Why set up shop in Nashville Tennessee? It’s not a unique idea, tons of companies are forming and moving here, this city is growing like mad. However, the perception still remains – the big tech companies (and VC money) are still in San Francisco, and the really solid creative agencies tend to be based out of Los Angeles and New York.

Of course that’s changing and a part of that change is cost of living. But that’s actually a very small part of why cities cultivate successful creative and tech shops. I’ll stand by Nashville as having the ingredients and the last few years are proving it. And I say this as a global hobo – I was born in Europe, I grew up and got my ad agency chops in Los Angeles, I lived and worked in Beijing for a half of a decade, my wife is Australian so I’m there heaps and we travel a lot. So this is not some sentimental hometown perspective.

There are lots of reasons why people move to different cities, cost of living, climate, lifestyle, opportunity, etc. But for creative and tech I think there are two interesting non-traditional factors. One is a place that’s evolving, moving fast, where there’s purpose and action. The other is that a city actually has to have a creative culture.

Purpose / Action

It’s great to be in a booming city that’s defining itself. I love my hometown of Los Angeles but in many ways that city is settled. We stand on the shoulders of the men and women that made LA what it is today. But to be a part of a city that is almost more of a movement is special. To know that your fingerprints can be apart of the city, whatever it ends up being in 30 years is pretty amazing.

Nashville went from the center of country music, which is an amazing story by itself – to a healthcare industry hub, a huge music scene (not just country anymore) to a booming restaurant and bar scene, and a growing tech scene. The entrepreneurs here, the creative culture, and the musicians are forging a new Music City. That drives purpose, which is attractive to doers.

Entertainment City / Creativity

This is an important aspect. If you’re going to attract creative talent – creative people want to be around creativity. With the music scene here you get that. It creates an entire ecosystem of lifestyle around the central DNA that is music – great coffee shops to open your laptop and work, music venues everywhere, a foodie scene, cool dive bars, and there are always live events.

This unique edge, a true creative culture is how LA, New York, San Francisco and more recently Austin formed, and Nashville has these key ingredients. Top-level talent can live, thrive and create a special city in places that. Sure there are a lot of other exciting growing cities, but Nashville has the secret sauce.