Six years ago we launched the Powderkeg Podcast Igniting Startups. We were featured in top publications like Entrepreneur and Forbes. Since 2017 we have interviewed over 100 execs at dynamic tech companies beyond Silicon Valley. 

We are excited to bring this Podcast back in a way that honors both the Powderkeg community and the amazing growth that we have seen in the Unvalley community over the last several years. 

In Episode 0 we are going to catch you up on what we’ve been up to for the last two years.

You are going to learn about:  

  • 10:42: The problem remote work brought for tech companies beyond Silicon Valley. 
  • 14:56: Know the numbers. Find out just how the Unvalley is pacing against the Bay Area. 
  • 19:23: The advantage tech execs have by being part of the Powderkeg community. 
  • 34:10: Community involvement is a key differentiator in the future of work.
  • 45:15: Rapid fire lighting round. Hear some of the best stories from over a decade of community building in the Unvalley. 

Unvalley is the show for tech leaders that want to unlock their full potential and connect with the biggest opportunities in tech beyond Silicon Valley. There is no denying the last two and a half years have been full of countless shifts in the way we operate. With those shifts have come new untapped opportunities that we look to uncover and share with you. 

In this episode, you will learn about the emerging opportunities in Unvalley tech communities:

      1. The numbers. Follow where the investors are deploying capital.
      2. Community is the key. Whether you are looking to close more deals, find a new job, or hire high-caliber talent. Community is essential in the future of work and you’ll learn a few tips to capitalize on this.
      3. Cut through the noise. In an ever-growing “noisy” digital landscape. You need to know the tools to build momentum and become better known.

Episode Transcript

Hey there.

Welcome to Unvalley. The show for leaders who want to unlock their full potential and plug into the biggest opportunities in Tech and startups Beyond Silicon Valley. I’m your host, Matt Hunckler, and I have my co-host, Nate Spangle with me today, I say hello Nate. What’s up my? My grandma always said I had a face for radio so I made sense that podcasting to be a career choice for me. Except this is a video podcast so I’m glad you at least come get here today. Are we go? Well, today, this is a very special episode because we’re kind of, in between things right now. Bridging, the Gap for you listeners. Watchers, if you’re watching the YouTube or video version does podcast, because we did is podcast for a long time more than three years, but then we stopped around, 2020 around, March of 2020. Big things happen around that time frame. You might recall, but we

We started a podcast back in late 2016. Things really took off for us in 2017. When we launched Powderkeg, the show was originally called Powderkeg Igniting Startups. But we’re launching here starting next. Week is the reboot of the Powderkeg podcast. As Unvalley in the reason we’re realizing is Unvalley is the kind of that kind of helps kind of frame. What it is that we’re doing here at Powderkeg Unvalley has for the unbundling of Silicon Valley and it’s certainly what the last couple of years has done for the tech industry. Nate, I know you’ve seen it in the Powderkeg community, and all the people you interact with their. We’ve seen it in the way people and companies are hiring. Now, we see it in the way investors are investing. I will get it going to get into all of that here today on the show. So we’re going to do for you is actually share a little bit of the research that we’ve been seeing some of the trash.

We’ve been saying, but also tell you, the story of Powderkeg because on Valley is brought to you by Powderkeg and Powderkeg is really focus on companies and their Executives in the ever-expanding that communities Beyond Silicon Valley has become is the only private member Network folks aren’t supporting tech companies and leaders in faster and communities Beyond Silicon Valley but we want to tell you how we got there. So I figured we could just dive in and start a bridge. The gap for you to that sound good to you. Nate absolutely. Give me a history lesson, right? Cool. So may join the team here at powder. Keg over a year ago, he’s been with us through some pretty exciting times here. Coming out of the tail end of the, the pandemic lockdown and we seen some incredible growth of the community since then, but pre-pandemic, there was some interesting things happening and I already mentioned one of them which is

Watch the podcast, the powder tank. Gas at is igniting start of back in 2020. We got some really nice early validation from the tech industry and I want to share my screen here really quickly and and show you a couple of these things. One of them is this time this article that Matt Mayberry wrote 24, best podcast for 2017 and lot of podcast, you might recognize here in addition to Powderkeg, igniting startup entrepreneur on fire and then starts is one of the first five podcast mentioned here along with the Jocko podcast Tim Ferriss Show podcast. They were still pretty early in their journey and now it’s a massive podcast. And then we had a really nice article write-up in Forbes in 2018 or early. 2018 on the heels of a five-pointer Article 1 of the podcast that was getting it, right? And we saw, we saw

Yeah, we saw a ton of growth in, in the community here at Powder. Keg, we had a very big listenership, we have now over 200,000 downloads today, for the show, I was just fantastic, but we’re looking to do is really build on that momentum. And in, bring it back in a way that really honors our community and honors the growth that we’re staying in, what we call, the on Valley or the area Beyond Silicon Valley. Eyewear Racine just these massive up text in growth, both in VC, funding income number of companies being launched. And in just in general talent pool. That’s growing in these communities and do want to share a little bit about what we learn there. And I’m going to bring up a deck that’s kind of over view deck just as a added visual to kind of show you some of what we were doing and all these communities around the country and how things shifted for us into the all virtual remote.

