Title: Brewing Your Village: TEDx Hampton Roads talk by Zack Miller of Hatch
About this video: Zack Miller is the unofficial “emcee” of Norfolk, and innovative accelerator for business in Hampton Roads. Founder of Hatch as well as Start, he has led the charge in building community through innovation. His message is a unique perspective on how to keep momentum and progress as a region with strength.
About TEDx: The TEDx Program is designed to help communities, organizations and individuals to spark conversation and connection through local TED-like experiences.
At TEDx events, a screening of TED Talks videos — or a combination of live presenters and TED Talks videos — sparks deep conversation and connections at the local level. TEDx events are planned and coordinated independently, under a free license granted by TED.
Links in Video: https://startwithhatch.com/1000-four
Mike Savage: Now, some of you are very familiar with the next gentleman we’re going to bring up. He’s an innovator. He’s got an incubator downtown where he helps to grow local businesses and provide them with resources and the collaboration that they really need to grow. He’s a big fan of growing your community and he’s got some cool ways that he believes that we can grow community. There’s also a stern warning on the flip side if we don’t pay attention. I want you to listen closely because it’s going to be a tipping point in the day where we start to look at a different perspective of what it means to be collaborative and what it might cost us if we don’t. Here to talk about what we’re going to do to brew our economy, brew our community, our good friend from, Mr. Zack Miller. Give him a hand.
Zack Miller: Thanks man. Good afternoon. How are you guys doing? All right. You guys are just excited because you guys are up in the next hour, all right. Today we’re going to talk about brewing your village. Yes, that’s a reference to alcohol specifically in this region. What city is this? There’s another view. It’s Detroit. Detroit has a big 3 in the automobile industry. Over the years they’ve had up to 90% of their economy be based in that industry. We all know what happened to Detroit. Very, very bad things. The economy went down and last year they went bankrupt because they did not diversify their economy.
Detroit’s on the top. Our area skyline on the bottom. Detroit 2.0 can be here. Why you ask? We have a big 3, which is about 90% of our economy as well. Tourism, military, imports. Since 9-11 alone, our defense dollars have actually increased 12%. Instead of diversifying since 9-11, we’ve gone from about 35% to about 47% of our economy based on defense dollars. Think about that number. In our state alone, 14 of the top 20 largest employers are from the public sector. In our region, 70%. That means that we do not have diversification and relying on government dollars to build our economies.
Historically the way that we bring new business to the area is something that we call whale hunting where we have economic development alliances go out and try to attract large companies to come and move and relocate to our area. At one time that might have worked, but in 2014, this whale hunting if you will does not work. They’re going for home runs instead of organically building your community or one hit wonders if you will. Yeah that’s the macarena. You guys no how to do it? Come on. Instead what we should be focusing on is singles. Batting singles, and again singles, single ladies Beyonce fans.
There’s 4 important elements to your community. This is primarily in this community, location. The people in the community, the education in the community and microbreweries. Location. Find the spot in your town that is the most dense. A place that is typically going to be in a downtown urban environment or on a college campus right here at Old Dominion University. It’s a place where you can bring a lot of different people together, like you guys. In our case, in the startup community, we’re looking for entrepreneurs, marketers, designers, developers, large companies, small companies, mentors, investors, advisors, city governments. All those type of people, and if we can put them in a location where they all can serendipitous meet with each other, it has a very strong impact. A place where you can collide into those people. With education, so many people are focused on the educational side of it thinking just universities. It’s not just universities. It’s like a TED talk or a meet up, or Google, a place where you can learn from others at any given time. Having those resources around you is what we mean by education.
Like we were talking about microbreweries. Microbreweries are the new Starbucks. They’re a place where the mayor of your town and employer #30 can collide organically and talk and learn about what they’re working on with each other. No other place can that happen in a serendipitous way. You say microbreweries? Why is this so important? Well a lot of you have heard that in the state of Virginia that you are now allowed to brew your beer and sell it on premise at the same time. That’s a law that was passed in the last few years. The water in Virginia is apparently some of the best in the world for brewing beer. What we’ve seen is a huge, huge push for locally grown microbreweries. What you see with these places is a place where serendipity can happen. A place where you can meet people and have a good time in a laid back environment and learn from each other. Because of this, because we have small companies that have made their mark, we’re now seeing larger companies want to move to this area like Green Flash or Stone Brewing which is the largest microbrewery in the country, are looking to call home to our area.
This wouldn’t have happened if we didn’t have a bunch of smaller feeders, if you will, into the large companies. We need to focus on building as many small companies as possible so that when we look at recruiting larger, attracting larger companies, they have a talent pool to potentially acquire or leverage with or to just have a good time with. We need to start thinking nationally, start thinking internationally. Everyone is so focused on local that we don’t think about how can we get other people to learn what we’re doing. Go out. Introduce yourself to different people across the country. Go to conferences. Email people. Get on different networking groups and tell them what we’re doing here or what you’re doing in your communities.
I’ll tell you one story. I was in Omaha, Nebraska about 2 years ago. I met an individual there who’s started a company there and it’s called Startup Genome, which is an ecosystem or platform that basically tells you what different startups and investors and accelerators and programs are in many various different places all across the world. Because I reached out to him, or because I met him and I told him what we were doing here, we were able to get into entrepreneur magazine because he said we kept hearing all this stuff that was going on in Norfolk. When in Norfolk people might say well not a lot’s going on. If you make yourself appear bigger than you are, you’re going to be able to provide information to other individuals across the country that will give you a chance to be, basically entrepreneur magazine named us one of the best cities for entrepreneurs in the country. This wouldn’t have happened if I did not communicate with other people throughout the country.
We need to have programs that are educational for many people, like Start Norfolk or Hatch. I’ll leave on this. Our community has focused on building Fortune 500 Companies. Building huge, large companies. Thousand people companies. We’re not going to see 4 1,000 companies be created. We need to focus on building 1,000 four person companies. That’s our future. If we focus on going after those home runs, we will be Detroit 2.0, but if we focus on 1,000 4 person companies, we’ve got a big shot. Thank you.
Mike: No, no, no to Detroit 2.0, right? We should start a slogan with that and put it on t-shirts. No Detroit 2.0. This evening just so everybody knows, we would like to invite everybody to come and socialize with us down at SmartMouth. They’re going to be giving tours for everybody here between 6 and 8 p.m. Come down to Smart Mouth brewery. They know we’re all coming. Afterwards we’re going to hang in that general area because there’s a lot of local restaurants that support local and regionally grown food. We want to make sure that we support our community. That’s what this is all about. We’re all going to be heading down that way in honor of microbreweries being one of the main reasons that we’ve got a strength here in our region.