Digital Media's Increasing Importance in a Growing Ecosystem
Middle Tech was created to elevate culture and advance the business ecosystem in Kentucky. We believe media is essential when creating a successful culture and business ecosystem because it is easily consumed, easily shared, and evergreen. Evan Knowles and Nate Antetomaso started Middle Tech when they noticed digital media around the business community was being done very poorly in Kentucky. At the time they were working at Fooji, one of the state's hottest tech startups, where they were able to gain first-hand experience with digital media by working directly with the world's top media brands like Twitter, Disney, Fox, Netflix, Viacom, and the NBA. Evan and Nate believed that if anyone was going to set an example by starting a new media brand in Kentucky, it had to be them.
If you look at the top brands in the world, they are thriving because of their strong digital media strategies. This is especially true during COVID when physical experiences are not an option. People can’t physically go shopping or eat at restaurants the way they are used to so they have increasingly turned to digital experiences. The same goes for members of the startup community where events and networking have gone digital. This has been a major shift and we believe it is for the best. It will be a shock to the system, but in the long run, this is going to help the ecosystem grow by showing what has been missing. We wanted to explore the importance of digital media in the startup ecosystem and contrast it with the in-person events we all know so well.
After being a part of the ecosystem for 5 years now and thinking extensively about ways it can improve, we believe it is impossible for the ecosystem to grow as fast as we want it to unless there is more digital media in this region. Here is our claim: in-person events do not grow the ecosystem. Media grows it. That isn’t to say in-person events don’t provide critical value, but robust digital media is essential.
Let us paint the picture… Someone outside the ecosystem might have a friend they didn’t know was a part of the startup ecosystem and that friend might share some content on Instagram or Facebook related to the ecosystem. That content might get them interested enough to explore some more. After exploring more, they might realize there is something for everyone in this community. They then notice there is an event like Awesome Inc’s 5 Across coming up that interests them. They sign up and have a great time. At the event, they meet some great founders and people supporting those founders, but that event ends after an hour or two… They go home and are back on Instagram consuming more content and see some startups and founders that interest them so at the next event they seek those people out and meet them in person. Next thing they know, they have developed several relationships and they are now an engaged member ecosystem.
The chances of the person above becoming engaged in the startup community without digital media are very slim, or even zero. Digital media attracted them and kept them engaged. The in-person events deepened their roots and helped them build stronger relationships.
So what does digital media look like? It's podcasts, YouTube videos, blogs, and social content. It's content that tells a story, provides unique insights, inspires, and educates the audience. Anything that allows the person consuming that content to get a taste of what is going on in the ecosystem or get a taste of what it is like to be an entrepreneur is what this region needs. Right now, the vast majority of digital media is missing the mark. It has to be media that gets people intellectually vested in what is happening. Media for the sake of being media. We want to challenge more people to produce this kind of content! We have some major goals and plans to continue what we have been doing and so much more, so if you have questions or want to help, please reach out. We'd love to connect.
We hope this helps everyone realize the role media like Middle Tech plays in the community and we hope we can get back to in-person events soon because they are both essential!