Of all the huge changes the internet has brought over the past two decades, social media is one of the most profound.
Platforms like Facebook and Twitter have fundamentally changed the way we interact with information, and their effects can be felt everywhere. From the way we interact with one another, to the way significant events circulate through the collective awareness.
It is why, regardless of niche or scope, most areas of business have seen themselves transformed by social media, and marketing is no exception!
As technology improves and these platforms evolve to accommodate user preferences, we’ve seen a clear effort to address the rising demand for video content. With many businesses already capitalizing on it!
In a recent survey on video marketing trends conducted by Yum Yum Videos, an entire section was dedicated to exploring this interaction.
The survey queried 167 business owners across the U.S. and amounted to more than 20 different findings. In this piece, you’ll find a few of the most relevant results on the subject of social media.

Most Businesses Are Using Social Media for Video Marketing
Almost everyone in the game is probably very aware of how big of a deal social media is when it comes to marketing. And yet, the numbers that speak to its level of acceptance in regards to video content remain impressive:
83% of businesses use social media platforms to distribute video marketing content.
A number that’s only made more impressive if you account for other studies revealing that about 91% of businesses in the United States actively use social media for marketing.
Users today have grown to expect video content from the brands they interact with, and companies have been quick to abide. When the alternative is to risk being overshadowed by competitors who do address this demand, it’s easy to understand why.
When It Comes to Video Distribution, YouTube’s The Way to Go
When asked about the most effective medium to distribute video content on, the majority of queried business owners agreed loud and clear: YouTube.
57% of queried business owners chose YouTube as the most effective social media platform to distribute video content.
Again, not entirely surprising but very significant nonetheless. Especially when you factor in some of the other stats we’ll go over later in this piece.
In spite of the two other runner-up’s making great efforts to boost their platforms video content potential, it’s clear they still have a long way to go. At least in widespread perception and awareness. Facebook came out with 26% of the votes, and Instagram rounded up the top three with 15%.

As Far as Generating Interaction, Facebook’s in the Lead
So YouTube seems generally regarded as the go-to platform for video distribution. But how about when you go a bit more specific?
When asked about the best social media site to generate more interactions with video marketing content, the tables shifted.
39% of surveyed business owners agreed that Facebook led the pack in this regard. Instagram came second, with 32% of the answers, and YouTube got relegated to the third place with only 26% of the votes.
Meaning that even though YouTube is the undisputed platform for video content in general, video marketing campaigns whose goal is to get users participation might perform better on Zuckerberg’s playground.
In Terms of Investment, Instagram Seems the Way to Go
Some of you might be asking yourself, how about Instagram? Did it distinguish itself in any category? As a matter of fact, yes! And in a big one!
34% of queried business owners chose Instagram as the social media platform with better ROI. Facebook came in second place with 33% of the votes, and YouTube came in third, with 28%.
When it’s all said and done, and a business has to invest in promoting their video content, Instagram seems to provide an edge.
Granted, things seem pretty even with Facebook. So much so that depending on your circumstances, you might as well choose to remain in that ecosystem. However, when business performance is on the line, sometimes that small edge can be worth a lot.

Investing in Social Media Promotion: Yay or Nay?
Lastly, and probably two of the most actionable stats to come out of Yum Yum’s survey related precisely to investing in those platforms’ promotional services.
Deciding whether or not to invest in promoting your video content can be tricky. Especially if your company has never done it before and lacks a frame of reference. It might come as a surprise to some, but promoting your videos in social media seems to have become a fairly common practice. In fact, 84% of the business owners we surveyed had invested in a social media platform to do so – Which is really only half of the equation.
When asked how satisfied they were with their decision, 85% stated to be satisfied with the return of investment of their video marketing efforts in social media. Numbers that speak not only to the confidence placed but also the results obtained through the marriage of social media and video marketing.
Summing Up
With developments like Facebook stating its commitment to double down on video content, and Instagram supporting video content with platforms like IGTV, the growth of video marketing in social media is to be expected.
And yet, these statistics indicate a ratio of acceptance and effectiveness from this synergy that surpasses conservative expectations.
Moving forward, businesses should remain attentive to these developments, and explore the enormous potential that combining video content and social media is already having for many companies out there.

