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NextSpace (Venice)

Juicy Journals 
LOS ANGELES, CA
Tuesday 4/29/14

LA was the first leg of the journey, with four spaces to get to before Amtrak-ing out to Kansas City! The first space was NextSpace in Venice. I’ve had my reserves about multi-locational spaces, always wondering how they foster the individual identity of each space and its community. But seeing the way Carl interacted with drop-ins and new members, and talking with him about the neighborhood developments, it became apparent that each NextSpace location is like the neighborhood coworking spot.

Across the street, Joe Silver is building a studio out of the old Post Office. Google opened its first office in Venice, which was soon followed by a migration of other companies and startups to the westside/Santa Monica area. The area is becoming a kind of crossroads between entertainment and tech, and has been dubbed ‘Silicon Valley’, which locals didn’t really appreciate, “…because we have our own identity that’s besides [Silicon Valley]”, Carl explained. Carl is someone who has lived in Venice Beach for over 16 years, and our conversation made me wonder – what is coworking’s role in gentrification? Perhaps it is a cause – facilitating the population that’s encroaching upon the neighborhood. Perhaps it is a result – an indication that there are already those now living in the area with higher income. Perhaps it is a buffer – providing current residents with the flexibility to work where they live. As for Carl, a long-time resident, NextSpace and coworking have provided him with a place to work (he is also a musician), and a job that he enjoys.

Watching the neighborhood go by from behind the large tinted windows, there was always a boarder or a bicycler. The sun was shining, and the beach was calling me from just two blocks away. To the land of bikes and boards, I had to bid Venice a dieu to head downtown; development is something that’s happening in Kaka’ako so I’m sure our conversations of neighborhoods and coworking will continue!

Click the pictures below for commentary descriptions!

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Juicy Journals

Hey everyone,

Juicy Journals is a log of my trip for the Global Coworking Unconference. It’s been two years since Tony and Rechung attended Juicy, so I thought, “Why not me, in 2014!” To and from the unconference, I’ll be stopping where I can, and visiting spaces along the way. This is somewhat of an ode to last summer, and my failed attempts at the Millennial Trains Project. I hardly raised a fraction of my goal, but my two supporters and the MTP journey inspired me to jump on a train anyways (something I’ve been wanting to do since stumbling upon Silver Streak one late night on AMC). 

Below are the cities and coworking spaces visited in the order of travel.

Cheers,
Britney T-M

 

Juicy Journals

 LOS ANGELES
NextSpace (Venice)
Blankspaces (DTLA)
Opodz
Kleverdog Coworking

KANSAS CITY
– GCUC | 5/1・5/2 ・5/3
– ThinkBig
– Port
– Spring Accelerator
– Google Fiber

ST. LOUIS
– Nebula Coworking

INDIANAPOLIS
– The Bureau

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WORKSPACES: Will Reppun

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Will Reppun
BoxJelly member since: March 2013
Position/Title: Senior Developer
Company: Outside Intelligence

Meet BoxJelly member Will Reppun. He’s currently jelly-ing in Istanbul, so before he went off into the world, we wanted to catch up with him through our new blog series: WORKSPACES.

What do you enjoy most about coworking at the BoxJelly? One of the big stigmas about working remotely is that you end up talking to yourself and living in your underwear with a beard that doubles as a napkin.  The BoxJelly keeps me using real napkins. The cloth kind. Lux.

Fill in the blank: “When I’m not working at the BoxJelly, I’m ____.”
Hiking.  Or sailing.  Sometimes camping.  Probably sailing though.  Or out at my uncles’ farm.

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Favorite item on your desk:  My desk is lame.  Right now I have a computer, a Starbucks iced coffee filled with water (+1 re-use), a pair of sunglasses that I found in the middle of a highway in Colorado (they still had the price sticker on them — $5!), a whole bunch of change that someone stacked neatly when I was gone (and which I promptly knocked over), a monitor, Stephen King’s “11/22/63” (not a good book, but an excellent monitor stand), and a mostly full BoxJelly notebook.  The notebook.  That’s my favorite.  Stylish and useful.

