Web inspires more inventive New Orleans culture

Web inspires more inventive New Orleans culture

PONCHATOULA, LA (WVUE) - With the growth of digital entrepreneurship, Small Business Saturday and Cyber Monday deals don't have to compete.

"Louisiana is not short of great ideas," said Robert Benson, an Internet marketing specialist with Legnd.

Entrepreneurs Adam and Tommy Waller believe the world deserves a taste of their locally grown idea.

"We created sort of a new platform to cook oysters on," said Adam Waller, inventor of The Oyster Bed.

Plugging into the creative spirit of the New Orleans region, the Waller brothers created a place to fit shucked oysters and cook them to the same consistency found on the half shell.

"Nobody had ever done this, so it was kind of exciting to come up with a new concept," Adam Waller said.

It's the kind of small business that used to require a much bigger economic risk. However, with the help of websites such as Kickstarter, they can be sure their product will be popular. Hundreds of customers pledged different amounts of money to ensure The Oyster Bed's success.

"Everybody wants to feel some level of technical or figurative ownership, and ideas like Kickstarter let everybody own even a little bit of a new and exciting idea," President and CEO of Greater New Orleans Inc. Michael Hecht said.

It helps turn online growth into real-world profits for more than just one company at a time.

"We kind of task ourselves to broadcast these ideas. So it's a partnership more than anything," Benson said.

The Oyster Bed uses the small website marketing business Legnd out of Ponchatoula for online services. They also work with another small business,  Nortech out of Hammond, for its video production in order to help describe the product and the mission of sustainability.

It's a mission, and a means of creative cooking, that the Waller Brothers were happy to learn people were excited to support.

"Kickstarter and the website that Legnd has helped us create gave us an ability to pre-sell a lot of our product before it was even made. That's one of the things that the digital age has really helped small businesses because you can mitigate a little bit of your risk," Tommy Waller said. "Just last weekend we became the highest funded Kickstarter campaign in Louisiana history."

Now, history is being shaped by the many more inventors investing in and celebrating New Orleans culture.

"What's here in Greater New Orleans, we're seeing a level of entrepreneurship and tech entrepreneurship that we've never seen in the history of the city," Hecht said. "If necessity is the mother of invention, than Katrina was the biggest and baddest Mama of them all. And we're now a much more inventive place than we have been probably ever."

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