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Struggling to figure out the best Ecommerce platform for small business? Here’s a complete guide to discovering the best Ecommerce platforms!

E-commerce websites dominate the Internet in the United States. More than 110,000 individual eCommerce sites account for 12%+ of the 100,000 websites with the highest online traffic.
It may seem like there’s no more room until you consider that more than 1.65 billion people shop online. Researchers expect that number to grow to almost 2.15 billion by 2021.
You can still compete for a slice of that massive pie if you choose the right platform to build your business. Learn what is the best eCommerce platform for small business below.
What is the Best eCommerce Platform for Small Business?
If we go off popularity alone, WooCommerce takes the prize as the most used eCommerce platform. 22% of the top 1 million websites using an eCommerce tool use WooCommerce. That’s about 4,000 more than use Shopify, the second most popular.
Despite this popularity, it’s impossible to know for sure what platform would work best for your small business.
The best eCommerce platform is the one that you feel comfortable using and meets your preferred standards. Even though WordPress is so popular, there are definitely some great advantages to hosted eCommerce solutions like BigCommerce.
Check out the following breakdown of the 7 most popular eCommerce platforms to help you figure out what will work best for your business.
Self-hosted price: Free
Since we already established WooCommerce is the most popular, we’ll look at their services first. The WooCommerce platform is standalone software that gets installed on a web server and fully integrates with an existing WordPress site.
WooCommerce comes with many useful features like:

Integrated order and product management
Customer management through third-party plugins
A variety of payment options
Thousands of paid and free themes online
Mobile-friendly (as long as the theme is mobile-friendly)
Decent reports on store activity and sales tracking
Bandwidth limited based on your host
The ability to offer coupon codes and discounts
Thousands of available sales extensions

It’s important to note that as an open-source eCommerce tool, the free, basic WooCommerce plugin does not come with dedicated customer support. Find answers to any questions in the official community forums and in WooCommerce Docs.
You can purchase a paid dedicated support extension through their website, but this means the service isn’t free.
Standard price: Ranges from $9 up to $299 per month
Shopify comes in a close second to WooCommerce in terms of popularity. It’s a subscription-based service that includes hosting for your online shop as well. The service also includes a subdomain that you can connect to your main domain name.
Shopify comes with the following features:

Integrated order, product, and basic customer management
A multitude of payment gateways
100+ themes as well as more available through third-party websites
The ability to directly edit HTML and CSS
Mobile-friendly with thousands of apps
Unlimited bandwidth
Decent reports on sales tracking and store activity
The option to offer discounts, coupon codes, and gift cards
The ability to sell through multiple sales channels including Facebook, Point-of-Sale, and more.
24/7 dedicated customer support via email, phone, live chat, and even Twitter

Shopify’s ability to adapt to a variety of sales channels makes it the ideal choice for switching over from a traditional retail store. It also means you can easily go the opposite way and start with an online shop and expand to a brick-and-mortar store while still using Shopify.
Self-hosted price: Free
Enterprise edition: Between $15,000 and $50,000 per year
Magneto is another subscription-based service that works similarly to Shopify. It also provides hosting space and a subdomain for your shop that you can link to your business’s domain.
Magneto includes these features:

Integrated order, product, and basic customer management
Multiple payment options
100+ themes
Mobile-friendly designs
Unlimited bandwidth
In-depth analytics with great reports and information on abandon carts, purchase funnels, etc.
The ability to provide coupon codes and discounts.
The option to sell on social media platforms and in online marketplaces as well as in-person using Square for credit cards

If you love data, then you should consider Magneto for its extensive analytics module.
It’s also advantageous that you can sell both in-store and online. This makes the transition from exclusively selling one way or the other easier.
Standard price: Ranging from $29.95 to $249.95 per month
Enterprise edition: $900+ per month
BigCommerce offers both standalone software and a subscription-based service. It works similarly to Shopify and offers hosting services as well.
Expect the following features from Big Commerce:

Product and order management
Customer management via customer groups and other outside sources
40+ payment options with no transaction fees
Minimal themes
Mobile optimization
Unlimited bandwidth (when hosted through BigCommerce)
In-depth, advanced reporting on store activity and sales
A whopping 5,000+ available extensions
The ability to provide discounts and coupon codes
Flexible shipping options with instant rate calculations
Options for returns
Multi-lingual support options
The option to create newsletters
Multiple available APIs
Integration with social media networks, eBay, and Amazon