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Ah yes, stylish and useful; just like the BoxJelly. In the upcoming months, you mentioned a stay/work-cation in Istanbul; cheers to you! Could you tell us a little more about what you’ll be doing, and how you ended up going to Istanbul?
The company I work for is based in Toronto.  Whether I’m in Honolulu or Istanbul, it’s all the same to them.  I think.  They haven’t complained about it yet.  But they wouldn’t like if I took 2 months off work to go travel, so instead I’m going to head over there with my girlfriend, and work while I’m there. That’s one of my favorite parts about the BoxJelly life — work wherever you want to.  Some days I work from home.  Some days I work from the North Shore.  I’ve worked while traveling in New York.  This is just another (rather drastic) extension of that.  And working on the trip makes it more financially feasible — instead of burning through the cash reserves I hope to at least break even.  Before taxes.  And I get to live in Istanbul.  And maybe Morocco for a month. Super excited.

We’re excited for you too Will!

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TRIPPIN’

Hanover/Madison, IN
By Britney T-M

Hanover/MadisonTRIPPIN’ is a summer blog series featuring coworking spaces, as BoxJelly intern Britney T-M travels to attend George Mason University’s Social Innovation Program. Follow the trip on Google Maps.
Student Activities Center at Hanover College
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The Center was donated by Jo Ann Flubaucher Withrow ’63 in honor of her late husband Ward Withrow ’60. 

Usually those tables aren't there, but there was a banquet going on (versatility!)

This area doubles as event space (versatility!)

Being so close to my alma mater and hometown-away-from-home, I had to visit good ‘ole Hanover and Madison, Indiana. I’m glad I did because Hanover College has coincidentally implemented the perfect coworking environment. Admittedly, I was rejected for a grant to study the application of coworking in the design of public campus spaces at HC, but so was Frank Lloyd Wright’s architectural proposal, so I digress.

This used to be a laundry room.

This used to be a laundry room.

Our Sociological Research Methods class (led by Dr. Robyn Ryle) formulated recommendations for renovation implementations. “Back in my day”, (as in 2012) Phase I of the “SAC” (as we endearingly called it), had a few pool tables, some flat screens, a few ping pong tables, and a ‘theater’ (bunch of sofas in front of a huge flatscreen).

With the completion of Phase 2, there is now a computer lab, a stage with a green room, open area space where pool tables and ping pong tables, meeting rooms, common areas, lunch nooks, and organizations such as the Haq Center lining the first and second floors (yes, BOTH floors are now in use!) which include the student life offices.

This used to be underutilized storage area.

This used to be underutilized storage area.

There are now countless possibilities for interaction with all of the diversity in space – student organizational meetings, class project work sessions, networking over ping-pong – the list is endless! A lot of conversation could occur between coworking spaces and institutions with spaces such as the SAC. I am jealous of, but more so very excited for, all future Hanoverians.

Second floor common area.

2nd floor common area.

NOTE TO STUDENTS: Take advantage that costs such as ‘membership dues’ are already factored into your tuition, and quarters aren’t required to operate the pool tables (billiards skills are ESSENTIAL to connect with local sub-cultures of the nearby town of Madison, IN). 

NOTE TO ’12 CLASSMATES: If you need to find me during Homecoming, I’ll be on the beer tour at The Shoebox, or hustling pool tables in the SAC.

Madison, IN

The Broadway Fountain

The Broadway Fountain

In front of the Lanier Mansion.

In front of the Lanier Mansion.

I don’t have much to say (there are no coworking spaces here), except for my expressions of affinity for this little river town. It’s got so much heart and soul if you look, and it unfortunately took me 4 years to find it. It’s a small town, but there are a lot of professionals that are either located here or pass through because of behemoths like the power-plant, that would/could use coworking; not to mention the population of tourists, and community opportunities that coworking spaces tend to bring. The question of coworking in rural areas always tugs at my interests because of Madison being my home-away-from-hometown. If you’re interested in this conversation too, please, get @ me.

