October 19, 2017

DJ Rodd Summers – Ambience Amplifier

On the 1's and 2's at Top Flr

On the 1's and 2's at Top Flr

Like hipsters without ironic t-shirts or sundaes without Reddi-Wip topping, a great night out just isn’t complete without the right music. DJ Rodd Summers has spent over 15 years creating the soundtracks that keep heads bobbing while conversations flow.

I met Rodd at Danneman’s coffee shop in Atlanta’s Old Fourth Ward neighborhood to talk about his experiences and see what insights he might have to offer the DJ’s and other organizations in the Community. Below is the summary, but you’re missing out if you don’t listen to 24-minute interview in its entirety

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Rodd is a people person… and I mean he is really a people person. It seems like every time I go out, he’s there and knows everyone. If he doesn’t know someone, he’ll chat them up before the night is out. That’s how he promotes – he gets to know people and lets them know where he’s spinning … face to face.

Recently, he’s been sending out event announcements through Facebook, which has had some success, but emails and text messages are out. He’s found that people just get tired of receiving them. He’s also been considering using a publicist that can help him get the word out more effectively, but this is in its early stages.


Rodd relies on word of mouth. He tells people where he is spinning, they tell and bring their friends and the intrinsic viral nature of Facebook helps the message spread digitally.


There seem to be two type of DJ’s – those that are centerpieces and those, like Rodd,  that become an integrated part of a venue’s overall experience. The same way a wine is selected to complement a meal or lighting is used to set the right mood, Rodd designs his sets to fit the atmosphere, with a big emphasis on Soul, Funk, and Jazz. When talking about his Friday and Saturday sessions at the Drink Shop in the W downtown, he says he “designs songs around the cocktails” which is what the Drink Shop is all about.

The venues that he chooses can be classified as the urban lounge scene. The demographics vary, but are generally professionals from the mid-20′s and up, people that are looking for the stage to be set to socialize. He describes his audience as people that like “intelligent music” they can listen to while chilling with friends – perfect lounge scene philosophy.


The game plan for connecting to his audience is simple:

  • Get to know people on a personal level and keep them informed about where you are spinning.
  • Have a consistent schedule so your audience knows what nights you will be performing at specific venues.
  • Connect to them by delivering the right sound for the atmosphere.


Rodd’s model for enticement is also simple – provide the sounds that help make people’s nights out perfect by amplifying the overall vibe of the venue. He places a priority on taking the pulse of the room throughout the night so he can mesh his music with the ebb and flow of the crowd.


While he started off spinning vinyl (records), Rodd has now moved on to using CD’s which makes queuing up songs faster and greatly reduces the bulk of what he has to bring to a gig. He also has his eye on incorporating a Mac that would allow him to bring 50,000 songs to a gig versus maybe a few thousand on CD. It would also allow him to use newer tools like Ableton Live, Traktor DJ, and Serato.

Regarding the debate over vinyl versus newer technology, Rodd says, “it’s not about what you use, it’s about the music you play… that’s it.”


Success is measured by the number of butts in seats, however Rodd makes a point to mention that venues need to be patient on growing their audience with a new, weekly DJ. In the same way that changing your entire menu produces results over time – as people learn about the update – a new DJ takes time to build an audience for their nights.

Final Words of Advice

Go out and meet people and talk about the music you are passionate about. Invite people out personally.

Upcoming Events

Top Flr – 9PM until.
Mid-town chill with Jazz, Soul and Funk
674 Myrtle St View Map
Atlanta, GA 30308

Whiskey Blue @ The W – Buckhead – 10PM until.
Indie pop that you won’t hear on the radio
3377 Peachtree Rd. NE View Map
Atlanta, GA 30326

Fridays and Saturdays
The Drink Shop @ the W – Downtown Atlanta – 9PM until
Funk, Soul, electronic, with a heavy emphasis on Jazz
45 Ivan Allen Jr. Boulevard View Map
Atlanta, GA 30308

Connect with Rodd Summers

Facebook: facebook.com/roddsummers

Twitter: twitter.com/RoddSummers

Shout Outs

Here are some of the people Rodd has worked with that stand out as being awesome in Atlanta


Listen to the entire interview to hear more a lot more, including:

  • How to start out as a DJ
  • How to find gigs
  • How to get compensated
  • What to look out for

Twitter – super basic intro for organizations



It’s likely that you have heard people talking about Twitter and Tweets. Senators are using it, CNN is reporting world news based on it, and CEO’s of large companies are using it to keep tabs on what people are saying about their brand. This blog tackles the question, “What the hell is twitter and how can I use it for my organization?”

