy, equality, and egalitarianism. 
  • 😎 🎙️ I’m incredibly excited (and flattered) to have an invitation to be on a few podcasts starting this year — because I don’t talk enough as it is ha!
  • 🤔 📝 I’m working on plans for a new guide which will (hopefully) excite word-smiths everywhere; more on this project in the coming months. 
  • 📝 📖 I’m writing a pseudo-review of a book I’ve been reading which has changed my perspective on so many things, and has similarly confirmed a lot of the mantras which I try to live my life by. This will be out by the end of January.
  • 📝 🤝 I will be releasing many new articles in my Minimum Viable Network series.
  • 🎸 😉 I’ll be doing more work with artists (some have asked me to manage ha!) — maybe there’s a producer-credit in my future.  
  • 🤔 📖  There are a few of my past articles which I have been toying with revising into a rough pitch for a book. Let’s see what the year brings. 
  • 😄 I will be exploring more speaking opportunities.
  • 😎 🤘With the 2017 list out, I’m ready to start working on the new “100 Awesome Independent Album and EP Releases You Probably Missed” list for 2018.
  • 😄 🙌 I’m excited to start having * Many * More * Conversations * — I’m all about creating new things, and I look forward to picking up new projects throughout the new year, both with current partners in crime and new draftees.

Thank you to everyone who helped me pull through 2017. Your support means more than you know. Now, on to 2018!

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Find me on Twitter @adammarx13 and let’s talk music, tech, and business!