A Stroll Through DeveloperTown…

Meet Michael Coffey. He’s a new partner at DeveloperTown — a tech-focused incubator/accelerator hybrid in Indianapolis’ Broad Ripple district. He was hired recently to help organize the company’s operations, and is working to bring to life some of America’s next big ideas. (I met with him today in preparation for a BizVoice magazine article I’m writing on DeveloperTown for the September/October edition.)

But Coffey isn’t a native of Indiana. In fact, he hadn’t spent much time here at all before leaving his Napa Valley, California home — and business he started — behind and relocating his family to help ignite the fire of innovation here — a fire that gets bolder and brighter each year. He pointed to Indianapolis’ cost of living, state and local support for small businesses and family-friendly atmosphere as the reasons for his move.

But I’ll spare you the long version of this encouraging story, and just use this as a tease for the article.

However, I wanted to highlight one of his quotes that resonated with me — largely because I’m so proud of our work with the Best Places to Work in Indiana rankings. My myriad discussions and interviews with these companies over the years have all contained one overarching theme: employees matter. And according to Coffey, they matter more than just about anything.

One of the concepts we push on companies is getting organizations to understand that their number one customer is their employees. The secondary customer is the one who’s paying you money. But if you take care of your primary customer, your secondary customer will always be taken care of… If every organization actually understood that, there would be more emphasis on the actual values and mission of the company.

As Indiana becomes a hotbed of innovation with each passing year, it becomes more apparent that innovation is about a lot more than just technology. It’s about approach. It’s about philosophy. It’s about thinking differently. 

Coffey also mentioned on several different occasions how he hopes to help communicate to local residents and developers that they don’t need to live in California or Boston to be happy or feel successful.

"You actually live in a cool place," he asserts. "And the people here are genuinely kind and want to help you."

Knowing someone like Coffey can happily relocate from scenic wine country because of the possibilities in our state is inspiring — and I’m especially eager to see how DeveloperTown helps our many brilliant-minded thinkers succeed. To see if it can help your start-up or existing company, just reach out.