What is Twitter?

Imagine that you are a famous actor or musician. There are a ton of people that are very interested in everything about you – just look at the magazines in a grocery store check out if you don’t believe me. Now imagine that there was a way they could keep up to date with everything you are doing as soon as you do it:

  • I just signed a deal for a new blockbuster movie to be released next summer!
  • I just broke up with my girlfriend/boyfriend
  • Cops just pulled me over and it looks like I’m going to get a DUI :(

Twitter is a tool that allows you to announce to the world what you are doing, thinking or experiencing right now. People that “Follow” you receive these short messages (140 characters or less) as soon as you post them. You can post these announcements by going to your account at twitter.com, by sending a text message to twitter or by using a ton of other applications that we’ll talk about in a future post.

What you are reading is from my blog, where I can write a ton of words to express brilliant ideas. The short messages on twitter (referred to as tweets) are known as microblogs. In the same way that people write blogs because they think they have something to say that will be of interest to someone, Twitter allows people to post small messages because they think others will be interested.

If you use a social network like MySpace or Facebook, your status (the text box where you answer the question “What are you doing?” or “What’s on your mind?”) is another example of a microblog.

That sounds duuuuuumb!

Well maybe. Actually, I would have said it’s narcissistic,  but people are using it… including your patrons. Here are some more realistic examples.

  • There are a lot of people and organizations in the entrepreneur community in Atlanta and, by Following them, I keep up on new company buzz, upcoming events, who is talking to who, etc… it allows me to take the pulse of Atlanta’s entrepreneur activity in real time.
  • Of course, I also Follow my friends and receive a stream of information about what they are up to. I have found out about break ups, births, and local events just by checking the most recent tweets.
  • My Councilman – Kwanza Hall -  uses Twitter to keep Followers informed about what the city of Atlanta is up to that might affect me.
  • A local school – Imagine Wesley -  uses Twitter to post announcements. Parents that Follow this feed with text message notification would be immediately informed in case of any emergency… or if there was an upcoming event.

The value to organizations

So people use Twitter to broadcast information into the ether and hope that people will be interested in what they say. On the flip side, people are Following others in order to keep informed about what’s going on with the people and organizations they associate with.  It is probable that some of your patrons are using Twitter which gives you an opportunity to establish an ongoing dialog with them. How much would you pay for traditional advertising that recipients “opt-in” to that can go from thought to distribution in less than 10 seconds? Twitter is free.

How do I get started?

  • Get and Account – I can blog all day about the theory of using Twitter, but the best way to start seeing the value is through using it. Go to Twitter.com and create a personal account already.
  • Follow people – Having a Twitter account without Following people is like having the world’s only FAX machine… pointless. Etiquette for following is: there is none. People are putting their information into the world, so you can choose to follow famous people or even random strangers. You can use the “Find People” link to get started and the “Find on Other Network” option is great if you have a gmail, yahoo, or AOL address book. Otherwise, you can look for specific people using “Find on Twitter”, such as:

Text Notifications

One final thing I would recommend to give you an idea for how Twitter can be used for promotions is to setup text notifications for at least one of the people you are following.

  • While logged in, go to Settigns -> Devices
  • Follow the instructions to set up your cell phone
  • Go back to your profile and click on one of the people that you are following that probably updates on a somewhat regular basis, but not super frequently.
  • Under their picture, there is an option to turn Device Updates on… set that.

The next time they tweet, you will get a text message with the details.


That should be enough to get your feet wet, but stay tuned; I will be providing more information about how to turn your efforts into results! Below are some other resources you might want to check out:

Twitter: A beginner’s guide

Internet Life: What is Twitter

Twitter for museums

Twitter for RV’s

Howlies show in Atlanta

Technorati Profile

Last year at Corndogorama, there was one band that stood out above all of the other new bands I saw … the Howlies. I remember texting my music guru friend, Shyam, and telling him to check them out. I said they were a combination of surf rock, The Ramones, Apache tribal chanting and The Beatles with a ton of energy and stage presence.