That at least is still very remote first. Now in the tech industry, sound good to you. Nate, for those of you listening to podcast, we will use very good descriptive words that you can. You can can visualize what we’re looking at here is perfect. And if this is your first episode that you listen to I am Matt Hunckler, the co-founder and CEO of Powderkeg. Prior to the pandemic on the heels of running, a pretty large Tech Community, the kind of lots of different time zones in geography, had more than 10,000 members and in Pryor, that ran content at some of the bigger social platforms. I can tell a little bit about that as I hear Nate join the team actually met Nate through Linkedin. But also, we were both part of an astronaut Fellowship called the or Fellowship. Maybe you can share how you first heard about Powderkeg, even before I reached out,

And what made you decide to join the team? Yeah. Oh my gosh. So I came back in 2019 and was looking to get more plugged-in into. I didn’t even know if it would be a TextMe, but just more plug into the business Community is what I kind of wanted to get them to become a part of. And I was directed to go to this photo Uncle badass networking in, that is what they call it. And I was like, I don’t know if that would humans can be put on a badass, but but whatever. I’m a guy supposed to yes, to a lot of things. So I show up. First thing I realized, this is not the typical event, there is no student movement eyes. It’s at the Vogue Theater, which is a concert venue here in. Indianapolis for anyone who’s familiar and three. Incredible startup Founders. Get on stage and Pitch their company, and as well as there’s some other presentations of cool things happening throughout the community. People are having fun and

Honestly, it was just an incredible experience and I sat in the back of the beater they can omigosh like one day would be so cool to be a part of this team and to get on that stage one day and fast forward. What three and a half years later, here we are on the podcast and we are, and we actually did a very special in between a sewed last month. So if you want to go back and check the check out the previous episode of this podcast to hear needs to be you, and the Powderkeg stage and hear from 5ive nurse, who presented on stage that evening, you can, you can definitely do that. But we were really fortunate to bring Nate on the team here as our head of community. As head of community, he is talking to tons of entrepreneur, has tons of tech Executives around the country and, and just really great individual contributors and Ed people who are plugged into the tech, ecosystems around the country so that you could buy to have his perspective here on the show. And I think it’s going to be really critical as we launch on Valley.

I’m going to go ahead and share my screen and I will share with you a little bit of perspective. So a lot has changed a powderkeg since we were last consistently doing this podcast. But there is certainly some things have not changed. One of those things that Powderkeg is still your locally driven, nationally, connected, Tech Community, but we’re positioned in the market just a little bit differently and I’ll start by telling you what it is that we’re doing right now and then I’ll tell you how we got there. The way we talk about powder coat today is Powder, Keg is the only private member Network focused on supporting Tech company’s Executives in communities Beyond Silicon Valley. And this is really important because there’s no other organization that’s focused on this particular Persona, this particular person and there are tens of thousands, hundreds of thousands of them across the country and there are literally hundreds of thousand of them across the country here in the us alone.

In currently Powderkeg is specifically focused on the United States, but we do have plans to expand globally as we continue to grow this community here. But the way we got here is actually started in Indianapolis and it really got us momentum with my previous company that I that I started and grown. This was an organic Grassroots Community. Originally we called it Hackers and Founders That Grew organically here in Indy and then took on our own name here, in Indianapolis of grow from the ground up, with a lot of the tech organizations and companies in communities like Raleigh-Durham, Cincinnati and is it for those watching the video version. The podcast here, you can see photos from our Nashville event from Arkansas, City Event from our Denver event. As you might imagine, we put on a lot of miles traveling around the country and plugging into these Tech ecosystems. As all these texts, ecosystems grew the organizations that works in a homegrown and acting as a front door that to me.

Powderkeg was doing when we first launched here in Indianapolis. Those organizations kind of took root and could be those for the front doors in that, local geography. And now that things have shifted, how to take service much more of a connective tissue across those organizations and companies, and people in all these fast-growing communities. And so, the big shift remote work changed, a lot of things. First of all, the shift to remote work, create a ton of opportunity. But it also created some really big problems. First and foremost, these emerging Technologies are growing their fragmented and their distinct from Silicon Valley. I think that’s something really important to call out here. Just because for those who don’t live in one of these communities, those who are traveling in a day today, going to all these different markets, which I had the privilege of doing for more than a decade kind of sauce and consistent patterns and the biggest one I think is it

Professionals lack connections and guides to navigate these new networks of opportunity beyond the Bay Area is just not a consistent place where you can go and find a map and passed into all these great communities and companies and different networks. The other big challenge is that employers one they can hire from anywhere now which means their talent pool is bigger than it ever has been because most are couples have moved to remote first or at least a hybrid work environment, but as a result, employers are also competing for talent more than ever because everyone is your competition, not just Employers in your own backyard. And then, finally, we can kind of feel like they’re on an island. When it comes to Growing your team, their company and their career and is particularly true in these on Valley Tech ecosystems until a lot of what we’re doing here on the show with on Valley is helping share the stories of some of those leaders helping share some of the really good.

