Brad Nellis

The Full (Tech) Cleveland

Brad Nellis |

The Full Cleveland: a none-too-kind phrase mocking Cleveland’s supposed sartorial predilection for white belts and white patent leather shoes. The phrase has kind of waned over time and honestly, I don’t know if we ever, collectively, dressed like that. 

But I always thought it was kind of funny.

And now I want to bring it back, if it’s ever actually been gone, with an improvement: The Full (Tech) Cleveland. 

And it’s this: a long term, successful tech company, emphasis on long-term.

And this: an innovative tech company with visionary leadership.

And this: a tech company with a team of passionate, hungry, cool, crazy talent doing whatever it takes.

But mostly it’s this: success over time, incremental growth, passion for success and commitment to helping all of us succeed. Aka, not that sexy.

OverDrive and its CEO Steve Potash are great examples of Full (Tech) Cleveland. They’re a 29-year overnight success, dominating digital media with obsessive devotion to innovation, serving their customers and running a profitable business.

Steve shared the company’s story at our OHTec luncheon today from the early days to their recent acquisition by Rakuten for ~$400M.

Vision in their space, innovative convergence of software and hardware, a 99% customer retention rate and more are hallmarks of the company’s success over time.

The Full (Tech) Cleveland, maybe OverDrive is our first member of the club.