The large number of tools and extensions that work with BigCommerce make it easy to customize your experience. Check out their app store to see the many options for automation, product promotion, and email marketing.
Standard price: Ranging from $26 to $269 per month
One of the oldest eCommerce platforms out there, Volusion is a drag-and-drop visual website builder first established in 1999.
It also offers hosting and comes with the following features:

Product, order, and customer management
The ability to sell from 100 to an unlimited number of products
Many payment options
1-35GB of bandwidth per month
Built-in tools for SEO
Detailed reports and analytics like abandoned cart stats
Integration with social media, Amazon, and eBay
Calculation of shipping rates
The option to take phone orders
The ability to sell through many channels including with Point-of-Sale systems
Access to multiple APIs and batch ordering
24/7 customer support through phone and online chat
A manager dedicated to your account

The bandwidth limit may pose issues if you don’t know how much traffic your site receives each month. You must pay an expensive price for the additional traffic over your plan’s allotted bandwidth.
Volusion also charges you for an SSL (secure sockets layer) certificate that every online retail store needs to prove their reliability. Expect to pay at least $180 for one.
You also cannot create a blog directly through the platform. However, it does allow you to link to third-party blog sites through your site menu.
Self-hosted: Free
Cloud-hosted: $30 to $200 per month
OpenCart is the last open source eCommerce platform on this list. You must install OpenCart on your business’s server or find a third-party to host your site. However, they do have a cloud option that relies on Amazon Web Services if you do not feel comfortable hosting the site yourself.
OpenCart includes the following features:

14-day trial to test out services
Product and order support
An easy-to-use dashboard that lets you control multiple stores in one place
Unlimited products, categories, and orders
The ability to sell digital and physical products
Hundreds of payment options including PayPal
13,000+ themes and modules
Options for product reviews and ratings
SSL Certification included
Automatic backups with restore points
Thousands of available plugins and extensions
The ability to offer discounts, coupon codes, and specials
Recurring payments
Supports a variety of currencies
Decent sales reports

Be aware that OpenCart only offers dedicated customer support for cloud users only. Otherwise, you can find answers to your questions in their large community forum.
Standard price: Ranging from $19 to $229 per month
Finally, 3dcart is another visual website editor without the drag-and-drop component. Its main dashboard reflects this visual focus by being clear and easy-to-navigate.
3dcart comes with the features that follow:

Product, order, and customizable customer support
The option to sell up to 100-unlimited products
The ability to sell digital products
Bulk exports and imports
100+ payment gateways with no transaction fees
Unlimited bandwidth, file storage, and orders
Included SSL certificate
Great analytics and reports
Integration with Shopzilla, Facebook, Google Shopping, Amazon, and eBay
Automatic daily backups
FTP for file access
24/7 customer service via phone or live chat
The ability to include customer reviews
Options for waiting lists and to upsell or cross-sell to customers
Integrated marketing and SEO tools
Blogging capabilities

The best part about 3dCart is the support you get from start to finish. Just read through or watch the many tutorials and how-tos that breakdown things like picking your theme or linking to eBay. This makes 3dcart a great option for beginners.
Get More Great Advice for Small Business Owners and Freelancers
You can use an eCommerce platform to expand as a traditional retail business or to build your own online business from scratch. There’s no single answer to what is the best eCommerce platform for small business. That all depends on you, your particular business, and your customers.

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SEOUL, South Korea (AP) — North Korea says nuclear negotiations with United States will never resume unless Washington changes its position.


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The esports industry is one of the world’s greatest economic success stories right now as global revenues are expected to surge past $1 billion this year. North America is the largest market, boasting annual revenue of $409.1 million, and the United States accounts for the vast majority of that. The world’s top five richest esports franchises […]
The post The Growth of Esports in the United States appeared first on %BLOGLINK%%