Insight tactics strategy and the stories to inspire further growth for those leaders. And I think we just got a huge opportunity to connect people in this single community and this National technically, that is Powder. Keg is there because I’d love to hear some of your, your contacts, just having talked to so many of our members over the last year. 12 months is 18 months. What, what are you saying on the ground in terms of some of these shift, with navigating these networks of opportunity, competing for talent learning and continue to accelerate their careers in Tech?

Yeah, add one thing that I’m seeing is it’s very difficult to find those those companies across the country that have a great culture that you want to be a part of that really invest into their employees. I can be a software developer in Indianapolis and I might in previously gone to in-person events and found out about the companies that were in my backyard but now it was done. I can work for a company in Kansas City in Lincoln Nebraska and you asked him like what’s the number one tech company in Lincoln Nebraska at side? Like a lot of people don’t know and if you Google it, you’re more than likely shop out to the highest Google, add better, you know, or you see like a Google on Amazon, my phone on Facebook and all these companies that are already getting all depressed and all the coverage there. So, it’s been really fun, helping people, discover new opportunities of tech companies that they, they may have never heard of before, as well as just like hearing about the story of yours are doing in Denver in Miami, in Austin or now or I mean,

Very hot but like when I first started, they were still growing and it was cool Tennessee that transition and talk to boundaries were down there and and what strategies they have and in what they were doing to grow through, grow their company and to acquire to attract. So just been super cool to see that and Steve the the check ecosystem can shrink in a way where you can be connected with people in Denver and people in Austin. If he Raleigh-Durham, you know. And and not need to travel there and put put those decades worth of miles on your car, like you did, Matt.

Yeah. Good thing too, good thing. I’m, I’m really glad to pay existing you. The Listener don’t have to miss dearly, put hundreds of thousands of miles on your car, or your Southwest card, because I was definitely flying with a buddy pass with my now. Now wife, that was traveling country previously but I, I definitely missed the in-person component of what we do and we where she brought it back into pretty interesting ways. And we’re starting to bring that back and over communities we can we can get into later but I wanted to share a couple of numbers here. They think are pretty fascinating to your point Nate. We just got incredible growth in the on Valley, in a big piece of that is due in part to just a record level of funding that we saw in 2020 and again in 2021 starts breaking, you can read this headline. Right now I have up on the screen Bloomberg headline reads startups raked in $621,

In 2021 in funding shattering. Funny records and a sub. Headline is cities outside of Silicon Valley show Growing promise as Tech hubs which is, is still kind of them to say that we should a growing promise on Valley is now, the fastest-growing segment of the fastest growing industry when you dive in a little bit deeper which looks like maybe Bloomberg didn’t do on this particular article that I have a graph up right now that shows just how the Bay Area share of seed and early-stage USBC dollars has decreased over the last decade from up near 40% back, in 2011, to now down to less than 30% to 27.2%. In 2021, in terms of its share of the $80 that means that Bay Area investment outside of the Bay Area, New York and Boston, and overall VC investment is going faster beyond the Bay Area. So, the second chart shows that they are investment outside of the bakery in New York and Boston.

The share of those Venture dollars is growing in the on Valley at as like Leaps and Bounds division, up into the right hockey Graf, hockey stick graph showing the the VC investment has last chart and I promise this is not going to be an all day to podcast. Nate guy, I know you’re not a numbers guy, but data scientist right here, recently learned how to write to HTML in our newsletter. So he’s claimed that use the data scientist at Powderkeg, which Rick was actually data scientist finds hilarious. But this last chart that you’re going to love this fundraising activity outside of the Bay Area, New York, and Boston hit historic records last year and it is on Pace to do so. Again this year, not only have the number of funds increased but the meaning of the number of like, VC funds formed to to invest beyond the Bay Area.

Boston butt, even Bay Area, Capital raised more. And more of it is going into UD on Valley. So just some pretty big shift and this again, as I mention created, these big problems people lack, the guy employers are competing for top more than ever, and then, at the same time, we do some kind of feel like they’re on an island. And we’ve been stalling problems like this for years, even Beyond, even before the pandemic. What are we doing? A lot of things in person we were doing workshops. We are creating content, we’re helping share this map scale, but now I think I’m kind of all of my experience building that started. Maybe the last 12 years, prior to starting Powderkeg and then of course doing a ton of content. So I previously worked for ChaCha which was a top 50 website on the internet in terms of content and then spun out an influencer marketing platform from there. And then also just covered check between the coast for Forbes and ink and still a little bit for venturebeat.

