Better Together with Kosta Yepifantsev

The Rising Tide with Blair Dudley

September 11, 2023 Kosta Yepifantsev Season 3 Episode 16
Better Together with Kosta Yepifantsev
The Rising Tide with Blair Dudley
Show Notes Transcript

Join Kosta and his guest: Blair Dudley, Founder and CEO of Hip Cookeville, a public benefit corporation whose mission is to enhance the quality of experiences for the people who live, work, and play in Putnam County and surrounding communities.

Online Hip Cookeville reaches roughly 60,000 members daily and is one of the Upper Cumberland’s largest virtual resources.

Join Hip Cookeville on Facebook:
https://www.facebook.com/groups/367992636693154/

Find out more about Hip Cookeville:
https://www.hipcookeville.com/

2023 Upper Cumberland Hispanic Heritage Festival
📅
Saturday, September 16, 2023
⏰  10:00 AM - 7:00 PM
📍Dogwood Park
💸 Free

🚨Questions?
info@hipcookeville.com

Better Together with Kosta Yepifantsev is a product of Morgan Franklin Media and recorded in Cookeville, TN.

Blair Dudley:

That's the point. We are neighbors. We're here to celebrate. We have 16.5. I believe percent of the population, at least in our schools are Hispanic. They are our neighbors. They are our friends. They work in our community. Let's get out there and have a party.

Morgan Franklin:

Welcome to Better Together with Kosta Yepifantsev, a podcast on parenting business and living life intentionally. We're here every week to bring you thoughtful conversation, making your own path to success,challenging the status quo, and finding all the ways we're better together. Here's your host, Kosta Yepifantsev.

Kosta Yepifantsev:

Hey, y'all, it's Kosta. Today, I'm here with my guest, Blair Dudley, founder and CEO of Hip Cookeville, a public benefit corporation whose mission is to enhance the quality of experiences for the people who live, work and play in Putnam County and surrounding communities. Online hip Cookeville, reaches roughly 60,000 members daily and is one of the upper Cumberlands largest virtual resources. I want to talk about the origins of hip Cookeville for a minute, because it's practically impossible to not know the name. But I bet there's a lot of listeners who don't know how this organization got started. Blair, where did this idea come from?

Blair Dudley:

So I was involved in something similar, well, very similar in Nashville, which was the original hip group. That was hip Donaldson, it still exists. Nice hip Donaldson's actual 501, C three, I helped them get that created. And a guy named Andrew Bradley actually started the whole concept. And he was like, Wouldn't it be cool if the community came together in an online form, and we created a community that was supportive and positive towards all the businesses towards the activities in the community. And so Andrew Bradley came up with this concept in 2000, almost like 2010. And you just decided to bring it here. I did when I moved to cokeville. In 2014, I looked around, and there were certain things I wasn't seeing, which was one was a communication pattern. And also, I wasn't seeing a lot of things that really interest me, such as live music in an organization. And so I guess about, it was September, actually, of 2014, when we officially created it, and I was talking to a couple people. And so we decided, I decided to actually, from the beginning that this was not going to be a nonprofit because I didn't want to deal with that, of course. So it was going to be a for profit. And it is and it actually it's a low profit.

Kosta Yepifantsev:

Oh, I know. I'm gonna love this episode. I low profit. I like that. Okay, so you move in 2014. You subsequently started working on what would become the largest online hub in the upper Cumberland. That success has enabled the creation of hundreds of in person events and annual series. Walk us through the standing annual calendar for hip cokeville.

Blair Dudley:

I guess the thing that people know us most for right now we do a concert series at the cookbook, performing arts center. A lot of people think that the city does the things that we actually are doing. But we produce those concerts, we booked the bands we do all the production work in the shows right down to the video and in putting food in the greenroom. We've been doing that since 2018. This is our sixth season doing that. Wow. I think five of our last six shows have sold out there. It wasn't that way in the beginning, trust me. And so we bring in primarily we bring in tribute bands straight out of Nashville, but these bands have Grammy winners. Yeah. Playing in them.

Kosta Yepifantsev:

What's the one that's on right now? I was actually at CPAC watching reimagine the Indian last week and I saw go across the sign hip Cookeville presents.

