Wanted: New owner for Ignition AlleyPosted: 6 February 2013
About two and a half years ago, I got involved with the relaunch of Ignition Alley, a coworking space next to the Beltline in Virginia Highland. Together with two other partners, we built out the space and opened the doors. Then, after a brief flurry of activity in ironing out wrinkles and getting new members onboard, each of the owners returned to focusing on our full-time jobs.
Flash forward to today, and it seems our strategy of benign neglect isn’t entirely sustainable. The reality is that Ignition Alley needs some nurturing in order to help it realize it’s potential. Unfortunately, none of the current owners are able to give it the attention it deserves. We do literally zero marketing. We invest nothing in coordinating events. We don’t do any outreach to the Meetup community. You won’t find a single Ignition Alley flyer in any of the coffee shops around town. You get the idea.
Despite that neglect, Ignition Alley has floated along for some time. But I’m afraid it’s now time for us to let it go, and rather than cast it pilotless into the sea, we’d prefer to hand it over to someone who will hold the rudder and chart a great course.
We’ve made some big investments — building out the space, website, access card system, furniture, etc — and while we view those as sunk costs, we still hate to see all the all evaporate. Moreover, our landlord has an interest in keeping Ignition Alley as a tenant. As such, we’re looking to hand the reins over to someone who’s willing to make the limited investment (mostly of time, enthusiasm, and thoughtfulness) necessary to nurture Ignition Alley into a great business.
If we can’t find the person who wants to run with Ignition Alley 3.0, we’re going to shut the doors. Even if that happens, I’ll feel pretty good about my personal return on our investment. In a previous post, I shared why I got involved with the relaunch of Ignition Alley:
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.
Through Ignition Alley, I’ve met some great friends and colleagues. The folks I’ve gotten to know have helped me solve technical problems, given me great insights about business, and introduced me to other wonderful people who’ve helped me push my other investments farther, faster, and higher.
It’s been a great run for me, and I’m hopeful that someone else is interesting in enjoying that sort of personal return as well as turning it into an enduring, profitable, and rewarding business. If you are that person, email us at firstname.lastname@example.org before February 15 and let us know.