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SEOUL, South Korea (AP) — A day after threatening long-range rocket launches, North Korea declared Tuesday that it has upgraded and restarted all of its atomic fuel plants so it can produce more — and more sophisticated — nuclear weapons.
Neither announcement was entirely unexpected, and outside analysts see the back-to-back warnings as part of a general North Korean playbook of using claimed improvements in its nuclear and missile programs to push for talks with the United States that could eventually provide the impoverished country with concessions and eased sanctions.
But the threats could deepen a standoff between North Korea and the U.S. and its allies because they strike at Washington's fear that each North Korean rocket and nuclear test puts it another big step closer to its stated goal of an arsenal of nuclear-tipped long-range missiles that can hit the U.S. mainland.
North Korea has spent decades trying to develop just such a weapon, and while it is thought to have a small arsenal of atomic bombs and an impressive array of short- and medium-range missiles, it has yet to demonstrate that it can produce nuclear bombs small enough to place on a missile or can make reliable long-range missiles.
Still, it has conducted three past nuclear tests and a series of steadily improving long-range rocket launches, and some analysts see Tuesday's announcement as foreshadowing an upcoming fourth nuclear test, which would push North Korea further along in its nuclear aims.
North Korea said Tuesday in its state media that, as it pledged to do in 2013, the plutonium and highly enriched uranium facilities at its main Nyongbyon nuclear complex have finally been "rearranged, changed or readjusted and they started normal operation.Read more on

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The issue of immigration has come to the forefront of the 2016 election. While some Republican candidates, like Trump, have supported a hardline stance on the issue, others, like Bush and Rubio, have taken more moderate positions.
Regardless, immigration will continue to dominate the upcoming debates, with the issue of deportation vs. amnesty especially divisive.
To gain a broader perspective on the issue, InsideGov looked back at historical immigration statistics. Using data from the Department of Homeland Security’s Yearbook of Immigration Statistics, InsideGov found the total number of deportations for each presidential administration.
In general, deportations from the U.S. have increased greatly over the last few decades. Here’s how each president ranks in terms of total deportations:
1. The Department of Homeland Security defines deportation as the lawful expulsion of an undesired alien or other person from the United States. Under current definitions, deportation is measured by summing removals and returns in a given year.
2. Removals are defined as the compulsory and confirmed departure of a noncitizen based on an order of removal. Returns are defined as the confirmed departure of a removable noncitizen not based on an order of removal (e.g. a grant of voluntary departure).
3. Data on “removals” goes back to 1892, while data on returns goes back to 1927. Therefore, the total deportation numbers for the first presidents on this list are likely underestimates.
#21. Grover Cleveland