Next stop: Social Innovation Program at George Mason University

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TRIPPIN’

Louisville, KY
By Britney T-M

Louisville, KY

TRIPPIN’ is a summer blog series featuring coworking spaces, as BoxJelly intern Britney T-M travels to attend George Mason University’s Social Innovation Program. Follow the trip on Google Maps.

iHub

“Louisville is extremely strong in the manufacturing, distribution, and long-term healthcare sectors. How do we cross-pollinate and innovate around them?” – Vik Chadha (director of iHub)

iHub

iHub is a coworking space within Nucleus (a research park), located in downtown Louisville. For just $80/month, membership grants you access to the entire space (which includes mailing services, meeting rooms, and events), free coffee, and free parking.

My host, Vik (director of iHub), was inspired by the cross-pollination and networking aspects of coworking, and in six months time, turned around what used to be a storage building for Nucleus into a coworking space. For Nucleus, it’s a great way for vertical industry cross-pollination, and can act as a sort of feeder into their main facilities, which include office spaces, laboratories for research, and business management and consulting services.

Dorit Donoviel (NSBRI Industry Forum Leader) with Mayor Greg Fischer

Dorit Donoviel (NSBRI Industry Forum Leader) with Mayor Greg Fischer

They are very open to first-time users, offering free use of the space to them. Vik emphasized not having to monetize services, by having the right alignment in order to be a magnet for those who will best carry out the initiatives you are trying to implement. In the same way that word-of-mouth is the most effective form of marketing, alignment is the most effective way for a coworking space to exist. “It’s all about identifying the needs for the ecosystem,” said Vik. “Louisville is extremely strong in the manufacturing, distribution, and long-term healthcare sectors. How do we cross-pollinate and innovate around them?” In answering this question, iHub creates a sort of ‘critical mass’, a density if you will, for creativity and innovation, that it will eventually feed into the science park and in turn, serve as a beneficial ‘Nucleus’ (puns intended!) for the entire city.

“We want to create our own future by creating ecosystems for innovation. How can we create a foundation for that?” -Vik Chadha, iHub Director

Picture 14

Vik and me on TV! (wlky.com)

The launch of XLerateHealth’s Accelerate SMARTCAP Program at iHub could not have been an anymore serendipitous example. Vik extended an invitation for me, as it was scheduled during our time to meet. Louisville Mayor Greg Fischer was in attendance, as well as Ted Smith, the chief of economic growth and innovation. An initiative of the National Space Biomedical Research Institute (NSBRI), the SMARTCAP program will be an accelerator program, with awards in $20,000 to each selected participating early-stage startup companies who address healthcare barriers in space to address problems here on earth, such as access to remote areas, limited resources, and patient evaluation. (Space flight will also turn commercial within our lifetimes, so look out for that as well.) Selected start-ups will also have full access to Nucleus services, and of course, access to a network which includes NASA. They are currently accepting applications. Louisville is a prime location for this program to emerge, not only because of Nucleus, but also because of the city’s rich history in distribution and healthcare.

With all of this wonderful news, I couldn’t help but wonder how all of this benefit would include/enhance the lives of the people living in Louisville, and in Kentucky. The answer? Organic growth (of the economy), of course.

Christopher Davis

Twitter: @cdavis

“The more I explore it, the more I realize that what we don’t have is a space that’s constantly trying to benefit and grow the creative economy in Louisville. That’s what I want to do in this space.” -Christopher Davis

The next “space” that I would visit has not yet opened it’s doors, but founder of what will be Method in Louisville, Christopher Davis, was more than willing to meet with me. We met of course, at the place that parented the whole coworking concept: a coffee shop.

