OUT TO LUNCH finds creative business consultant Aileen Bennett conducting business Acadiana style: over lunch. Each week Aileen invites guests from Acadiana's business community to join her. Beyond the foundations of the Acadiana economy - oil, cuisine, music - there is a vast network of entrepreneurs, small businesses, and even some of the country's largest companies who call Acadiana home. Out to Lunch is the cafeteria of the wider Acadiana business community. You can also hear the show on KRVS 88.7FM.
Back at the turn of the century, in 2000, writer Malcolm Gladwell came up with the concept of what he called “connectors.” A connector, Gladwell said, is a person who knows a lot of other people. This connector is the center of a network of friends. These connectors and their networks are how fads and fashions spread. 2000 was 7 years before the invention of the iPhone. Today, Gladwell’s connectors are not just a sociological observation. They’re a revenue-producing industry. On social media, they’re called Influencers.
One of the United States’ best-known Influencers is Kim Kardashian. Ms Kardashian has around 90 million followers on Instagram, and 50 million on Twitter. For a reported $300,000 she’ll mention you or your product, one time, in one social media post. Here in Acadiana, you might not think we have influencers with that kind of clout. But, actually, we do.
If you spend any time at all online and you want to know what’s going on in Lafayette, you know about Developing Lafayette. Developing Lafayette has around 13,000 followers on Instagram. And 40,000 on Facebook. If you adjust those numbers for the size of the Acadiana population, Developing Lafayette has a reach that rivals Kim Kardashian.
Developing Lafayette is the creation of Ben Powers.
Jolie Meaux is a hybrid – somewhere between an online influencer and a real-world connector. In the real world, Jolie caters private dinner parties and does pop up food events around Acadiana. You might have seen her on TV, cooking with Anthony Bourdain. Online, Jolie has a web presence on social media and on her own blog and website, where she’s known as Porch, Wine, and Gravy.
Recently, we’ve started to learn that some of our local leaders in technology may become as legendary as our towering figures in music and food. The same recognition and success that we’ve seen happen to Waitr could equally happen to an online concept like Developing Lafayette. And, equally, a cultural-centric online vehicle that exports Cajun culture authentically, like Porch, Wine, and Gravy, could break through and become a sensation.