I had a fun lunch with Drew Ermenc from Catalyst Magazine last week. Our office is actually upstairs from theirs, so it was pretty convenient. Among the many things we talked about was the status of “rockstar entrepreneurs” here in Atlanta. Specifically, they are working on some events for later in the year, and were trying to put together a list of entrepreneurs that would make great panelists and/or speakers.
I was asked if I could suggest some “rockstar” caliber entrepreneurs that they could engage here in Atlanta (or Georgia). Ideally, this would be someone who was currently enjoying a great deal of success, and who also had “name recognition”. Obviously, the combination lends itself to “street cred”, and the ability to draw enough people to fill a venue.
I thought about it for a few minutes, and I must admit, I was a little stuck. I mentally sifted through a few dozen names, but they generally fell into one of the following buckets:
If I were to plot this as a distribution curve, there are lots of people on either side of the bell (the long tail!), but not many people inside of the sweet spot (currency/relevant now, street cred, success, etc.)
The only name that really jumped out at me was Mitch Free from MFG.com. MFG went from being bootstrapped from an Excel spreadsheet/sneaker-ware marketplace to an international B2B player backed by Jeff Bezos. And they are still going strong.
Who am I missing?
While I think there may be some gaps now, this won’t always be the case. I think in the next few years we’ll have a new wave of rockstars that will emerge from what is happening here now. But boy, if we were to hold a Woodstock and try to populate it with current Rockstars in Georgia, it wouldn’t be a terribly long show.