Quills Coffee on Baxter Ave.

Quills Coffee on Baxter Ave.

A young up-and-coming designer and entrepreneur himself, Chris is not only trying to cultivate an industry, but looking to grow the city as a whole. What started out as an initiative to open a coworking space has turned into an analysis of Louisville’s ecosystems and cultures that led Chris to innovate around what so many smaller cities (including Honolulu) experience: the dreaded brain drain. “…it’s harder to find talent here in Louisville, which is so ridiculous because I have so many friends who were, and are, moving to places like the Valley and Austin and Chicago because they can’t get jobs in Louisville. Or, they think they can’t get jobs in Louisville.”

What will be the header for the Method page (in Louisville red!)

The more he looked around, the more Chris realized that Louisville needed a physical space for a designer and developer culture to form (much like what Nucleus is doing for the entrepreneurial, science, and healthcare culture); for people to come, create, build, and ‘”organically” develop the identity of the designer and developer cultures that are not yet in place. Realizing that renting desks would not feasibly sustain a space and distracts from other financial opportunities, Chris wants to build Method with the intentions of it being a creative commons; a place to cultivate creativity in Louisville. “The more I explore it, the more I realize that what we don’t have is a space that’s constantly trying to benefit and grow the creative economy in Louisville. that’s what I want to do in this space.” His ideas build a sort of support matrix that would patch a lot of holes that many urban areas see (such as unemployment, lack of educational opportunities, and outsourcing). Workshops and events open to the public, a three-tiered educational plan, and a “Startup Weekend” type of event to act as a crowd-sourcing program to address the city’s problems.

Chris is one of those people whose emanating love for their city keeps its heart pumping. Literally, a place would only be a bunch of buildings if it weren’t for the initiative of its citizens to contribute to its life flow. As a millennial, it can be overwhelming to figure out where to start as our generation ages into the professional world and leadership positions, but there are great examples of peers we can look to for that glimpse of guidance.

Next: How Hanover College is (coincidentally) creating a coworking environment.

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TRIPPIN’

Bloomington, Day 1 (Pt. II)
By Britney T-M

Bloomington

TRIPPIN’ is a summer blog series featuring coworking spaces, as BoxJelly intern Britney T-M travels to attend George Mason University’s Social Innovation Program. Follow the trip on Google Maps.

…Continued from Part I

SproutBox

SproutBox
Mentioned by both John and Aaron, SproutBox is a different breed entirely. It’s not quite a coworking space, but the cooperative environment is certainly all the same. What’s different is the business model. Believing that startup culture is failing entrepreneurs, founders Mike, Brand, and Mark are an alternative to the typical venture capital investment group.

“[There’s kind of a] ‘spray and pray’ model…If you’re a startup, what that means is that you’re basically partnering with someone who has a high degree of failure as a part of the expectation in the relationship. Obviously they want them all, they want you to succeed, but their business model is predicated on the idea that most of them won’t.” -Mike Trotzky, on how startup culture is failing entrepreneurs

20130610_171306An alternative to venture capitalism, SproutBox positions itself between an accelerator and incubator. They bring on 3-4 companies a year (1 per quarter) who are in the early stage of their ideas. “The economics don’t work out for [investors] to be very hands on…we’ve always tried to find a way to be incredibly hands on.” So instead of ‘spraying-and-praying’ a bunch of money away, SproutBox provides the majority of their investment in the form of services – everything from building the website from the ground up, to legal research and consultation. Not all tech scenes can give entrepreneurs what they need – so SproutBox builds the whole product so they don’t have to outsource work (‘try buy local!’ as we would say).

Founders Mike, Brad, and Mark founded ReCite, their first venture together, which ended up being one of Bloomington’s first major sells. In this process, they realized they were successful at working together, and discovered a lot of problems in the tech scene. Therein the idea of SproutBox was conceived, and today, they currently have three different funds with over 20 companies. The most recent clients have been travel based companies – Evacua, Pocket cab, Trackable  are all Indianapolis based.