Blair Dudley:

Yeah, so I think that was Friday. The Forever Abbey Road Show. Yeah, it was fantastic.

Kosta Yepifantsev:

Is that a Beatles like tribute band as dad's

Blair Dudley:

band. And these guys have actually worked with the Beatles producers and things like that. But other bands that we have come in like Petey junkies does guys tour with Garth Brooks, their his touring musicians, and or Peter Frampton and just all kinds of world class musicians. Amazing. They just love them some Tom Petty and if you go to the one other shows, and you close your eyes, you don't know that that's not Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers on that stuff?

Kosta Yepifantsev:

Yeah. So you've got the concert series. And what else?

Blair Dudley:

So the very first big community event we did was the Cookeville treat trail. So we do that every Halloween in the park and we organize it we recruit businesses come out and hand out candy to the kids. So in a two hour time Orion, there's about 4000 people that come through there. We've been doing that since 2018 as well, that was our original just give back to the community. This year we started the Firefly festival. The Firefly festival came from a demand and our desire to spotlight specifically local artists, local original artists with their own music. And so we had that in. We had on April 15 Tax Day. And we had it in dogwood Park, we had two stages. I think it's first time that anybody tried to stages so we turned the gazebo into a stage, we booked the artists we paid them, they did not play for free. It was an incredible turnout. It was an awesome day, the artists who came in there to sell the local creations did extremely well on that day. So that was a success. We're going to continue that we'll have it again next year. But we're gonna start having smaller Firefly shows as well

Kosta Yepifantsev:

before we talk about the Hispanic Heritage Festival because I'm gonna spend some time on that. I just want to interject something because I'm curious when you bring them numbers 4000 People you know 5000 People just these huge numbers is that comparable to what like cityscape does.

Blair Dudley:

Sure,

Kosta Yepifantsev:

sure it is are you like leaps and bounds above what cityscape can provide?

Blair Dudley:

I'm not going to say that we do not have the money resources yet that cityscape has and cityscape is a nonprofit organization and cityscape has been in existence for decades.

Kosta Yepifantsev:

But you're competing. You're in direct competition.

Blair Dudley:

I don't consider that I consider it to be we're an add on nice a man I love what city scape does I love just about anything anybody does in this town. Because a rising tide lifts all boats. Yeah, I believe that this area can become something similar to a small Asheville, North Carolina. That'd be cool. It would be not quite as many breweries, though, as Asheville has, but with all our natural resources that we have the waterfalls, the hiking trails, the lakes, you know, why aren't we bringing these people into Cookeville or Livingstone or wherever, just to, you know, enjoy a restaurant, see a show. And stay here a while fill our hotels.

Kosta Yepifantsev:

Obviously, cityscape is a nonprofit. So it has a board. It's been around for a very long time. It's affiliated to so many government organizations that donate money to it. You on the other hand, are a for profit, be at a low profit. But still, I mean, where do you get the resources and the support because you're putting out bangers player I mean, people are like they're flooding in. And the crazy part is, here's the here's the most exciting part of this conversation is you are attracting a population of people that only come to Cookeville predominantly to go to your events. And they may not go to a cityscape event, they may not go to a fall Fun Fest. They may not go to a wine on the west side, but you know what they will go to the go to the events that you put on the concert series, the festivals. How do you do that? Yeah.

Blair Dudley:

So where does our funding come from? A lot of it's a, you know, wing and a prayer. It used to be now cocktail, you you know, because we are selling out shows now, the first show that we did here, that was indeed my first rodeo. But you know, the the staff at the Performing Arts Center? They said, Yeah, let's take a chance. We didn't know, we didn't know if this was going to work at all. I tell people, I'm not very risky. But I'm extremely bold. And so nowadays, like the festivals, we get sponsors, from the local businesses. Same thing with funding. The initial CPAC shows the hip Cookeville concert series, where we go out and get businesses and they get tickets, that gives a little bit more money so we can promote it. Right. And we do know a thing or two about promotion. Oh, yeah. So that's how I got going. And then so we make money from these shows now, right? We make profits. So