Total Deportations: 9,069
#20. William McKinley

Total Deportations: 13,763
#19. Warren G. Harding

Total Deportations: 60,652
#18. Theodore Roosevelt

Total Deportations: 80,269
#17. William Howard Taft

Total Deportations: 83,150
#16. John F. Kennedy

Total Deportations: 122,753
#15. Woodrow Wilson

Total Deportations: 162,371
#14. Herbert Hoover

Total Deportations: 170,044
#13. Calvin Coolidge

Total Deportations: 199,871
#12. Franklin D. Roosevelt

Total Deportations: 286,816
#11. Lyndon B. Johnson

Total Deportations: 740,175
#10. Richard Nixon

Total Deportations: 2,014,334
#9. Gerald Ford

Total Deportations: 2,412,244
#8. Dwight D. Eisenhower

Total Deportations: 2,616,732
#7. Harry Truman

Total Deportations: 2,944,384
#6. Jimmy Carter

Total Deportations: 3,633,256
#5. Barack Obama

Total Deportations: 3,805,552
#4. George H. W. Bush

Total Deportations: 4,161,683
#3. Ronald Reagan

Total Deportations: 8,276,853
#2. George W. Bush

Total Deportations: 10,328,850
#1. Bill Clinton

Total Deportations: 12,290,905
Research U.S. Presidents on InsideGov

One of the most onerous tasks associated with content marketing is finding “the perfect image.” Does it accurately represent the content and intended audience? Is it shocking enough to capture people’s attention? Is it realistic? I don’t know about you, but all of these questions run through my mind when I spend so much time reviewing a library of thousands of images.
From time to time, marketers take creative license to obtain the “perfect picture.” Take the promotion of Vince Vaughn’s 2015 movie Unfinished Business, for example. Twenty-First Century Fox photoshopped a set of typical, office-related stock images to include the faces of Vaughn and his co-stars. The result? A clever viral campaign that made everyone laugh. However, the movie itself wasn’t exactly a box-office hit.
Although it’s easy to poke fun at them, stock photos are not the enemy – it’s how we use them.
5 trends that are changing the face of marketing imagery
According to Shutterstock, the most-popular stock photography reflects a global society of greater inclusion and cultural understanding. In other words, pasting Vince Vaughn’s handsome face to a stock image is not going to cut it. To grab your customer’s attention, you need realistic and authentic images that resonate with an increasingly diverse society.
Dennis Thomas, senior director of Global Branding Marketing at SAP, agrees with Shutterstock’s observation. “Marketing has definitely changed over the past few years. There is now an enormous emphasis on the customer – addressing where they are in the world and focusing on their needs. This dynamic has shifted how we use corporate imagery and portray people,” he states. “Part of the cause is technology and its impact on every aspect of our lives. For example, enterprise mobility is allowing people to work beyond the confines of an office building. This is forcing us to move away from this staunch, corporate images to fully embrace how our customers really look, work, live, and play.”
Here are five ways stock photos are moving away from cheesy and campy to delivering exactly what marketers want – realistic images that captivate eyeballs and interest.
Ethnic variety is pervasive. As the digital economy enables everyone it touches to establish connections across the globe, marketers are now tasked with relaying their offering’s value to a variety of ethnicities and cultures. Three years ago, a multicultural picture entered Shutterstock’s Top 25 downloads for the first time. Fast-forward to 2015, five such images climbed to the Top 25. The three most popular ethnicities? Middle Eastern, African American, and Asian.
The power of women is front and center. As downloads of women grew by 13% over the past year, so have selections that showcase females assuming the power seat and partaking in activities typically reserved for men. Sure, from time to time, you do see pictures exploiting their beauty and putting them in the background. But increasingly, images are portraying intentions of improved gender equality – even in Turkey, Mexico, Australia, India, the United Kingdom, Brazil, and the United States.
Diversification of sexual and gender orientation is hitting the mainstream. Over the past couple years, many countries have initiated a frank – and sometimes fiery and controversial – debate about the acceptance of LGBT rights. As can be expected, pictures are starting to show the progress of this cultural shift. In fact, nearly 100 countries downloaded at least one image of transgender people this year – with the United States and the United Kingdom taking the lead. “With the increasing prominence the LGBT community is gaining through pop media icons such as Caitlyn Jenner, their lifestyles – which were mostly ignored in the past – are being actively embraced in some countries,” observes Thomas. “Out of that acceptance comes the need to represent people who were once excluded from the mainstream and now included in today’s cultural dialogue.”
Millennials are quickly becoming the preferred audience. Even though babies and children are still popular worldwide, so are Millennials. In fact, marketers purchased three times more images of 20-year-olds than 60-year-olds. Plus, the five fastest-growing markets for downloads of teenagers are all in Asia: Japan, Philippines, Indonesia, Vietnam, and Thailand.
Togetherness resonates with audiences. Whether it’s a father playing catch with his son or a team joining hands together, the power of teamwork, family ties, and friendship is clearly visible. Even though our world is becoming increasingly digital, customers of all ages, regions, and lifestyles are craving closer connections with their loved ones and co-workers. And it is through these images that marketers are showing how their offerings deliver on that value.
How these trends impact your content marketing strategy
Whether it’s a corporate image library or visual media, imagery should reflect the values and intentions of that culture. The trick is knowing the culture you are marketing.
Marketers should never presume they know more about the culture than someone else. It requires a coordination of efforts with teams in the headquarters and the region itself. Instead, they should make a broad selection of images that they think will work and send them to people who experience the culture first hand.
“It would be imperialistic to do otherwise,” advises Thomas. “For example, you may think that pictures of the Great Wall of China and boats on the Yangtze River are cheesy and a tourist’s view. But, you may be surprised to learn that these are endeared images that invoke a sense of national pride that may resonate with your brand.”
For more insights into the changing face of marketing, check out Shutterstock’s interactive infographic.
Click on this image to see the Shutterstock infographic “Changing Faces.”
A great image may get someone to click, but good content is what builds affinity with your brand. See How to Create Better Marketing Stories: Find the Heroism.