Basketball and cornhole - two indicators that together, undoubtedly locate us in Indiana.

Basketball and cornhole – two indicators that together, undoubtedly locate us in Indiana.

The ‘coworking’ comes into play with SproutBox’s hackers in residence. Instead of having members pay, they’ll give them 10 hours of work for a SproutBox project and they call it even. This exposes coders and gives them freelance projects, while helping SproutBox fulfill their services.

Currently in a period of downtime, Mike is now working with a previous client for Cheddar Getter – an online bill recurring management system. They are attempting to target coworking spaces through their affiliate program (‘make some cheddar together!’), so be sure to check them out if you’re involved with a space.

And thus, SproutBox is a prime portrayal of innovation. Even though they may have reinvented the (VC) wheel, their ethic for personal investment (in their partnerships and their work) reflects a classic set of business values – you know, the sort that made a ‘man’s word’ sincere, and a handshake just as binding as a contract. In a way, all that innovation is, is going back to basics; integrating previous practices and enhancing current processes. The challenge might be the funny looks other kids give you on the playground, but I have a feeling organizations like SproutBox will be the next ones to lead the lunch line.

Next stop: Louisville, KY

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TRIPPIN’

Bloomington, Day 1 (Pt. I)
By Britney T-M

Bloomington

TRIPPIN’ is a summer blog series featuring coworking spaces, as BoxJelly intern Britney T-M travels to attend George Mason University’s Social Innovation Program. Follow the trip on Google Maps.

For those of you not familiar with Bloomington, a major fact is that it’s home to Indiana University. Because of the talent that pools here from this mega institution, it’s no wonder the coworking spaces in B-Town established quickly. With sucha  concentration of skills for the area’s labor force, you’ll see companies sprout up in very unique ways, explaining a sort of “wild-card effect” of the midwest in terms of innovation and industry.

Cowork Btown

Coworkin' hard!

Coworkin’ hard!

Cowork Btown

One of many pieces by Bloomington artists that were just recently put on display.

Cowork Btown started in the way most do. The founding members worked remotely for their companies. They met up at coffee shops and loved the social benefits of working together – chatting about the game, sharing info. about recent product releases, etc. But spending $20 every day and having to constantly feed the parking meter inspired them to find a space of their own. With one tweet, they found 10 more people to join them, and BOOM!, Cowork Btown was born.

I met with one of the founding members Aaron White, a lead designer at Formstack, who also works with Bryan and Brandon (trippy!). It’s located in a building with multiple tenants – a yoga studio and investment group are their closets neighbors.

It is a smaller space, only about four or five months old, but is equipped with all the essential amenities – common work area, meeting rooms, and soon-to-be lounge room. They might be able to acquire an extra room as well that they would turn into a copy room with more lounge space. The kitchen space and restroom is shared with the investment group, which is an interesting way that they are unintentionally coexisting with other working professionals. When first finding a space, they encountered a bit of misunderstanding with landlords thinking of coworking more as subletting. It was a reminder for me of how recent this industry has developed.

Back of the chalkboard walled reception area.

Back of the chalkboard walled reception area.

As our conversation continued, the topic shifted towards an area that I think a lot of coworking founders will find themselves in. “We need to partner with someone,” explained Aaron, “…to help manage the community. It’s just that we’ve got full time jobs…family and kids…it’s hard to work on the space.” Planning events, managing new member signups, making sure there’s TP in the restrooms – these are things that need to get done for a space to operate. As founders establish the needs of space creation, who will be there to maintain it?

The potential lounge room.

The TV wall in the potential lounge room.