Kosta Yepifantsev:

you don't get like any like city of Cookeville Putnam County Chamber of Commerce, none of those organizations are donating to the success of hip cuckfield. This is strictly business. So this is a business to business type of organization. I'm a

Blair Dudley:

libertarian. Okay. And I believe in public initiatives. And it's not that I would not take money from the city or something like that. You bet your bottom dollar I don't believe in government. I don't, I don't believe I believe in government. I just don't I believe in the government we have. Now I want to say that the local government here is fantastic. Yes. Right. They're incredible. But yeah, I'm not a guy that believes in like, ordinances and zoning and all that stuff. So that's me. So we make money. If we make money, and if we lose money, we simply lose money. We're at risk. Yeah. All everything that we

Kosta Yepifantsev:

do sounds like a business. I mean, Blair when I grew up, I want to be a libertarian like you. The Saturday of this episode, airing Saturday, September 16, upper Cumberland Hispanic Heritage Festival will host its second annual celebration and dogwood Park. How can we get involved in what should visitors expect?

Blair Dudley:

The arbor Kremlin Hispanic Heritage Festival, we basically cater this festival. So we get the businesses to sponsor it. And we will purchase food from upper Cumberland restaurants. And any grandma that knows how to slam out some great empanadas or tamales or something like that will serve it out in sample size portions in cultural booths here at the at the show. So the food's very nice. The food's free, the food is free for everyone that attends Yes. Okay. Everyone who attends can come around and sample so much food, but the event itself is free. The event itself is free and the food is free. Okay, and the music is free. Everything's free. Wow. We'll have this year. I think it's six acts that we'll be performing on two stages. Again, I believe we're going to have a fashion show of sorts. I don't know crap about that. Amazing. And so we'll finish the night with a Santana tribute and dogwood Park. And well, I guess we're talking tonight. Come on out to the park folks. Because there's a Santana tribute starts at five o'clock. And I'm expecting half the city to come to that probably. Yeah. And we'll have a huge KidZone all the face painting all the everything. So what do you expect? This is a cultural festival, right? Some people get a little queasy because of Hispanic Heritage Festival, right? They don't get queasy. If it's like a German Oktoberfest or you know, all kinds of different cultural festivals. But it happens. But it's a cultural festival. We're here to celebrate our neighbors. We have 16.5 I believe percent of the population, at least in our schools are Hispanic. They are our neighbors. They are our friends. They work in our community. Let's get out there and have a party.

Kosta Yepifantsev:

Do you think it's hard to get the Hispanic community to come out to community events? Because this is your second one. So how did your first one go? And what is your expectation for the second one,

Blair Dudley:

we had about 800 people? That's an estimate at the first one. Last year, it went great. When we're putting it together, we did not know what we were doing. But we put together a great festival anyway. This year, we're shooting for three to 5000 people and dogwood Park nice. We are expecting people to come from Nashville from Knoxville from various areas. Plus, we have a heavier reach in the upper Cumberland right now. I mean, companies like fight cosa have sponsored us portabello Absolutely, they will be putting it out to their employees and their families. So just the overall communication is better. This is

Kosta Yepifantsev:

just another example of you being able to develop something that reaches a group of people that no one else can reach, right. And there's value in that. And I'm sure there's a lot of business owners that are listening to this episode that need to understand the intrinsic value of what hip cokeville can bring and why it's so important. Because one of the things that's most astounding to me about the Hispanic Heritage Festival, and I have this really bad habit of like telling people how they should feel so you can stop me if that if I start doing that. But one of the things is, you are able to create something for a community that typically number one doesn't have anything created for them. I don't know of any other cultural events other than maybe some of the like, you know, whatever the thing around the world is at Tech windows on the world, yes, windows of the world. But I mean really other than that you're the only one that's created a community event and said we are going to honor and support the Hispanic community which is going to be a quarter of our population in the next few years while the next decade or so. What's overarching to me is that every year that you have this festival, more and more people come out and when we go out, you know we You're going to be able to talk and make friendships and build a relationship with like you said, our neighbors. I think that's fascinating.

Blair Dudley:

It's it's difficult to have a bad opinion of a person, you're using a tamale. Well, correct. Exactly. So that's the point. We are neighbors.