And then of course we watch this podcast to do that as well. But what is really changed at Powder? Keg is as things shifted and we moved to remote work. We brought on Rick Worley at RCC. Oh, I reckon is an awesome character. We have them on the on the podcast sometime Nate, but Rick is to use your term. Nate Rick is badass. He built the first job board on the internet which became where he let engineering for the first decade. And then actually more than a decade then he became the VP of product at the largest US employment. Network call Direct employers. And when we reconnect with Rick who is part of Hanna-Barbera Regional Community, reformed 12 years ago, more than twelve years ago. But when we reconnected with Rick Azar advisor, he was doing data science Consulting for number of the high-growth tech companies here in Indianapolis and I think you’ve been nationally. I’m so he brought all of that knowledge to Powderkeg. And now with the platform that we built,

We have more than 10,000 engage professionals, and more than half of those are either Executives or investors so kind of more senior-level Community with more than 4,000 companies in the network. And check it all out on Saturday. Cam you can start by company. Size, industry, geography, you name it, you can explore all those companies and all the jobs at those companies and we got dozens of Partners throughout the u.s. do big companies. Like Stevie W funds, like rise of the rest that I went on tour with from at least a half-dozen times around the country. But then also offer local ecosystems like Cintrifuse in Cincinnati and lunch, Tennessee, and Nashville and Chattanooga and some of the other Tennessee Tech ecosystems, you know, American Underground in Raleigh-Durham, in galvanized down in Denver and Boulder. And this really helps create a really great Tech ecosystem and all of these markets but we’ve built at Powder. Keg is what we believe is the best way to build momentum and become known in.

Fast-growing communities. And this is the message that has really been resonating. And we’ve been successful with helping our customers be successful at as we’ve grown, this private member Network. I want to pause there an 8, because you been along for the ride with this journey, as we’ve kind of found this product markets, it with Tyler tag. And I’m curious what some of the highlights were for you. I’m just in the last year-and-a-half as we’ve kind of gone from almost, I Got Talent only platform to then realizing our customers were using powder. Keg to do other things, like attracts capital and land customers and grow their brand. Not just their employer brand, but just overall

Yeah, I think that the one thing that has been fun to see the shift in is that like a lot of what our product, and what the community is doing, was already happening. Like, in our email inbox is like, being part of a good community means, like, if your friend loses a job, you introduce them to your network. Right? And you, you do more than just like like their posts are supported on LinkedIn. It’s like, hey, I know it’s Rosie. Who’s hiring? How would you be interested in reduction there? And now like, when I get paid to work at a company, where I making introductions as one of the leading indicators for success, I got pretty fun, you know, like I’ve been trying to get over Thanksgiving, I was trying to explain that to my grandma and still not quite flirting with her, but but she supports me, whatever I do. But like been cool to see that where it’s like been able to help people get connected to the Future jobs at companies that they really enjoy it. I hoping, I remember you, I was on the thread where you introduce them.

Fine. And they got a $50,000 investment into their start-up. You know. Like that’s like a meaningful impact of Community Driven that like is what what? I think are good. People do automatically, right? Like if you are a good person, you’re willing to share that Social Capital, you’re willing to share your network and I can do. So in a meeting. And I think that’s what it’s like, kind of the, the bones of a good Community is like, people willing to give as much as they receive. It’s cool to have like a platform that helps Ada and help make that come to life. So that’s when one of the coolest shifts over the past 18 months that I’ve seen where stuff is getting out of just mass email inbox, it has that, I don’t know how he would ever get that thing 20. I’m sure he gets a million emails a day, but like more driven by Technology Solutions has been cool to City.

I agree and it’s been fun to see and basically feels like I have an Iron Man suit now because I couldn’t say hey, this is perfect for this part of our product, go check it out and let me get connected to more people than I could have possibly done on my own. Because now we’re not only using mass network, and Maze Network, and Rich Network, and Meg’s Network were using the Powderkeg communities network. And to your point Nate, we have a freaking awesome Community like the culture of the Powderkeg. Ecosystem is very much give first and I love that about it and I think that’s why it’s been successful and has grown over the years Instagram and Airbnb employee whose exploring what it’s like to work in Tech in Indianapolis and it was just like the way that she was speaking about Indian Community here and in waiting to get more plugged in.

Wow, there’s something special cooking here in in the 317, as well as like, cities, like, Nashville cities, like Cincinnati and it was just cool to see, like these companies that we’re going to the individuals that work at Legacy tech companies like the Instagram is like the Facebook, like the Airbnb. They’re starting to explore what life’s like in the midwest. You know. And what these take communities here in outside of the Bay Area look like. So it was validating to I’m not a date a guy but like that conversation that I have. I’m all the people guy that conversation validated, what math data showed a little bit ago.

1 and 2.8, it is really cool because sure, Austin in Miami have probably grown faster than some of these other markets but it’s you know, being in those markets to as Powderkeg and connecting them to places like Denver and Raleigh in Boise. Idaho, like some of these really cool Tech. Ecosystem has been awesome and we’re still connecting people to Bay Area capital and Bay Area talent and other Bay Area companies that they want to go sell with. You know, it is this idea of unbundling Silicon Valley from a geography and pain. You know what Spokane Valley? I really is more about mindset and it’s very much in the cloud and it’s a big part of what we were doing on this show is like let’s take those strategies that worked must leave the stuff that maybe didn’t work about Silicon Valley and apply it to his other amazing resources that we have, which is these Tech hubs with amazing quality of life and just

Incredible pockets of talent and industries that have been around for centuries. In some cases, absolutely outside of the Bay Area. Have you no longer have to fly out to San Francisco and do the whole Sand Hill Chapel and like try to like meet in person and, and do that whole thing where it right now, it’s happening V assume, it’s happening to be a LinkedIn. Tapping, VO2 powder to the introduction tools that that we’re helping a introduced to Founders are going to Kendrick. I like, I like to get the phrase standhill Shuffle. I did you just meant that that’s good set of Silicon Valley. That was called to see if you can pull up in the show notes. For those episodes of people can check out Sandhill Shuffle on YouTube. That’s great.