The simple answer is those who need it. The needs of tech. parks and coworking spaces relate to each other in this way. If no man is an island unto himself, coworking spaces should recognize the channels for which they are part in the ‘archipelago’, or their connection to ‘the mainland’–quite simply, the surrounding community/city and industry ecosystem of which they are in. During our Business Scholars consultancy project, our recommendations continually pointed to institutional partnerships for the sustainability of our tech. park client. For example, Purdue, Notre Dame, Rose Hulman–all of these educational institutions have technology parks who are partnered with them. Universities provide the research and talent, tech parks provide the infrastructure and networks for that research and talent to be implemented and relevant.

There is soon to be a tech park in Bloomington as well. With the IU and a growing tech. community, Bloomington certainly has fertile ground to grow and prosper as a town. And with young and ambitious professionals such as Aaron and the team of Yellow taking their early career steps in B-Town, there will be much more to look out for.

Blueline

Blueline

Blueline

Revenge is never a straight line“, and neither is any journey. Exploring coworking spaces means exploring communities, and the stories of people in that community. It was only after speaking with Aaron that I knew about Blueline, a coworking space that finds its niche in the creative realm rather than the tech. space. So after Cowork Btown, I trip’d myself over a few blocks on 6th St. and a half block north up College Ave. to Blueline.

Founder Chelsea Sanders with Bertie.

Founder Chelsea Sanders with Bertie.

Founder Chelsea Sanders graciously agreed to meet with me on a moment’s notice. After graduating college from Illinois State University, Chelsea landed in Bloomington for an art director’s position at Auxiliary Services for IU. By that point, she had already started Blueline Media Productions, a creative agency doing full marketing and branding campaigns for companies. An artist of photography herself, she eventually wanted to have her own business and gallery to give local artists a chance to showcase their art and host shows. “With artists, it’s more than likely that the majority of people don’t have the money,” exlains Chelsea. “They’re just trying to have a show…it’s expensive to rent a studio or gallery space. So if you share, it’s just cheaper.”

The fashionista of "What I Wore"(whatiwore.tumblr.com)

The fashionista of whatiwore.tumbr.com. (Co)Work it, girl!

As she made enough money, she resigned from the director’s position to fill that gap. Fast-forward through a few locations and you’ll find Chelsea right off the main square. She’s livin’ her dream, working amongst other creatives – a copy writer, a video director, their corresponding employees and interns, and even fashion blogger Jessica Quirk!

Backroom.

Backroom.

At Blueline, there’s a reception/couch area, a general workspace, a laptop/desktop bar, and a dedicated office space in a back room that is home to three programmers from Three Amigos. The conference table is a center piece of sorts in the space, and for shows, everything is cleared to transform the space into a gallery. Most of the furniture are refinished pieces from an old furniture store, lending to an antique/vintage vibe.

Center table.

Center table.

Memberships break even on the rent, but making money isn’t the point. This gives her a chance to make her business and have like-minded people to work with, which is another one of those innovation metrics difficult to measure. The next steps she wants to take involve community oriented events. She is currently working with one of her clients to host a leadership workshop for Blueline and community members (which is arguably an added value for her client, in access to exposure and networking).

We have this same exact Atlas at home.

Trippy: I flipped through this Atlas at my house, right before flying out of HNL.

While conversing with Chelsea, we talked about the changing culture of competition. Even with Cowork Btown and an upcoming technology park, competition looks like it will take a backseat to collaboration. The challenge that Chelsea sees is basically more of a marketing issue – how people understand what the space is, how it is used, and the referral of members.

"Live what you love" + "Work the way you live" = Blueline + BoxJelly

“Live what you love” x “Work the way you live” = Blueline + BoxJelly

It reminded me of kayak racing and running track. Coaches would tell us the clock was our only competition. Co-working, co-operation, co-mmunity…the stories of these spaces are all conceived with the purpose of benefiting through co-operation. I have a feeling that there is a redefinition of the competitor happening along with this paradigm shift of the way we work.

Bloomington continued in Day 1 (Pt. II)…
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TRIPPIN’

Indianapolis, Day 2 (Part II)
By Britney T-M

Indianapolis, IN
TRIPPIN’ is a summer blog series featuring coworking spaces, as BoxJelly intern Britney T-M travels to attend George Mason University’s Social Innovation Program. Follow the trip on Google Maps.