Kosta Yepifantsev:

Yeah. The only event that I've ever seen a group of Hispanic people that are from Cookeville in the surrounding communities at is whenever Juneteenth happens the exact same day they have a basketball tournament at West End Park. That's the only time and so this is a great that I mean, this is phenomenal. Absolutely love it. I mentioned this in the introduction, but hip Cookeville currently has over 59,400 members and counting. In the last month alone, the group reviewed, approved and shared over 3900 posts, quick math, that's 130 posts per day. How do you keep up with this volume of content and oversight?

Blair Dudley:

Well, I want to tell you what the actual last 28 days where we actually received 5473 posts that were submitted, which is 195 per day. Wow. So of those 30 877 were approved, 1500 96 were not approved. So we read every single one of these house, we review them for content, because in hip cokeville, the primary thing is positive. We don't allow negative, we don't want attacks on other people. We don't allow attacks on any of our city institutions. We don't allow somebody to come in there and say that dog is like, we don't do negatives. What

Kosta Yepifantsev:

dogs are ugly, you know, when we apply that.

Blair Dudley:

We apply that evenly across everybody. So it doesn't matter if you're Republican, or Democrat, or Christian, or Muslim or what you are, right. Yeah. If your content is negative, it's not going to hit our group. And also we don't allow a political campaigning and everything like that. Do people try? Oh, yeah. Yeah, we got political season coming up on well hated in some circles, because we didn't let them put their posts on or whatever. Oh, man. Oh, yeah, I get cussed out for the internet. But I'll show you some other stats, though. So you know, people comment on your posts. Last 28 days, there's been 41,881 comments within the hip Cookeville group reactions people like like them, love them, hate them, whatever. There have been 73,374 reactions in this group. This is a highly trafficked group,

Kosta Yepifantsev:

that is huge. And the fact that you want to push a positive message towards people, towards businesses towards organizations towards a community in general, I think only like I said earlier brings value to hip cooksville. In that product. As I'm thinking in my head, how much time does it take for you to be able to go through? What 1500 declined comments? Like, how is that is that like, 25? People that are reading are going through all of this or, or how does that work?

Blair Dudley:

We have a admin and moderation team. Like we have eight people on there. Whoever gets to it first gets to it first, there's a one of our admins, CJ, she does more than all of us really. And CJ, essentially, she's disabled. Okay, she had an accident a few years back, CJ takes it very seriously. This is the way she gives back to the community. You know, it's her interaction,

Kosta Yepifantsev:

what qualifies as a declination for a post,

Blair Dudley:

I wish I could do a podcast on some posts that we've seen

Kosta Yepifantsev:

were Can you read just a few that you would feel comfortable in sharing, if not, I don't

Blair Dudley:

have any, here. But, um, so you got your typical spam things. There's a lot of folks that are trying to just try to rip people often duct cleaning, and just crazy stuff like that. And they don't really actually do anything, they just take your money and they disappear. Another decline would be somebody coming into and saying, this business, you know, they serve my food and it was cold, and I hate them. And, you know, nobody go there. That's never gonna make it in the group. It's also never going to make it in a group that, you know, this business, rip me off. I went in there and they didn't do the work. Now, if we see that coming through, you know, five, six times from different people, that business is going to be removed from the group. I see, right? We're not going to let them get bashed. We're also not going to let them continue to use our group right to promote themselves. So we take care of it on the back end, no muss, no fuss. You want to talk about some people get angry, is those business owners, and, you know, they can get back into the group, but they can't get back into the group. If they go out and cost us all over the world, then it's over.

Kosta Yepifantsev:

Did you did you have any experience in this at all, like before you decided to create an online platform like hip cokeville.