All right, I’m going to I love the kind of share how we’re helping companies do that build momentum and become known in these faster and communities because our team has been doing some awesome work with our community. Like we built this with our community of over 10,000 members and who could not have done it without you listener. If I thank you, if you are one of the people that gave us feedback, give us an idea of our best ideas come from our members. Go ahead.

You know June 8th. Our members have the best idea is the best. Best is relative, craziest ideas. I think that I’m going to put myself up for that, you definitely wear the crown in terms of craziest ideas. I’ll give you that.

Absolutely never see your kingdom of crazy ideas.

The way that Powderkeg is now can figure out how we can help people and companies build momentum and become known as kind of three-fold first and foremost, we need help build reputation because all of these texts, ecosystems beyond the Bay Area are beyond the Bay Area. Media does not cover them as much, there is not as much connective tissue at least from a local geography. Standpoint all of the tech media is either in the Bay Area or potentially in New York City. There’s just not big text blogs, big Tech media publication their operating, any on Valley. And so we do some tools for people to share the thought leadership, which is awesome. Because work with helping Thai people not only to some of these topics that are may be geographically relevant, but also just nationally relevant.

Industry for their scale of company for the type of company or the type of account or looking to attract it. So we built this platform with what we called him up. Product-led SEO strategy which means as more members join the ecosystem, more people start their free profile on Powderkeg or set up a new profile for a community or start their own personal profile. Those people and companies and organizations and communities get added to collection and this collection lead to other topics that are related to them. And all these topics already rang me, rang for over twelve thousand, high-traffic key phrases and forgive me cuz I got on the stuff because in a former life, this is what I did. You know, at Cha Cha and at another company called relevance. Calm and slingshot SEO. And I had a s c o e t back in college that I sold before I came to Indianapolis. So I think there’s just so much power there to help plug in Executives to do topics that people are searching for and surfacing.

As a thought leaders. They are because our members are building a billion plus Dollar business. Is there some of the fastest-growing companies in a lot of times they’re doing it with less funding than their Bay Area competitors. It. So that’s why there’s just a huge opportunity for investors but also for people looking to plug into job opportunities. So with powderkeg executive can engage their supporters grow the brand awareness. We’ve had Awards going now, throughout all of the Panda demick from the Nationals standpoint. And in 2023, we’re going to be doing Geographic specific Awards, taking our national awards, including Geographic, specific versions of them, helping people explore, you know, the best health tech companies. The best companies with a four-day work week, the fastest growing startup companies companies with the best sales jobs. We we definitely tapped into Rick’s data, science skills and captured millions of data point across tens of thousands of companies.

To get the very best companies into the Powder, Keg database and rank them in their respective industry and soon-to-be geography as well. So just an awesome opportunity both for the company’s Executives. But also the people looking at kind of plug into those companies and they, I know you’ve done a lot of connecting people to award-winning companies jobs, at award-winning companies, even some funding to the, somebody’s award-winning companies may need to speak to a little bit. Some of what you’re seeing in terms of a reaction to people who are kind of exploring some of these jobs and companies,

Oh absolutely. Like these it’s fun to be able to get in there and and work with Rick on his data science. His date of science aspect of like what what what’s making these award-winning companies those special. And then why are people loving them? And I think the one thing that that is special about what we’re doing is also bring in the cultural component, right? They’re learning about what it’s really like to work at these companies versus like you get on a few other website, she would get some reviews. You see that, maybe somebody just because one person has a bad experience doesn’t mean that that everyone will learn. It’s a bad company. I mean really helping make those connections based on what a candidate’s looking for, and what company offers, a great to help introduce those two community members to celebrate? I was so we had an awards ceremony what early in 2022 and had a bunch of award-winning companies there and I will most, I mean, get on stage and brag a little bit about what they’re doing, what they’re doing. Well, so it’s been cool.

Women that like you could be a award-winning companies in the same category, it doesn’t mean that one’s doing it better. It just could be a different strategy. That’s making them a best company for work-life balance in like what their strategy is to make sure their employees aren’t working 100 hours a week and how they’re helping them have that balance in your life. So, suddenly been been a fun time and has opened my eyes to so many tech companies across the country that I had no idea, existed results, fun.

It’s but it’s fun to find those hidden gems that you’re just like, wait, what is this company doing? It’s like at what? Scale, that’s insane. And reminded me Nate that this, these Awards kind of came out of the key product Insight in our community. That was true pre-pandemic and has held true throughout the last several years. And that Insight is that the number one reason experience Tech professionals. Join a tech company is also the same reason that they leave at that company until your point eight. Yes pindrop moment. I see dropping the pain there too might drop moment. The reason that people join or quit a tech company is company culture, it all comes back to company culture and that is not something that you can.

