Ignition Alley: Adding a new venture to the mix (and other news)Posted: 21 August 2010
Some exciting news: I’ve recently partnered with a couple of Atlanta entrepreneurs to re-boot Ignition Alley, a co-working office space in Virginia-Highland. Ignition Alley is an open office environment for technology entrepreneurs, creatives, freelancers, and anyone else who needs an affordable, professional in-town spot to set up shop. And it’s an especially great environment for those interested in working alongside people who are doing all kinds of great things in Atlanta’s technology community. Please share this news with anyone that you think would be interested. More information (including pricing and membership details) is available at the Ignition Alley website.
I got involved with Ignition Alley for a few reasons:
1) There was unfinished office space immediately adjacent to GuildQuality that seemed to me to be an ideal spot (walkability, light, parking, size, price, etc) in which to build out a co-working office space.
2) Ignition Alley presented the unique opportunity to join with and build on the successes of two other established entrepenuers: Tim Dorr, who founded A Small Orange and then (with assistance from Mike Schinkel) set up the first iteration of Ignition Alley a year ago, and Todd Prinkey of Weaver Woodbery, one of the owners of our building, a founder of Puritan Mill, and an experienced real estate developer and operator. Todd did an exceptional job building out the office space in short order.
3) Lastly, and most importantly, Ignition Alley — both now and in its previous incarnation — is strengthening the Atlanta technology community by bringing together all these individuals who themselves were previously grinding away in relative isolation. In the two days since we (re)opened, I’ve already witnessed, participated in, and benefited from an amazing cross-pollination. Talented individuals are sharing experience, resources, connections, enthusiasm, and encouragement, in a way that’s accelerating the growth of their businesses and their own personal development. It’s a wonderful thing to see, and I’m thrilled to have the opportunity to help build a great business around this exciting community.
While I’m at it, I’ll go ahead and share some news about the other things going on in my professional life:
GuildQuality, the business I launched eight years ago, remains my primary focus outside of my family. Every day we face the challenge of growing a business through this tumultuous climate, and I’m very pleased to share that revenue, profit, traffic, and membership are all at all-time highs. Three things have helped us accomplish this:
1) An incredibly dedicated and talented crew, who are themselves encouraged by their wonderful families. I would single out some people individually, but the reality is that every member of our team is equally dedicated and accomplished in their own way. GuildQuality and I are both luck to have them all.
2) Fantastic members. The very best builders, remodelers, contractors, and real estate developers in North America rely on us to help them deliver an exceptional customer experience and to articulate the quality of their service to prospective customers. We’ve chosen to target the most accomplished companies in our industry, and that has paid huge dividends. Never has there been a better group of clients to serve than our nearly 600 members.
3) The emerging importance of “reputationalism” over credentialism and advertisement. With so much information available about every business out there, it’s getting much easier for customers to judge a company by what they’ve done and what other customers say about them as opposed to what an advertisement or a certification suggests they’re qualified to do. The static of self-promoting advertisement and exclusionary credentials are dissipating into irrelevance as people start to scrutinize the important stuff — like what type of work have they really done and what type of experience have others had with them. This has created acute pressure among all businesses to either deliver great service or perish.
Las Catalinas: To add to the mix, I have recently fallen in to the consulting business. A few months ago, I visited Las Catalinas, an emerging beach town in Costa Rica. Shortly thereafter, the developer asked me to help them with a number of aspects of their launch. Having gone through this with I’On many years ago, having a lot of respect for the developer, and having an interest in more actively reconnecting with real estate development, I jumped at the opportunity. If you’re interested in learning more about the new beach town, visit the Las Catalinas website, and sign up for the newsletter.
A couple other things: Many of my friends and colleagues know that I have high hopes of one day building a mountain retreat and lodge. I’ve scrutinized a number of properties, a few of which have been promising. This summer, we came close to acquiring a great property, but alas, after much back and forth, we couldn’t come to terms with the seller. The search continues. In the meantime, my family and friends have been quenching our thirst for outdoor adventure with the Expeditioners. Visit our site for pictures of our semi-organized, mostly spontaneous adventures. Perhaps they’ll inspire you to grab your wee ones and get outside!
Come by and visit! This post started as a quick update about Ignition Alley, so I’ll end there as well. GuildQuality’s headquarters are adjacent to the new space, so I’m nearby most of the time. Come by for a visit. I look forward to seeing you.