Doubling Down on Atlanta & Switchyards
We’re creating a brand of places and communities for the knowledge economy
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It’s been almost three years since we launched Switchyards and we’ve done and learned a lot. We bought and rehabbed a down-and-out 19,000 square foot building in Downtown Atlanta. We built a great brand and a strong following. We established a loyal membership of 425+ talented members. We incubated our own startups. We developed two popular monthly events, The Consumer Show and Made in Atlanta. And, we accomplished our day 1 goal of creating a vibrant (and the only) B2C startup hub in Atlanta. And 7 tattoos.
We’re now ready for the next phase of Switchyards.
I’ve decided to focus my efforts on one particular idea that has captured my imagination — the “software” and “hardware” that is physical space. Commercial real estate is one of those old-line industries stuck in 1918. I believe a massive shift is happening. It will be all about the emotional connection with the consumer. Layering a strong brand/community on top of places. Where people can experience work, leisure and community in tandem. It’s an old idea but is needed today more than ever. Starting right here in Atlanta.
An understated accomplishment of a very successful direct-to-consumer brand: catching a moment. Brand equity is often influenced by a brand being perfect for a moment, before any other competing brand.
We’re creating an entire brand built around the new way people want to use space. It’s going to be solid.
I’ve been giving the tour of Switchyards for 3+ years now and I’ve seen firsthand what’s worked, what hasn’t and most importantly, what people want. My biggest insight is that many Atlantans, not just B2C founders, are hungry for what we’re doing. Our original focus as the B2C startup hub won’t change but we’ll be rolling out more spaces under the Switchyards brand that have the same qualities — strong design, lots of soul, and a tight community.
What’s ironic is that while Switchyards Downtown Club is Atlanta’s B2C startup hub, it’s actually a B2B business itself. Our customers are small businesses (startups are businesses too, people!). Ultimately, we’ll be deepening the direct-to-consumer connection we have with Atlantans. Our next communities will be consumer-focused.
For the next phase, we’ll be joining the rest of the 125+ companies at Switchyards in creating a consumer-focused brand ourselves.
And we’re not launching in another city, we’re doubling down on Atlanta. Our spaces will be for all Atlantans. Something special is happening here and it’s fun to be a part of.
In the end, this is me taking a big B2C swing. Ever since Scoutmob, I’ve been chomping at the bit to create a great consumer brand again. I love the notion of optimizing for founder-market fit and since my personal Venn diagram sits at the intersection of Atlanta, brand and physical space, I’m ultimately building this product for myself.
Thanks for listening.