The Howlies Album Cover

The Howlies Album Cover

So I went to see them at 529 in East Atlanta on Saturday. How did I find out they were playing? I saw a black and white, 8 1/2″ x 11″ flyer posted on a phone pole in Cabbagetown by a stop sign. For all of the fancy ways there are to promote, the simplist still seem to be effective. What’s more, I had never been to 529 and had to Google it. It turns out that last week I had walked right by it and thought about going in to check it out. The Howlies have a pretty good online presence, but the broader challenge remains how to find out what is going on in Atlanta without having to remember to look up specific venues and bands. I guess until I figure that out I will continue to read phone poles. For a quick reference, here is how you can find out more about the Howlies:

The show was great and you can thank me thank me when you check them out. By the way, if you are in an Atlanta band and would be up for doing a Community Cultivator interview, let me know!

Jake’s Ice Cream – Jake Rothschild’s Atlanta Ice Cream Dream

On June 3, 2009, I had the opportunity to sit down with Jake Rothschild – a serial entrepreneur in Atlanta that started Jake’s Ice Cream 10 years ago. Since that time, he has grown the company to 3 locations and established distribution deals with local businesses as well as national chains. Here are some of the highlights and advice he offers other organizations – sorted into the CC: ScoreCard.

Click here to listen to the whole interview

Jake's Ice Cream

Jake's Ice Cream


Where should time and money be spent regarding promotions?

  • Traditional Advertising – Jake is not a fan of advertising with media like printed publications, TV, and radio. Historically, this hasn’t produced great results for him and there are no real metrics that can be measured to determine the effectiveness of these efforts… no traditional advertising for this ice cream business.
  • Online Advertising – this experience consists of working with Citysearch and, to some degree, Yelp. While Jake’s has paid for promotions with Citysearch and doesn’t think that it has been a waste of money, he has no plans to continue the effort because there’s no indicator that it’s been effective enough to justify the cost. Most of the value has stemmed from the user generated content on these sites (user reviews), which is free.
  • Jake’s Website – the website provides a place that serves as the authoritative source of information about the business and has proven to be a good way to publicly present what the company is all about. It’s the easily accessible marketing face of Jake’s and is frequently one of the first places a potential patron learns about the business.
  • PR – Jake’s Ice Cream has been featured on msn.com, NPR, Zagat, Wall Street Journal, and Frommer’s. It’s these less bias sources that have added fuel to the business’ growth – “it means so much more to (people) than a full page ad.”
  • Cause Marketing – he recommends being a co-sponsor of organized events. Working with organizations like Special Olympics – Georgia has helped to reach new patrons and drive sells.
  • Social Networking – tools like Twitter and Facebook have given Jake a way to stay connected with existing patrons and he thinks these are great for fostering the customer relationship – the most important thing about his business.


Jake believes that word of mouth is the number one way that people find out about Jake’s. Social network tools like twitter, the Jake’s Ice Cream group on Facebook, and user reviews on sites like Citysearch and Yelp help to accomplish this as does providing a great customer experience that leads to traditional word of mouth… ya know, where people actually talk to each other.


Jake describes his first-tier audience as “label readers” – the people that are concerned about what they are putting in their bodies – they are the people that shop at Sevananda, Return to Eden, or Whole Foods. His second tier audience is people that simply want a great quality product. His focus on high quality ingredients and a great product is the right message for this audience and he reaches them through Promotions and Leverage.


Jake’s uses the various means mentioned in Promotion and Leverage to Connect to their audience, however, the ongoing dialog is done through social media outlets like Facebook and Twitter and the in store interaction. Due, in part, with the time required to update their website, they are also excited about implementing email marketing by using Constant Contact to keep all of the subscribed patrons up to date on the daily flavors available at each store.


How does Jake entice his audience?

  • High quality product. Enough said.
  • Superior customer service. Jake wants to know everything about his customers to personalize the experience – “we want to know their dog’s name, we want to know their kids’ birthdays.” It is also a goal to respond to any customer complaint within 30 minutes… by a personal call from Jake.
  • High quality in-store experience. This includes providing a comfortable environment that can serve as a second home to patrons.

Jake also offers incentives to customers, with one of their most successful campaigns being the distribution of “Moolah.” These $1 and $5 gift certificates can be purchased in each store or can be distributed by Jake’s for promotions. This “virtual cash” can be redeemed for any purchase (versus a 2-for-1  or 10% off coupon) and is credited for the programs success.


The main way that Jake simplifies is through technology:

  • NuRol POS – Jake’s POS system is “monkey stupid easy” and has the ability to report on the sell rate of all flavors at any point in time, which helps determine the flavors that are successful.
  • Quickbooks is used as the accounting system and is “extremely user friendly.” They did try out Peachtree Accounting, but it was more difficult to use.


