One of my favorite startups happens to be one that has come and gone — but not without making an impact on the Greater Chattanooga area.
Chattarati.com launched in 2004 by John Hawbaker and if I’m not mistaken – David Morton. If I am mistaken – then I must say, Morton’s involvement as an Editor and contributing writer made him quite visible as a representative of the startup.
The site’s last activity appears to be somewhere along the way of as of December 2011.
I first encountered David and John while I was a reporter. I covered many areas – which often required sitting through committee meetings, agenda sessions and then actual official meetings where important votes were measured. It is here I first noticed the guys of Chattarati – consistently there, taking notes. When I found out these guys had 9-5 jobs and were writing for a website intrigued me.
I found the website popular and engaging as it utilized social media tools and even had an downloadable app which engaged its target demographic. The website’s content gave insight into civic issues and politics. It appeared to be a strategy to engage young professionals to become more than “impacted” but to become active stakeholders in the process. The website also gave a bit of insight into culture and events about to happen or happening in the region.
Chattaratti’s Hawbaker, Morton, their partners and contributors brought a fresh eye and passion to its readership. It was a platform which focused on an unmet need of the young professional age demographic. I admire their attitudes, dedication and willingness to go the extra mile to gather information to ensure the Chattarati audience had information in hand to develop informed opinions and maybe act upon them. I admire their drive to be neutral and accessible, willingness to put themselves out there for constructive criticism to better their brand and presence.
Hawbaker and Morton partnered with a public affairs program project I was producing for the local PBS station. The website would provide an advance post promoting the show’s pending broadcast and link up to a stream for viewers to watch after its first broadcast. It was a move which I found to draw a younger audience. It expanded the show’s feedback as well as my network of engaged political minds to reach out to for show bookings (guest panelists)
In addition, I witnessed these two partnering with tech savvy individuals and utilizing free streaming networks to offer live views of major guest speakers, political panels during election time and special community events of interest.
I do not know the exact reason to the startup’s end. In my search for what remains of this website’s digital footprint. I found the domain still registered to Hawbaker and as a for profit model blog site with a Twitter following of 2,952. I found where some of its content still exists on feedburner.
At this time, I can only guess, the key members of its content team found challenges in balancing the content demand of its consumer’s with contributors or rather found it challenging to push out content and balance family life and professional life.