Blair Dudley:

So I'm a recovering CPA. And I had a very large adult, the very man, a business partner built a very large company in Nashville, we dealt with nonprofit organizations, we took them through the IRS examination process, I have been part of 10,000, plus IRS examinations. If you don't know what that is, it's like an annual examination by the Internal Revenue Service. See, if you're actually a nonprofit. In that process, then I have talked to hundreds no 1000s of people, long interviews, what are you doing? What is it that you are wanting to accomplish with your organization? You know, ton of them, it's like, you don't want to do that. That's not gonna make it to the IRS process. A lot of it's like, wow, that's really cool, you know, but you're wanting to start this, have you talked to this other organization, though, because they're doing the exact same thing, I bet that you too, could team up, and just have one organization and accomplish lots more than two separate organizations. So the collaboration part of it, you just learned a lot talking to that many people, board members, and just volunteers and all that. And so you start picking up on things that are working and not working. In the online world, it changed a lot in 2016. It became vicious. And I blame the political parties, they set these parameters, where we are supposed to argue about things within these parameters, right? Don't step outside of this box, but argue as much as you want to inside this box, we're going to set the tone for you. And that tone is hateful. There's no solutions within this town. And so we get into the lesser of two evils, which is, you know, this is reflected in our discussions online, not in hip Cookeville. Because we don't allow that crap. But they try. It's the lesser of two evils is the death spiral to communication. So was I prepared for that? No, none of us were no single person in the United States, we're prepared for what the atmosphere has become here. I mean, it's like, okay, we're going to argue about drag shows, we're going to argue about gun control. It's like, okay, this is the thing we're gonna talk about today, right? Pay no attention to the man behind the curtain, or they're like spending trillions of dollars, we're going to talk about the homeless, right, and whether they should be punished for being homeless, criminalizing homelessness. So these are the issues that we're going to talk about that and by God will fight all over town about them. And they're very important to the political parties that we are fighting, right? They've nailed down social media, they figured out how to really rile people up, doesn't bring us any solutions whatsoever. You know, I'm an individual liberties guy. We don't talk in terms of principles anymore. Right talk in terms of policies. It's cool, right? For the parties, the Republicans and the Democrats can get people on there just screaming about policies.

Kosta Yepifantsev:

Well, it's easier to manage. And I know we're getting a little bit off topic, but we're gonna get back to it. It's easier to manage, because when you can get an entire general populace and you can use what you're what you're describing as wedge issues. And you can say, okay, there's 200 million people. And we'll go ahead and Wedge 50 million with this issue for Republicans 50 million with this issue for Democrats 50 million with this issue for Republicans and 50, for Democrats, and then instead of having to convince the entire country, that you may very well be the best candidate for president, all you have to do is just just take, you know, a million people from this group, and maybe just try and shift the narrative using mediums like social media, and a million from this group and a million from this group. And the next thing you know, you want Georgia by 11,000 votes. So the fact is, you have been able and that's why I find it so fascinating. You've been able to shut all of that noise out of your of your model of your business right at the same time. I love the fact that you're focusing on actual events and bringing people together from diverse backgrounds. So that's that was the whole point essentially, as a community, the upper Cumberland is changing. Cookeville isn't the same place it was even 10 years ago. As an online community. We're changing and for better or worse, you are at the helm of that ship. If you could say one thing to members of hip cokeville, past, present, and future, what would it be

Blair Dudley:

that they are valuable that the businesses in this community value them, guys, this is people helping people, this is neighbors helping neighbors, it happens every day, 1000s of times a day, somebody, you know, they just moved to town, they need a plumber, they need a plumber, right now they got pipes burst, they're looking for your recommendations, or business is like it's a new initiative, they got a new item on their menu, they have a new service, something like that. You can find it in here. And people do find it. And here it is probably the biggest economic engine in the upper Cumberland, if you look at the amount of dollars that flow through this thing, just because of you, the people who are actually driving it. So we're going to do an economic study, actually. So Hispanic Heritage Festival, we're going to intensity tech is helping us do this, we're going to set up it's called geofencing. So it'll actually see how many different cell phones come in and out of that place. And there'll be some surveys that people can answer, you know, you know, what zip code come from how much spend on hotels, how much spent on gas and stuff like that. So we'll measure begin to measure things that are coming into the community. We're gonna do the same with the concerts, but then the big thing is like, how do you measure what's happening in that Facebook group? Right there. And so that's probably gonna need to be business surveys. But, you know, I talked to businesses, like come to me, and it's like, you know, I had one the last week, they said, I, my business wouldn't exist without hip Cookeville, we get that much business

Kosta Yepifantsev:

from it. So the only reason that they're viable is because they get to use your platform.

