What You’ll Learn…
- An overview of Seattle’s tech marketing scene, especially its focus on the person before the job, as opposed to the “what you do before who you are” attitude of the Bay area.
- How Nate Strong started his popular blog, “Our North Seattle,” as a means to utilize his love of writing to bring attention to the issues in North Seattle and activate the local community to get involved in resolving these issues.
- Some fun facts about the North Seattle area (including commuting hacks and hidden gems), Strong’s feelings on how the recent growth in Seattle is affecting North Seattle specifically, and his hopes and concerns for the future.
A Seattle transplant and digital marketing guru, Nate Strong is proud to call the neighborhood of Lake City in North Seattle his current home. By day, Strong works at Socedo, a Seattle-based marketing tech company, managing customers and making sure they have as much success with Socedo’s B2B Demand Generation System as possible. When he is not working, Strong is the owner and main blogger for “Our North Seattle,” a blog that zooms in on the issues affecting the North Seattle area. This blog has experienced a recent increase of attention and has become a go-to for discussions of infrastructure problems, local politics, and economic trends in North Seattle.
With companies like Socedo, it seems that the Seattle area has a definite niche in the B2B side of digital marketing. Additional start-ups like DocuSign, Avalara, Porch.com, and Tableau are coming directly out of Seattle and changing up the current tech game, giving Seattle the right to call itself a tech hub. However, there is always discussion surrounding how Seattle can become even better in this respect, especially since it is comparatively dwarfed by the Bay area’s tech hub. According to Strong, there is a desire to know how to improve without conforming to the culture of the Bay area that focuses on the job before the person. In Seattle, you are expected to be a part of your community first and the tech industry second (or not at all, if you wish). In Seattle, the person comes before the job. This creates an environment with more loyal employees which, when combined with a lower cost of living, makes Seattle more ideal for tech than the Bay area (with the only downside being a shortage in venture capital).
In this boom of tech and other industries in parts of Seattle, it is easy for other parts to become neglected. A recent districting of Seattle has allowed for members of the city council to be elected by district instead of at large, which Strong discovered provides a great benefit to North Seattle in particular. One of the biggest complaints about the North Seattle area is a lack of sidewalks and Strong came to realize that this lack had much to do with the fact that there was no proper representation of North Seattle on the city council. This realization of neglect, combined with Strong’s love of writing, prompted him to begin his “Our North Seattle” blog.
Through his blog, Strong is dedicated to giving the people “what they want,” including local political action stories, local news, business profile features, and community events. He knows that the North Seattle area can be sort of generalized in that there are larger plots of land, certain areas are more built-up than others, people are very tied to their cars, and so on, but he is also aware that Seattle is a city of neighborhoods and each neighborhood has its own unique identity. In reacting in a tangible way to the issues in North Seattle, and to the sidewalk issue in particular, Strong urges the community to continue being “a thorn in the side” of city council members, constantly reminding them of what needs to be addressed.* In discussing the future of North Seattle, Strong sees restaurants and cool hangout spots like the popular Hellbent Brewing Company to be a microcosm of what is to come: an increase in businesses that will be centers of the local neighborhoods and can handle the capacity and demand that these neighborhoods will provide.
On a more entertaining note, Strong has some smart commuting hacks and hidden gems for residents of North Seattle. One of his biggest hacks is to simply continue voting for levies on public transit; Strong rarely uses his car, relying on the bus for the bulk of his commute, so remaining active in the political community about transportation is certainly crucial. He suggests finding an express bus that works for you, and for driving to take I-5 into downtown, go down North Gate Way, and more, depending on where the destination is located. In terms of hidden gems, Strong lists a wide array of hot spots, including the Roosevelt Ale House for Wednesday night Trivia, the Maple Bar of Bryant Corner Cafe for brunch, Toyoda Sushi, Heaven Sent Fried Chicken, and Javasti or Cloud City for a good cup of coffee.
Strong has high hopes for the city of Seattle in the future. He hopes it can maintain its culture and beauty while expanding through a process of managed growth. He would also like to see the overarching infrastructure of Seattle improve through lowering transaction costs, which would be a step in the right direction to improve Seattle’s atmosphere in a way that is business-friendly, environmentally-friendly, and personally friendly (a win-win for all parties involved). He is concerned about the lack of addressable solutions to homelessness in the area and the idea of upsetting the apple cart with a quick import of people through bustling tech businesses. The recent explosion of the Seattle area has left a fascinating impact in the north specifically, with housing affordability concerns leading people to leave their current neighborhoods and move to a cheaper home in North Seattle. This has encouraged the need to focus not just on managed growth, but on the idea of families and family living in North Seattle and the desire for people to remain in the area. Despite the roadblocks that may be ahead, blogs like Strong’s encourage the right amount of exposure needed to activate the community into taking action and making North Seattle a place they truly want to live.
*If you live in North Seattle and want to speak with someone about the issues in your neighborhood, contact District 5 representative Debora Juarez.
About the Interviewee
Nate Strong is a Customer Team Lead at Seattle-based marketing tech company Socedo, managing customer satisfaction and success with the company’s B2B Demand Generation System.
When he is not working, he is writing posts on his blog, “Our North Seattle,” which focuses on infrastructure, local politics, and economic trends in North Seattle. He was born and raised in Washington, DC. and now resides in the neighborhood of Lake City. He is a former Student Body President of Seattle Pacific University, an avid skier, aviation geek, and expert in all things digital marketing. Strong can be found on Facebook and Twitter, and you can email him at: