2021 TAG Summit: What is the Biggest Challenge Facing Atlanta’s Tech Companies Today? – Ron McMurtrie, GTS Co-chair

Recently, the ASBN team was on-location at the 2021 Georgia Technology Summit where anchor Jim Fitzpatrick spoke with Ron McMurtrie, Chief Marketing and Business Enablement Officer of Sage. McMurtrie is also the Georgia Technology Summit Co-Chair, a TAG board member and an executive committee member as well.

Stay tuned for more coverage from the 2021 Georgia Technology Summit.

TRANSCRIPTION:

Jim Fitzpatrick:
Talk to us about the impact that an event like this has, and the importance of it during times like this.

Ron McMurtrie:
Well, it’s a connector. That’s one of TAG’s big charters, and our primary strategy. And what it really does, it’s the only event of its kind that connects the full ecosystem of multiple industries, 23 different societies, different content speakers under one roof, in a day and a half celebrates and honors and foreshadows what’s going to happen in tech in Georgia.

Jim Fitzpatrick:
That’s right. And what’s the state of tech in Georgia currently?

Ron McMurtrie:
Well, by all measures thriving. COVID created a lot of change, but for Georgia, in my view, it created a lot of great change. There’s companies from all over the US, global, that are now headquartering here. They’re investing. They’re investing in the communities. And while some industries have absolutely had to pivot, there’s more good and more growth than we’ve ever seen in Georgia.

Jim Fitzpatrick:
Sure. You know, we hear about the influx of people coming out of the Northeast, predominantly New York, and also coming out of California because of taxes and political issues, or what have you. Has Georgia benefited from that in a big way?

Ron McMurtrie:
In my view, yes. And it’s not just the Northeast in California. You got people migrating. There’s certain work populations that are thriving now.

Jim Fitzpatrick:
Sure.

Ron McMurtrie:
And even if you just look at the most recent census, the Southeast is becoming a hub for tech growth, and we’re benefiting from it. And this event like this highlights that.

Jim Fitzpatrick:
Yeah, that’s right. What are some of the challenges that face tech companies currently in the current environment? What are some of the things that keep you awake at night about some of the clients that either you have, that you’re working with, or the companies that you hear about?

Ron McMurtrie:
The biggest challenge most are going through right now is adjusting to what the future of work’s going to look like. And we all went really deep and dark and into our basements-

Jim Fitzpatrick:
That’s right. There’s right.

Ron McMurtrie:
… and into our home offices, and figured out how to parent dynamically or figured out how to socialize in a virtual world.

Jim Fitzpatrick:
That’s right.

Ron McMurtrie:
And for many, innovation continues because innovation can be done virtually. But there’s a point of collaboration and a point of inclusion that comes together when you bring people together. Most are sorting what the future of work looks like and how you grow in that space.

Jim Fitzpatrick:
That’s right.

Ron McMurtrie:
And I think there’s a lot that… good that came out of COVID. It advanced technology cycles at leaps and bounds that would have taken 10, 20 years to do in most cases.

Jim Fitzpatrick:
That’s right.

Ron McMurtrie:
But in the same regard, I think what’s going to happen, the biggest change we’re going to see is, what the future of work looks like and how people work together to advance things.

Jim Fitzpatrick:
Right. We’ve spoken to a couple of presidents and C suite individuals at some of the tech companies here in Georgia. And they said that now that everybody’s used to working at home and working virtually, it has completely opened up the entire pool of talent, on not just a national basis, but a worldwide basis. Have you found that to be the case?

Ron McMurtrie:
Yeah. I mean, we’ve all had to hire people that have not been onboarded in what we used to call traditional. People have been hired without in-person interviews. They’ve been onboarded through Zoom calls or your conference brand du jour at the time. But it does open up the workforce. But you still have to connect that workforce. So much about work is connecting, and the best work is done when you’re connected. Sometimes just, it’s great to have those kinds of whiteboarding sessions.

Jim Fitzpatrick:
It is.

Ron McMurtrie:
But less time traveling, more time engaging. But it has opened up the workforce. And even I’ve hired many people that… Once you learn how to run a diverse and dispersed workforce, you can create a really strong presence.

Jim Fitzpatrick:
Sure, sure. When will Georgia pass Northern California to be the place that the tech entrepreneurs start?

Ron McMurtrie:
Well, our lieutenant governor is working really hard with his innovation council to make Georgia the west coast hub of tech. And there’s a lot of us behind that. I think California is always going to have a strong presence. Silicon Valley is a very special place. But I’ll say that Georgia is going to carry its own. And it’s very clear by the presence of even west coast companies that are now forming large east coast operations here, that we’ll be head to head before you know it.

Jim Fitzpatrick:
And there’s a lot of money that’s now flowing in, right? A lot of private equity money, and a lot of other dollars that are now flowing into Georgia companies, right? Where that used to not be always the case.

Ron McMurtrie:
Well, Georgia has always had a great presence and a lot of investment, but there is more PE work being done here, and more investments in startups than we’ve seen in prior years, and that will continue to grow. And what you’re also seeing is these companies that are coming in are supporting those that are already invested in the community, and that it’s growing in multiples now. So there’s development on the west side, development on the south end, parts that were not traditionally known for tech and business, and that’s sprawling out. It’s not just in a few hubs.

Jim Fitzpatrick:
Yeah. And now we’ve got Microsoft and Apple and so many other big brands that are now coming and having any presence in Georgia in a very big way. There will be spinoffs, and there’ll be a lot of other types of companies that sprout up as a result of that, right?

Ron McMurtrie:
And that is what TAG’s all about, connecting that ecosystem and fostering it. And just look at all the startup hubs that we have that are now starting to flourish and really coming about.

Jim Fitzpatrick:
That’s right. That’s right. Yep. Ron McMurtrie, thank you so much for joining us on the show. It’s always a pleasure catching up with you. I’d love to have you in the studio now that we can bring people in the studio.

Ron McMurtrie:
And I’d look forward to it.

Jim Fitzpatrick:
Yeah, that’d be great.

Ron McMurtrie:
And thank you.

Jim Fitzpatrick:
Yeah. Great. Thanks so much.

Ron McMurtrie:
Bye. Bye, now.


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