Market your way around it really starts with leadership and getting your core values and your mission and those things can absolutely change. But, ultimately the company culture, and then the resulting employer brand because as a famous actor and a friend of mine, Tony hsieh the late Tony hsieh is just a lagging indicator of company culture, which is absolutely true. Your brand is a direct. It’s basically just an echo in the market of what your company culture is, and I freaking love that.

Tony said it better myself. Yeah, that guy was smart. Brilliant man.

Let me, let me die back in here and show you a little bit more. I got two more things to show you here.

In addition to helping build reputation, we’ve built some software that helps our members connect with the best thought, leaders industry Builders product Builders. We’ve really built something that is a staff workflow that helps our members create what we called, double opt-in intros and Menos, this double opt-in. Introductions is 10 /, Northstar product metric. And what that means is any, good introduction is kind of to two parties and in those two parties there’s one person who wants to talk to the other person and we want to make sure before you make the introduction that that other person is that going to find the conversation diable. So he’s built this ass workflow. That makes it really easy for our members to say. Hey, I think it’d be really great if I talk to this person and here’s why I think that they would enjoy talking to me and it’s pouring what I’m working on and we both originally for are verified available candidate pool. These are just extremely talented members.

How to get community who are quietly exploring their. Next career opportunities, not necessarily our premium members of this community that people who listen to this podcast are subscribe to our newsletter which, you know, so I know you can always subscribe to a newsletter but we got, we started with this verified available, can it. We taking that same, that work flow and applied it to our investor database and are bedded executive Network, which includes those, no 4000 + companies in our, in our Network. So that’s really cool because it’s so rewarding to see two people get introduced even more rewarding. When he hear, you know, couple weeks later, that, that person got hired at person invested in that company or that person partnered with this other company. And now they’re working together, just so many great, great things have come out of it. And it’s really a lot of, to get out of the email inbox here, at Powderkeg, and get out of the way of our members.

They can connect with one another, in a way that actually value-add and isn’t just some sort of, you know, spray-and-pray lead, generation tool and it don’t get me wrong with this thing. I realize that but you know what I’m talking about. Maybe you can try some other other contacts are made from what you’re saying, can you meet the great part about double opt-in reductions? Is that you’re going to get a valuable of the Bible experience out of it because there is an overarching. Like I’m a Powderkeg Community member that ties you all together. And that’s the difference between like a LinkedIn where people spray a. I’d love to pick your brain for 15 minutes on x-rays. You think it could be a good message but people just like don’t want to accept those then. I can’t give up 15 minutes of time to every single person to ask for it. Where is within the

Delta Community, you know, that there’s some part of there’s some stickiness. Like these are award-winning companies for the most part, like they’re coming together as like leaders in this Valley movement. And there is a good Synergy there. So when they are using the SAS workflow to connect with each other, it’s going to be a meaningful conversation and the acceptance rate is I don’t have data cuz I’m not the data guy, but a significantly statistically significant of the acceptance rate versus a traditional lead generation tool.

Yes, statistically significant. I love that data scientist. I agree. It is the way I we’re seeing a ton of adoption here and I think it’s because it’s it’s spinning that, you know, it’s kind of flipping a pendulum in the other direction of where the market is gone. The last decade, what kind of cold email Outreach being the way people think they can grow their Brandon and sales Pipeline? And if you’ve been in the industry, the song you see those open rates. You see those response rates that you see those meeting. But Grace, those clothes rate, you know, just got off a cliff at the last decade because of how saturated is got with noise. And what were we doing at Powder? Keg, is really trying to be the antithesis of of noise. I signal, low-noise, Steven from, from a candidate in town of perspective, right? Like everyone knows by the the number one way, in my opinion, from what I’ve seen to get a job is to get introduced.

Who’s going to be the higher? I got direct introduction, you know, and helping like make that works in the oriented where people are going to do see me to their friends and colleagues. It may have been a part of a referral, a off. Recently, I was saying, hey, so and so’s a rockstar I can do, you know, anyone that I work at community community member just like a person. I was just talking to from from Instagram and Airbnb and they’re like, hey, this is really is a rock star. So when I go and talk to XYZ hiring manager in the community, it’s like they’re vetted and it’s sticky, and they’re part of the community, and it’s just, it’s valuable.

That’s at the magic, right? It’s got to be valuable and I know we’re going to continue to find ways to create features that create even better signal-to-noise ratios as we go on and on by think a lot of the magic is in the curation on the front end and and I think that only happens because we’ve got a strong culture in our community here. So really just had kept all of our members who are listening here, want to share this last piece of what we could have built out because I’m, I’m really excited about it. We introduce some new things here in the last several months. So I have some kind of value proposition growing growing diable relationships and we know, we all know how valuable relationships are in growing your career. I would say at The X Factor, it’s the way to cross pollinate ideas, its way to cross pollinate networks. It’s how you get qualified referrals and we built some features in the end of the platform for that, but we

Rebecca vanson. Diminutive pretty interesting way as well both in person events through Partnerships locally like the one we have here in Indiana with Elevate Ventures, which by the way, is the most active Venture Capital Fund in the Great Lakes region invested hundreds of tech companies over the last several years, but then we’re also introducing virtual events back into the mix. So actually Helen Valley got its name as we started doing these big virtual conferences back in 2020. Thousands of people attended, these throughout 2020 2021. And what we found is that Far and Away the executives, we’re getting tons of value out of these, and we’re going to bring him back for two events in January of 2023, but I’m kind of a different way, it kind of a more focused. And again, curated certified stay tuned for that cuz you going to get to hear more of that in fact will share some of those best virtual event Snippets right here on the power of a podcast.

