Guest Blogger: Why I Love Reporting on the Ocean State Tech Scene - Courtney Gabrielson


I love my job.

Why? A bit of context: I'm new market editor at Rhode Island Inno, a digital media and events company that covers local tech and innovation through our online content, newsletter and events. Rhody Inno is one of nine (soon to be 10!) markets within American Inno's larger networks of publications across the country (think places Austin, Chicago, Boston, Cincinnati, and more).

We get asked a lot what we mean by “innovation." Our team defines it as something that drives change for the better, so, to my delight, the breadth of topics we cover is wide. In Rhode Island, we’ve written stories about the traditional tech startup (think Upserve, Medley Genomics) and then we have pieces on a drone service run out of a van or centuries-old soap manufacturer.

The goal of these stories and resources is to first cultivate a readership of next-generation business leaders who are movers and shakers in their ecosystems, and then consistently inform, connect and enrich them with our stories, events and newsletters (dubbed “The Beat," it's a weekly missive you can sign up for here.).

So, startup founders, entrepreneurs, those hustling to make a difference in their tech community or at their office — essentially anyone driving change for the better — are the people who inspire us and fuel our work.

All that to say, my day-to-day is spent talking with and sharing the stories of these founders and entrepreneurs and the work they're doing to make their community — and in some cases, the world — a bit better.

In an age where there's just so much content and just so many headlines, many of which are of the "bummer" variety, it's immensely invigorating to be so enmeshed in an ecosystem where its movers and shakers are fired up about their work, passionate about helping other entrepreneurs develop their dreams and ultimately in love with their community and their state.

It's also equally wonderful to be plugged into an ecosystem that has so much going on. As I'm fond of saying, when we launched in July of 2017, I knew we'd have lots of Rhode Island tech news and startups to cover, but I didn't realize just how busy the ecosystem would keep us.

Seriously: There's been everything from the advent of fresh organizations led by impressive students founders (GoPeer, for example) to large-scale M&As (CVS and AetnaVirgin Pulse and RedBrick!), new pitch competitions (MassChallenge Rhode Island, which debuted earlier this year, just announced its first-ever cohort) to major up-and-coming resources (Rhode Island Inno was among those members of the press allowed to tour the Wexford Innovation Center construction site in Providence).

All this buzz isn't just anecdotal, either. In fact, the Ocean State had the highest ranking jump of 10 spots in Chief Executives' 2018 list of "Best States for Business" list, coming in at No. 32. That's huge!

As it's been said, "Rhode Island is on the move." That it is. And it's a pleasure to be here reporting on it.