Blair Dudley:

I mean, I guess something else would maybe have sprung up and sure, replaced it. But you know, they consider it to be extremely important to their business. And just for communication, like events, right? Look at everything that we've got, we have a website, on that website, we have a calendar of events, you no longer have to scroll through Facebook looking for events, you can go to hip cokeville.com Hit the calendar, I promise you, you're gonna see a tremendous amount of events that are happening here. We enter that information, you can enter your own events, but we actually put that in as a service community. So you know, use it for what it is it's supposed to be a positive thing is supposed to help our economy supposed to help our community. It's something that you can make somebody's day with, just by, you know, recommending the right veterinarian to them.

Kosta Yepifantsev:

Yeah, I share that story that you were saying about fire and Vine. Oh, yeah.

Blair Dudley:

So yeah, this past week, a lady was in fire and Vine, new restaurant, wonderful restaurant. Yes. Heard a lot of great things. And so she saw something happen. A lady had been released from the hospital, she wandered into foreign violence, she still had a bracelet on, obviously, she was having some trouble. Right? She was hungry. She sat down, apparently in there. And this is from a reading the post, it was made in hip Cookeville. And the owners there were like, give her anything. She wants off the menu. And we're covered. This lady comes in the hip Cookeville and shows the community, how wonderful that was of them. The last time I looked at it, there are well over 100 comments, most of those comments were like, I'm gonna go try this place because of this. Yeah, there were 1.8 1000 reactions to it, all of them positive. I mean, you can't buy that.

Kosta Yepifantsev:

You can't buy that. I mean, you could, but it would cost you probably 1020 30$40,000 In a brand and a branding campaign.

Blair Dudley:

Right. And so what if hip Cookeville did not exist? What that sort of been known?

Kosta Yepifantsev:

No, I mean, it definitely wouldn't have had 1800 likes, right? Yeah. I mean, it's a few people around town may have been talking about it, but you've been able to transverse it to literally like 1000s of people.

Blair Dudley:

Right. And there are a lot of stories of that nature. I mean, the pizza machine just about virtually got built off hippo when he came in to town. There's so many stories of that nature. So I'm proud of what we do, do what we have accomplished. I'm proud that we have held the line on positive content. I don't think we would have 59,000 people in there. If it were just like your typical. I'm going to fight about whatever I feel like people don't want to see that.

Kosta Yepifantsev:

That's that pragmatic libertarian in you Blair you spoke candidly about the difficulties that come from facilitating a community of this size, particularly online? What do you need from us to keep this community service viable and growing? Well,

Blair Dudley:

one come out to our events. And y'all are doing great doing that. That's our primary gift back. And also like the concerts, the ticketed ones, that's our biggest revenue source right now. Support our website, you know, there's some some additional bells and whistles on that website. One of the things that we have on that website is a business directory for 20 bucks a month. And we set that price so that if you were selling tomatoes at the farmers market, you could afford to promote yourself on our website, 20 bucks a month. And so if a business signs up there, they're helping us to expand our capabilities, they help us pay for the website, they help us pay people, we do have to pay people to do the lot of this stuff, and they help us expand, they help us grow in the community. And I promise you, the more that we have resources for the more we will do in this community. And we just tried to stay positive. So you know, if you see someone that's just like, ripping us apart, for goodness sake, just don't engage. It's amazing how many people are angry over things. It's like, you know, no good deed goes unpunished,

Kosta Yepifantsev:

right? But why would they be ripping you apart? When you are literally you've got 60,000 people, you're you're filtering out negative comments. You're trying to promote business, in business activity for that matter, and you're bringing all the different facets of the community together through your events.

Blair Dudley:

I don't know why. It just happens, man. People are that way sometimes. But how can you support us? Yeah, use the website, come to the events, Support the businesses that we that you see in the in hip cook film, go to all the festivals around here, take a look at it, keep it keep an eye on it, and just support your community.

Kosta Yepifantsev:

What are the tiers of support? Like is there like, you know, you can spend$20 A month $100 A month? Like, is there a is there a tiered program for businesses?