Rick Perry, the former Texas governor dropped his second bid for the White House on Friday, the first of the 17 GOP candidates present in the two-part debate a month ago. “Today, I am suspending my campaign for the presidency of the United States,” Perry said in an address in St. Louis that virtually mirrored […]

It’s the National Dog Day everyone! No, it’s not an official holiday, in case you wondered. It was started in 2004 by Pet & Family Lifestyle Expert Colleen Paige to recognize the role of dogs in our lives, as protectors, companions, helpers, and rescuers. It also aims to raise awareness about dogs that need rescuing.
Let’s then, in the spirit of the National Dog Day, enjoy these 10 dog pictures, each captivating in its own right.
It is not quite certain how many dogs there are in the United States. The American Veterinary Medical Association estimated about 70 million dogs were owned in the country in its 2012 U.S. Pet Ownership & Demographics Sourcebook.
Every year, almost 4 million dogs end up in shelters, according to The American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals. More than a million of them are put down.
“All a dog wants to do is love and protect you. That’s all,” Colleen Paige states on her website. “Dogs are amazing, courageous, sensitive, and sentient beings that deserve compassion and respect.”
In almost third of the cases where owners give up a dog, it is because their place doesn’t allow them to keep a dog. Perhaps they moved to a new apartment and the landlord doesn’t want dogs. Or perhaps this is just the most convenient reason people are comfortable giving to surveyers. One in 10 dogs is given up because the owner has a problem with the pet’s behavior.
It costs about $1,300 a year to have a dog, according to So, if you’re up to it, perhaps use today’s occasion to adopt a dog, or donate to a shelter, or at least pet one.

Everyone knows that some of the world’s largest technology corporations reside in the Silicon Valley of California, and it’s hard to compete with the area’s wealth. However, the Bay area isn’t the only United States tech hub. Atlanta, Georgia is also a major player in the technology sector.
As far as technological advancements and major tech companies are concerned, Silicon Valley is far ahead of Atlanta. However, when it comes to small tech businesses and startups, aspiring entrepreneurs will have a tough time in the Silicon Valley. The Bay area is one of the worst places to begin a company, but those dreams have often been realized simply by visiting Atlanta Tech Village or Tech Square in Georgia.
The tech industry in Atlanta is already quite impressive, and there is always room for growth in the technology business sector. Atlanta grants more than 1,500 patents to new businesses alone for new technological innovations every year. It’s also been named one of the best places to start a business by Forbes. This is just one of the many reasons that Atlanta is defining itself as the East Coast’s version of Silicon Valley, but here are a few more:
1. Atlanta’s Economy Is Rising
It’s true the Silicon Valley’s economy is booming, and the average salary for a tech job is the highest in the nation. However, Atlanta isn’t far behind. The city took a significant hit in the 2008 financial crisis, but it’s been steadily gaining speed in the tech industry. According to a chart from 42 Floors, “The Atlanta metropolitan area is considered the eighth-largest economy in the country and the sixteenth-largest economy in the world.” This booming economy is largely a result of their determination to put startup companies on the map.
2. Woman-Owned Businesses Can Make It in Atlanta
Georgia is currently one of the best states for women-owned businesses. In fact, it was the number one state in 2013, according to the Atlanta Business Chronicle. The Bay area has always been high on the list of regions that support women-owned businesses, but they haven’t reached the top. Prominent women-operated businesses including Partpic and Rimidi got their start in Atlanta, and have already been largely successful at expanding their businesses.
3. There’s No Shortage of Fortune 500 Companies
With the third largest concentration of Fortune 500 companies in America, Atlanta can certainly compete with the major concentration of high-profile businesses in Silicon Valley. However, Atlanta’s businesses are far more willing to work with the surrounding startup businesses to help them get a leg up in the industry. What’s more, British tech firms looking to infiltrate the United States tend to gravitate more often towards Atlanta than larger tech hubs because of the success rate for startups. This means they’re slowly going international.
4. Atlanta Has Drive
If you look into the history of Atlanta, you’ll see that it hasn’t had an easy time staying at the top. However, it continually works to rebuild itself, both figuratively and literally. It’s the only United States city to have burned entirely to the ground twice and then picked up the pieces and started over again. This idea has translated to the way they handle new entrepreneurs and tech jobs.
The city has a drive to stay afloat, come recessions or natural disasters. It’s the sheer determination of Atlanta to help startups and small businesses rise to the top that will have the Silicon Valley watching their backs in the future.