Continued from Indianapolis, Day 2 (Part I)

Launch Fisher’s

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The space that took us out of the city was Launch Fisher’s. Megan from Indy CoZ actually referred this space to us (thanks Megan!). Fisher’s is a suburb in Hamilton County that has grown consistently in population and constantly on top lists such as “best places to live” or “safest place to live”. This visit would take Scottie and I 30 minutes north east of Indy, but we were so close that we just had to make the visit.

Upon arrival, it was a bit confusing to get from the parking lot to the front entrance. And when we got to the front entrance, we realized we were going into a library. And when we got to the library, the information desk was glad to point us in the right direction. The Fisher’s Library itself was already very impressing, so I couldn’t wait to see what this space had in store.

I always thought that coworking was the the next step in the evolution of libraries. With all of the resources and information that a library can offer coworking, and the utilization that coworking can offer a library, it would be…organic.

Behind every great man, there is a great Mama!

Behind every great man, there is a great Mama!

Organic is a term that echoed in my head after meeting with Launch Fisher’s founder, John Wechsler. Even though we just dropped in, John was eager to talk with us. “If you think about it, this has been almost 10 years investment.” Originally, John wanted to start a coworking space back in 2007. However, with the launch and success of Formspring in 2009, he had to follow the company’s expansion to California, and was just recently able to move back to Indiana. Launch Fisher'sThe space opened in 2012, unexpectedly as a non-profit, as part of the town’s effort to organically create startup activity. “They see this sort of space as community infrastructure, just as a road or bridge would be.” John described this as organic economic development. By providing space for startups (a previously empty library), in a region where startups have resources to grow (surrounding industry of Indianapolis, as well as central location of US), in a town where this ecosystem can take place (a growing population for the needed labor force), growth will be sustainable.

The work bar. John made the backing from repurposed book shelves, sourced from the library upstairs!

The work bar. John made the backing from repurposed book shelves, sourced from the library upstairs!

In building the space, John has gone with function, then form. Launch Fisher’s was designed to be configurable, and accomodate people without having to crowd everyone to do it. In the 16,000sq.ft. space, there is a coffeeshop+cafe area, couch lounge, general workspace area with desks, couches, and bar stool seating, a stage area (which is level with the ground and is used as a general workplace couch area when not in use), six phone booths (with soundproofing), a 100 person conference room + 50 person meeting room (both can be configurable to connect or disconnect with each other)…whew!

Yes, they even have a treadmill desk.

Yes, they even have a treadmill desk.

Events are held in this space so the general work area can remain available to working members), four 4-person rooms, one 8-person room, a 20-person room, a printing/mail system area, gallery space, and restrooms. There is also a room sectioned off for dedicated desk space. With 200 members, it seems like it’s a pretty successful formula.

Jackie!

Jackie!

If it weren’t already a great enough place, I ran into Jackie Mills – a classmate from Hanover. Jackie is one of those people who restore your faith in humanity. She was always a positive influence for me, and it was very fortuitous that John mentioned that she was a member and working there that day. She is now a researcher at Enterprise Strategies, and has even worked out of the Speak Easy.

Crowdsourcing flyering efforts from members.

Crowdsourcing flyering efforts.

On the drive back to Indianapolis, Scottie and I couldn’t stop talking about what we had just saw. As an example of organic economic development, it was eye-opening to see the analogous theory in action, AND seeing it executed successfully. With so much emphasis on “Buy Local” and “Organic” production means back home, it’d be nice to see more of this application in Honolulu.

Be sure to visit their website for more pics and event info!

Indianapolis First Friday’s

Yes, that is a flying cupcake...The Flying Cupcake Bakery, to be exact!

Yes, that is a flying cupcake…The Flying Cupcake Bakery, to be exact!