Blair Dudley:

No, we have tiers in our like sponsors, okay, other than the rules and stuff. But on the website? No, no, there's no tears. Now we do have some are like we have some banner advertising that someone can do on the website. That's only for locals, you're not gonna see a bunch of trash on there from. I'm not saying that nationals are trash, but it's it's cluttery. And so we have some different levels. But the website is meant to. I mean, come on for 20 bucks a month. You know, we can get great funding, if everybody joins. If we get if we get 500 businesses at 20 bucks a month, that's$10,000 a month, you can pour back into the community. Right? I guess it's a matter of people recognizing that we are actually are important in this community that we drive initiatives, we start banks. Well, I

Kosta Yepifantsev:

mean, I think Tennessee Tech believes in that, because they're obviously partnering with you for that study, you've obviously been able to increase the quantity of events that you've been putting on. But I mean, overarching Lee, do you feel like the community of Cookeville, the business community, the people that I guess should be promoting you? Do you feel like they're supporting you?

Blair Dudley:

Yes. And no, I think they support what we do. I know they support what we do. I think they're very thankful for what we do. I think they don't recognize the enormous resources have gone into creating this. I did some math. This is a low estimate. I've got 20,000 hours into development in hip cokeville. We have other people that have a 10,000 hours into it. Right? So yes, it's free to the community to use. It was not free to be created. Right? We paid the price on that. Gladly paid to price on it. But I do wish that businesses would recognize that more and just throw us 20 bucks a month, man, you got it and say, you know, thank you for doing that. And I promise you we'll turn that $20 into something even better. We're continually improving. Yeah, we have an incredible web designer, and she's amazing. We have hip Coco's team. We operate in teams. We have a music team, we have funding teams like for the festivals, we break apart into food teams and stuff like this. Because believe it or not, I'm not doing all of this stuff.

Kosta Yepifantsev:

That's what everybody thinks.

Blair Dudley:

They Yeah, I get all the credit or all the blame. Yeah.

Kosta Yepifantsev:

So what's next for hip Cookeville and more importantly, What's next for Blair Dudley,

Blair Dudley:

we're probably going to start branding out this Firefly Music Festival a little bit. And we're looking at doing a lot with that. We don't have a thing signed in place yet, but we're in negotiations with a large indoor venue. And also, we're starting to talk to a large outdoor venue. Wow, that could get interesting in a hurry is what could happen there. And then, for me, I'm going to keep doing what I do. I typically don't ask permission to do it. I love people. I have empathy for so many people, and I'm just gonna keep putting that out there to the community. And I can accept it or not, you know, but that's what I'm going to do. I say, Martin Luther King had a little prayer. So King said, use me, God, show me how to take who I am, who I want to be, what I can do, and use it for a purpose greater than myself. I do a little different version of that. I'm like, Hey, God, you know, push me pull me drag me into the place I should be to de bring the people across my path. Take me across their paths. Do I have a goal? Nah, I don't. I don't have a goal. But if I did have a goal, it would be like whatever it is, I'm actually supposed to do this beneficial.

Kosta Yepifantsev:

Yeah. So we always like to end the show on a high note. Who is someone that makes you better when you're together?

Blair Dudley:

That would be my three adult kids. They grounded me. They tease me they torment me sometimes. And I need all of that. I'm so proud of them. They lift me. Right. They're great human beings. Grace and liberty and Reagan.

Morgan Franklin:

Thank you for joining us on this episode of Better Together with Kosta Yepifantsev. If you've enjoyed listening and you want to hear more, make sure you subscribe on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, or wherever you find your podcasts. Leave us a review or better yet, share this episode with a friend. Today's episode was written and produced by Morgan Franklin post production mixing and editing by Mike Franklin. Want to know more about Kosta visit us at kostayepifantsev.com. We're better together. We'd like to remind our listeners that the views and opinions expressed during this episode are those of the individual speakers and do not necessarily represent or reflect the official policy or position of this show its producers or any related entities or advertisers. While our discussions may touch on various topics of interest, please note that the content is intended to inspire thought provoking dialogue and should not be used for a substitute for professional advice.Specifically, nothing heard on this podcast should be construed as financial, legal, medical or any other kind of professional advice. We encourage our listeners to consult with a professional in these areas for guidance tailored to their specific circumstances.