Adopting a Culture of Changing-Culture: Thoughts from the Tech Impact Awards

October 13, 2015

En route to the Seattle Business Magazine Tech Impact Awards to see some of the area’s hottest up and coming companies, I thought I’d pick the brains of some fellow Seattle-natives on what makes the city’s tech industry stand out. Chalk it up to my overwhelming sense of Northwest pride, or that we were attending an event highlighting the city’s brightest tech companies, but I felt like celebrating Seattle.

A simple question and response turned into what I found would be the theme for the night. From a couple of PR gurus who have been in the tech industry for most of their careers, one main theme emerged – culture. The culture of Seattle, compared to Silicon Valley in this example, stood out and separated the city from California’s tech mecca. I’m not saying one culture is better than the other; the Valley has obviously seen great success so they’re doing something right. But Seattle is seeing it, too.


tech impact awards

PHOTO CREDIT: John Curry Photography & Seattle Business Magazine


From behemoths like Expedia to startups like Anthology, the award winners were celebrated for the impact they had made on the city’s flourishing tech industry. The awards program led up to the Lifetime Achievement Award for Tom Alberg, Managing Director of Madrona Venture Group, who was recognized for his devotion to his hometown and commitment to grow the industry. Tom acknowledged the city’s culture as a reason for not only his success, but the achievement of the Seattle tech industry as a whole. I couldn’t help but think of the conversation I had earlier in the evening.

“Seattle is open and welcoming,” said Alberg, noting its ability to accept all different backgrounds in an effort to build towards a common goal. The growth of the city is astounding and, yes, leads to traffic-jams and bathroom-shortages, but it has been exciting to see it grow and adapt to the culture of changing-culture.

Microsoft and Amazon have helped produce the first and 15th richest people on Forbes’ List Of The 500 Richest People In The World 2015, respectively, justifying Seattle’s place alongside other tech hubs. The impact those two companies alone have on the region is impossible to ignore, and is evident in how rapidly startups appear and grow in the area. Innovation leads to more innovation. As companies continue to stake a strong foothold in Seattle, innovation and cultural changes will continue to bleed through.


seattle bus mag

PHOTO CREDIT: John Curry Photography & Seattle Business Magazine


Tom’s comments made it easy to visualize the cyclical impact of the tech industry. The startups recognized at the Tech Impact Awards will drive more talent to the area, which will lead to more innovation and ideas, which will spur the creation of even more startups, and the cycle continues. “Cherish what is happening,” Alberg closed. “Work to support it.”

As a PR practitioner, it is exciting to be in the thick of it with companies like those we saw take the stage, and imagine what their impact will be on the tech industry, the Pacific Northwest region and beyond.



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