This post, in what I’d say if I were wearing my editor’s cap, “buries the lede.
But hey, this is my blog and rambling before getting to the point is part of what I do and who I am.
Last night, I attended an impressive event at Nashville’s Schemerhorn Symphony Center. (Frankly, any event in the Schemerhorn is going to be impressive — what an incredible building.) The event was an inaugural awards gala hosted by the Nashville Technology Council, an affiliate organization of the Nashville area Chamber of Commerce whose stated purpose is “to help the Middle Tennessee technology community succeed.”
I’ll admit that, despite Hammock Inc. being a member of the organization since its inception, I’ve thought — as it should be — it has been primarily focused on what has traditionally been considered “the technology industry” in Nashville. What is that? Well visit this “Techville” map and you’ll get a sense of the companies that employ 25,000 individuals in tech-related jobs. Much of this industry is the type of work that serves the needs of Nashville’s better known industries and institutions: Information Technology services related to healthcare, education, music, publishing, automotive and traditional corporate technology and information-management and infrastructure needs.
As an individual, I’ve never really thought of myself as being a technology-industry person. Certainly, I’ve always adopted technology early for running businesses (bleeding edge, as they call it) and for creating the types of media Hammock is known for — not just magazines, as we were developing what was then called “interactive multimedia” for clients like Northern Telecom in the late 80s, for example — which is even before Hammock Inc. go started.
I’ve also, as an accidental geek and aggressive user of technology, identified more with those “outside” the tech mainstream: the open-source, start-up, indie developer, blogger, disintermediating, disruptive, free-lance, BarCamp, “unconference” digital community which tends not to think of itself as being defined by traditional geographic boundaries (unless one lives within 30 miles of San Jose).
In the past few years, the Nashville Technology Council has made a concerted effort to reach out more to this “other technology community” in the Nashville area. It has supported — without trying to take over — a wide array of tech-related grassroots efforts (i.e. Barcamps) and recently helped launch the Nashville Entrepreneur Center, for example. But other, behind the scenes efforts by people like Tod Fetherling, a veteran of tech startups who is now CEO of the council, are helping broaden the mission of the organization.
Therefore, I was happy to see that along with big corporate type awards like CIO of the Year and Technology Organization of the Year (both won by HCA) and “Green” innovator of the year (Nissan USA), among the ten awards, there were categories for students (won by Hank Carter, a student at Belmont University) and startups (won by CredenceHealth) and, interestingly, for a blogger/social media person.
And, more interestingly still, the recipient was me. (Two friends, Kate O’Neill of [meta] marketer and Dave Delaney, social media wrangler at Griffin Technology and creator of such things as Geek Breakfast were also finalists and either should have won.)
I feel incredibly honored to win. But more than a little surprised.
First (as I said on Twitter last night), for me, winning an award for blogging is like winning an award for brushing my teeth — it’s just something I do. I’ve never even thought of blogging as writing. (Which is probably obvious.) Unlike when I write, there’s little “crafting” of what I share here. Elsewhere, I write columns that go through a dozen edited versions before being printed or released. But here, it’s completely extemporaneous and improvisational. This is about as me as it gets. So that makes “winning an award” for what I do here and on Twitter and elsewhere very surprising and appreciated.
Second, and most importantly, this is a personal blog. Yes, sometimes I write about business and technology, but I don’t have a niche other than the niche of stuff interesting to me. Such an editorial focus is one I would never recommend to a client — ever. Had I picked an editorial focus when starting this blog, it would have a better name and, likely, it would be long-gone by now, as I doubt I would still have something to say about one topic after ten years.
This blog, in other words, is more like a columnist’s blog than a reporter’s blog. The only niche it serves are those people who may be interested in my random observations. (i.e., 10-12 people). Only some of those observations are related to Nashville. And only some of them are about technology.
So, therefore, I would think I’d be the last blogger/social media person to win an award from the Nashville Technology Council.
So I’m really surprised and extremely appreciative.
And I’m also really blown away, as the “trophy” is a personalized electric guitar from a Nashville-based “technology” company: Gibson. (Photos to come.)