About the last piece of this as we build some marketing Tech that, I think it’s kind of unique, the way we’ve applied it here, and that is we’ve created these company. Culture, profile is company profiles for as a mansion more than 4,000 companies have a profile on Saturday and you go check them all out, but we specifically built it to help show what makes this company and the product unique. And what’s unique about Powder. Keg is not only that, it’s an employer friendly to other people who actually work at the company share, what it’s like working at that company. And, you know, we of course, have data points on what text back is, it is being used. And, of course, the update on what all the jobs are at that company. When you follow one of our member companies on Powder, case something happens, it’s kind of different than other platforms. What will happen if you actually get an email from Nate, Nate will send you an email after your father’s company sharing a I need

Sing video from that CEO or Tech leader, then maybe a day later, maybe a week later, you might get a testimonial that and a Sizzle reel, or a Sizzle reel, that you wouldn’t find anywhere else. You might see a customer Advocate video of my employees talking about what it’s like to work there and then add these people in the company, contribute to the thought, leadership, as a follower of each of these companies, you will get that information first. Do you actually get to keep tabs on the leaders at each of these tech companies? So that as you might be looking to explore your next adventure or looking to invest in your next company, we’re looking to partner with another company. You kind of have that inside scoop, when you’ve gotten to know this company over time and we’re finding that our member companies that are using this, they’re using it to, you know, of course. But you know, all of our companies have a CRM and 80s platform and in those are used to move deals, forward gear, and being customer relationship management. Platform 80s meaning, applicant, Tracking System 44,

Hiring for moving the deals forward. The way we built this project Powderkeg is our persistent sore. The third party endorsements help Elevate each of those companies brand. That’s not something I’m seeing in. Other marketplaces sodas play are most like category creation. Quote-unquote feature that we have on the platform we’re seeing it being used across our membership to engage Talent. We’re seeing it, being used to nurture relationship and build a r. R momentum with sales, prospects with potential partners, and receiving it to connect, and engage in, stay up-to-date with investors as well. So it’s just a cool opportunity and I’m excited about what we’re doing here right now, talking to, because we’re seeing that across our membership here from new hires and customers to conversions and Investments. You know, our community are Global communities here at Powderkeg and the resource networks deliver consistently

You’re a big part of that magic here at Powderkeg. So, doesn’t want to give you a huge shout out for the, the work, they’re doing behind the scenes of the detect platform and, you know, in front of the teams of the deck platform as well. But it’s been really cool too. Kind of turn this corner into a private member Network specifically for executives. Because now we’re seeing half dozen or so new. Customers every single week. Last few weeks were seeing, we’re definitely seeing some momentum and growth in the community that it continued through throughout. You know, since we last consistently did this podcast in 2020, and I’m really excited to bring some of those stories out from behind the pay wall a powderkeg, and insure them with you. Folks are interested in me on Valley. Absolutely love, love that. And on the top of the sharing stories, Matt gave me in our, in our free kind of preparation for, for the

I see you wanted a fun Community segment. So, I went out to some of our executive members, Matt, and I have a rapid fire lightning round of stories from the archives or I I want a point people. After you subscribe to the power to Take podcast on the Powder. Keg Channel on YouTube. Make sure you go check out that hunk or his personal Channel on YouTube. There is some 1210 year plus videos of pitch ideas that are spectacular. If you want to see some of those original events and in the pictures that that we’re done there, go check out now and we’re on YouTube, it’s phenomenal spend hours there, just seeing I mean, 10 a decade ago, there’s Founders were across the valley, making some great pictures and some wild ideas, but the executive community and I got a lot of things. I will say a lot of those companies have been created scaled and acquired. So they’re actually some really cool From the Vault videos on that that channel. So I can’t believe you found those.

Those are great a social media stalker. I can find anything out about anyone that’s on the internet so we generated some rapid fire lightning round questions about the archives. So I want to start with Matt visit were talking in terms of in-person to school events, best food in in the city where you posted a powder? Take a bath.

Oh, wow. I got to give a shout out to nameless catering, who came up with us here in the India, Tech Community, they consistently have great food. And any time, I can have nameless do our event. It is consistently the best catered food. But, wow, I mean, to the barbecue is just legit. I mean, I think we hesitated competition at South by one year and I think that day I made it over to, oh my gosh. Now I’m blanking on it in Austin, Franklin Franklin’s is delicious and I watch the master class from the Pitmaster there. So I’ve learned how to do, you know,

Poor Man’s brisket, but that, that brisket is beyond measure any and it is, it is just off-the-charts delicious, right? We’ll give that Franklin Barbecue. Sxsw Austin. Great, great choice. Next 10. Coolest venue that you posted a Powderkeg of it.