There are a few areas to evaluate when it comes to measuring success.

PR, Advertising, and Social Networking

Measuring the success of all of these efforts continues to be a struggle, as it is with all organizations. There is the feeling that traditional media hasn’t delivered the results desired and even the metrics provided by local search solutions like Citysearch that shows the number of profile views has not been able to measure ROI. There is a feeling that the efforts of Facebook and twitter are effective at keeping in touch with existing patrons.

Incentive Programs

The Moolah program does provide some feedback. There are relations that can be drawn between the number of virtual dollars distributed compared to the number of those redeemed.


As mentioned under Simplify, NuRol provides easily generated snapshots of what flavors are selling, which helps determine the quantities that should be produced and identify slow moving products.


I asked Jake about any vendor relationships that he considers exceptional. He highly recommends:

  • U.S. Food Service – Their customer service is excellent and they show their love of working with small business in myriad of ways.
  • 360 Media – Our PR Firm loves on us like we are family.
  • Carlton Fields – a great law firm that protects us, suggests to us, and nurtures us so that we are a healthy company


  1. Do what you love. If you are going to lead your own organization, make sure it is something you are passionate about and adjust the direction as needed to insure this.
  2. Never quit on your dream. Running your own operation is hard, but be persistent.
  3. Learn how to ask for help. You don’t have to know all of the answers.


Jake wants to be Willy Wonka when he grows up, but he doesn’t plan on that happening anytime soon. When he was 10 years old, he used to make children’s books as gifts for his grandmother. When he was in college at University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, he introduced the first instant, all natural hot chocolate on the market – something that caught the attention of Money magazine. His first physical business – a coffee shop in the Morningside neighborhod called MOCHA (Museum of Contemporary Humorous Art) – transformed into the first Jake’s Ice Cream over 10 years ago, with the original location in Old Fourth Ward, Atlanta.

Jake’s playful nature is much more serious when it comes to his products. He is dedicated to providing the community with high quality, uncompromised products – with a focus on all-natural ingredients and hormone free dairy. This diligence has led to a number of local restaurants including his creations on their menus and has recently resulted in an agreement with Planet Smoothie for a non-fat, agave sweetened yogurt called YMG, or Yo My Goodness. The focus on the product is rivaled only by his commitment to the experience of his patrons.


Website: http://www.jakesicecream.com
Facebook Group: Jake’s Ice Cream
LinkedIn: http://www.linkedin.com/pub/jake-rothschild/5/b61/741


Non-fat Frozen Yogurt

Non-fat Frozen Yogurt

June 5-7, 2009 – See Jake at the Virginia Highlands Summerfest.

June 8, 2009 – Jake’s new product line YMG (Yo My Goodness) – non-fat yogurt sweetened with agave – will be sold at Planet Smoothie at The Peach in Peachtree Shopping Center – 2900 Peachtree Rd, Suite 113 Atlanta, GA, 30305.


Jake’s Ice Cream – Irwin Street Market
660 Irwin Street
Atlanta 30312
(678) 705-7277
Jake’s Ice Cream Cafe
2745 Lavista Road
Decatur, GA 30033
(404) 343-3525
Jake’s Just Desserts
2144 North Decatur Road
Decatur, GA 30033
(404) 963-7151


2974 Grandview Ave NE
Atlanta, GA 30305
(404) 233-9889
1441 Dresden Dr NE
Atlanta, GA 30319
(404) 969-3233
Dave’s Cosmic Subs
1540 N Decatur Rd NE
Atlanta, GA 30307
(404) 373-6250
Inman Perk at Inman Park
240 N. Highland Ave., Suite H
Atlanta, GA 30307
(678) 705-4545
1441 Dresden Dr NE
Atlanta, GA 30319
(404) 969-0700
Inman Perk at Flowery Branch
5866 Spout Springs Rd., Suite D
Flowery Branch, GA 30542
(770) 965-6065
Our Place Bakery
3387 Main St
Atlanta, GA 30337
(404) 767-3181
Inman Perk at Gainesville
102 Washington St. NW.
Gainesville, GA 30501
(678) 943-8080
Planet Smoothie at Ansley Mall
1544 Piedmont Ave., Suite 301
Atlanta, GA 30324
(404) 541-9124

Jake's Ice Creams & Sorbets on Urbanspoon You can also see this interview on UrbanSpoon.