Indianapolis at dusk, from the Old National Centre

Indianapolis at dusk, from the Old National Centre

After six spaces in two days, I was finally finished! Now it was play time. Mark, his boyfriend Corby, and I were on our way to First Friday’s in Fountain Square when Mark goes: “I feel like going food trucking.” And as Mark’s luck would have it, we passed the Old National Center, and there it was – FIRST FRIDAY FOODTRUCK FEST (presented by Leinenkugel)! The trucks lined up along the sides, serving everything from cupcakes to delux mac and cheese, and bbq.

Retro 101 (@shopretro101)

Mobile clothes boutique, Retro 101 (@shopretro101)

There was even a boutique bus and corporate booths (such as Verizon and a Spring charging station). We chose the fried catfish and fried chicken sandwich, each coming with sides of coleslaw, fries, and spicy dipping sauce. The batter was not too thick, the oil was clean (in the same way that Honolulu’s Phuket Thai calamari and friend chicken are), and the catfish did not taste like dirt, letting the flavors and spices come through with a sensational amount of crunch.

The catfish plate from Chef Dan's Southern Comfort Foodtruck

The catfish plate from Chef Dan’s Southern Comfort Foodtruck with Leinenkugel’s Summer Shandy

The coleslaw reminded me of my grandma’s – light on the mayo, and slightly sweet. Sitting next to the boutique bus under the parking lot foliage with our home-fried meals and Leinenkugel’s, it was a perfect summer picnic. It also made me anxious for the next Eat the Street!

Cultured Swirl in Fountain Square

Cultured Swirl in Fountain Square

After our food truck fill, we suddenly stopped off at the Cultured Swirl to feed our sweet teeth. An organic, home-made, customer caring establishment, the Cultured Swirl opened just this year. After the first sample, I couldn’t help but have a little of all six flavors (Dutch chocolate, strawberry, pomegranate berry, pineapple, mango, and vanilla).

Yes, fresh cut bacon.

Yes, fresh cut bacon.

Their condiment bar was stocked with organic goodies as well, and they even kept the peanut butter topping heated…HEATED peanut butter, people! I’ve never felt so loved as a customer. They also installed large swings in the store shop window for patrons to sit in, and a backyard area that connected to a pizza joint. Was there anything that could have made it perfect? Probably live music…which they had! I would go back to Indianapolis just to be ‘cultured’ again.

Outside of Murphy's

Outside of Murphy’s

For the night’s finale, we stopped at Murphy’s Art Center (which I just realized is owned and managed by Deylen Realty). It is a multi-level building repurposed from the G.C. Murphy’s department store. The building itself was constructed in the 1880’s, became Murphy’s in 1951, then closed down in 1998. It started its re-purpose as an arts and community center, but began to decline in 2006.

One of the rooms in Murphy, with a band and a bar.

One of the rooms in Murphy, with a band and a bar.

Then in 2009, Craig and Larry Von Deylen became the new owners and managers, and had the spaces on the second and third floors completely leased. At full occupancy, there are over dozens of rooms with tenants ranging from The Red Lion Grog House, to the Indianapolis Museum of Contemporary Arts, and even Blackline Studio.

Whimsical Funk's 99 Bottles of Funk on the Wall, Upland Brewery room

Whimsical Funk’s 99 Bottles of Funk on the Wall, Upland Brewery room

Upland Brewery has  their marketing office there, and was hosting IndyCog‘s $3 pint fundraiser to promote their Indianapolis ride guide map. We also stopped in People for Urban Progress (upcycling and innovation it’s finest!) and a few galleries as well.

The door of the Upland Brewery room

The door of the Upland Brewery room

Indianapolis seemed to be good at this repurposing thing – Murphy’s, the Platform, and even the Speak Easy are all repurposed buildings. Something to note when going through the rinse-reuse-recycle process for structures and spaces.

Next city: Bloomington, IN

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