Oh, you catch me, off-guard my mind, my memory with names is terrible, but there is a historic church in Memphis Tennessee. We did Pitch competition there with rise of the rest. It is a historic church because it was a really big part of the civil rights movement in a lot of the protests were organized there and I am not remembering the name off the top of my head, but it was, it was just, it was a very cool. Very different venue than anywhere you could possibly possibly imagine. But I wasn’t inventing some very weird, then he’s going to start taking that you’ve ever had. Most funny laugh just like best time to give it to me. I mean, I am going to have to go with the one that we’re having next Wednesday, like I can already

It’s going to be the best. We’re going to have more than 100 Executives from around the Midwest. There in person in our offices at 16 Tech in downtown Indianapolis. I mean

I’m looking forward to it. But, you know, the best that might be reason to be biased than just the fact that I always live in the future to a fault. Sometimes. I meant to say the best, one was the one that’s happening next week. Perfect. In his final, final question, we have give me a time at an event that you hosted on this, a hosted that you’ve been Starstruck. Who was it? When are you serious?

I’m always impressed by the people on its outer. Take stage Starstruck for whatever reason.

Doesn’t really happen to me.

like I always just be people as people and like I know that even the biggest celebrities, whether it’s Mark Cuban or Tony Shay, Mark Cuban is probably the time I felt most

Off my game. So I’ll tell a quick cookie anecdote here, which was met Mark Cuban and a hosted, like a little, like Shark Tank watching party here in Indianapolis for Mark when he was staying. You know downtown at one of the nice hotels and just reached out on. Email got something set up to do a shark tank. Watch party in like a hotel bar and so I got to meet Mark, who’s are you alone is where I went to school so he can spend time downtown Bloomington Indiana. That was that there was a connection there and we were watching.

Truck Tech, which was great. But I mean, come on got to watch shark, tank with Mark Cuban. That’s amazing. But Marcia, okay, so give me the pitch. What’s your, what’s your company do? I said, hey, man, I got, I got nothing to pitch. You like, I just wanted to, like, give people an opportunity to meet you and just thought it’d be cool for you to see kind of what is happening here in the Indiana and Midwest Tech ecosystem since you started your, you know, down at IU and he was like,

Fail total sale in Austin or should always have a pitch ready to go?

And I think he’s right, you know I he was absolutely right, like I should have had some sort of ass like it’s freaking Mark Cuban, he’s a billionaire and massively well-connected. And at that point in time in my career I was kind of like I’m never going to ask something for someone on the first meat ever. I’m always going to love to give first and my I did it to a fault and so that’s my lesson learned and probably, I don’t know if I would say Starstruck, but I would, I would say, I was a dummy in front of a really massive star.

Happens to the best of us that happens to the best of us. Well, that’s all I have for the rabbit fart lightning round. But for the listeners out there, if you would like to be included in a future, that would fire lightning round where we at Matt and, or our guests fun. Interesting questions, please. Keep them lighthearted and fun, and that’s what makes it. It’s great. And we get real stories, hit me up on LinkedIn. We’d love to share your stories are in your questions. To pull out fun stories from our guests and and look forward to Future rapid fire lightning.

Brother Nate. I love that idea and thanks for doing an impromptu. You definitely caught me off-guard and I think we got some good stories there. Thank you for tuning in. We will officially launch on Valley next week with some really great episodes that were bringing to some really big names in tack. So, I really hope you TuneIn in the meantime, if you can leave us a review, if you could share this, if you could subscribe on whatever platform Spotify, iTunes Google podcast wherever you listen to podcast, even if you don’t listen to podcast just subscribe to it. It helps us get the word out there about the on Valley and what’s going on. He’s awesome, Tech Community, Beyond Silicon Valley. It is a movement and it’s it’s only a movement that is growing if you’re part of it and help care what’s going on here. So thank you so much for tuning in. We want to build this with you, so please leave a feedback if it’s negative feedback, we prefer you not do that in your iTunes review or your podcast.

Review to shoot us an email, Matt at That’s literally our email addresses. We talked to hundreds of community members every single day and we love to hear from you. On Valley is brought to you by Powderkeg, which is the local driven, Ashley connected Tech Community. And as I shared earlier in the show, how to take is now, the only private member that works focus on supporting tech companies and Executives in communities Beyond Silicon Valley. So be sure to visit Tire premium if you are an executive or a leader at a tech company. Again, this Powderkeg. Calm, premium and you can apply there to be considered for membership. We would love to talk to you regardless even if it’s not the right fit right now, we can still get you plugged into some of the other executive members, some of the companies. And if you’re looking for a job in Tech, working with one of our powder, pay premium members how to jobs is a great place to start.

Thanks for tuning in to on Valley. The show for leaders who want to unlock their full potential and plug into the biggest opportunities in Tech and startups be on Silicon Valley. Again, I was your host, Matt Hunkler, and co-host, Nate Spangle at a community at Powderkeg, thanks again and we’ll see you next time on Unvalley.