Exciting days for Chattanoogans! In fact, these are exciting days for innovators and entrepreneurs around the globe! And the unlikely place for this excitement is right here in Chattanooga.

There has been a lot of good press about Chattanooga’s gigabit fiber to the home service over the last year or so. The big question for the last year- “What does the world look like when everyone has a gig?”

Well, ideas of really cool applications are beginning to swirl in places like the Annenberg Innovation Lab at USC and other research institutions around the world. The problem with many of these applications? They don’t have access to anyone with a gig of access that can test their ideas. And any time you are trying to launch a new company, especially one with an unproven (read “prerevenue”) technology, it is difficult to raise money. All potential investors love to see prototypes and customer use/feedback, which reduces their risk.

Now the great news- Chattanooga has over a hundred thousand potential testers of new applications! This provides an incredibly fertile opportunity for innovators from around the globe to come and actually try to build their prototype here. And that’s exactly what the Gig Prize is all about- attracting the best and brightest students and entrepreneurs from around the globe to compete for the chance to win up to $250,000 and change the world. Not bad for a small Southern town.

You know, it feels pretty surreal to have all of this happening right here in Chattanooga. Five years ago when I was starting my web startup here, people looked at me like I was crazy (maybe at that point in time I was!) that I would try something like that in Chattanooga. But now it’s not such a crazy thing to come to Chattanooga to build the next generation web applications. Chattanooga is the playground that everyone will want to play on…you’ll see.

Fun days ahead!