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Opening soon: #best.third.space.ever
Irma Olguin, Jr. remembers what it was like starting out as a creative professional in Fresno, being a freelancer with a resource problem.
“Having a place to go was the biggest thing for me,” says Olguin, who owns Geekwise, a web development and computer engineering firm. The cost of renting an office suite was prohibitive, and while there were alternatives — coffee shops and libraries and friend’s houses — they all had deficiencies. The coffee shops tended to have shoddy wi-fi and minimal access to power outlets. The libraries were configured like ... well, libraries.
And just try knocking on a friend’s door at 3 a.m.
What she needed was a place like The Hashtag, the collaborative co-work, hackerspace she’s opening with Travis Sherdian next month.
Think of it as the best third space ever.
It will be open and available 24-hours a day, 365 days a year. It will have strong, reliable internet access, modular desk units — and couches and a bar-sitting area — and plenty of dry-erase boards for anyone looking to collaborate. Plus, it’s sandwiched between a coffee shop and a bakery, across the street from a pizza parlor and on the route of a major bus line.
The idea for The Hashtag — or a place like it, possibly in old town Clovis, possibly called the Mullet because all the work would happen up front — has been bouncing around since last year’s 59 Days of Code event, Sheridan says. While the event was a success on one level, it highlighted one of the problems of doing this kind of work in Fresno, Olguin says. There are plenty of people with ideas, and a lot of people doing a lot of cool stuff, but there is little in the way of connectivity and collaboration.
“We see it all the time,” Olguin says. “Super talented people working alone.”
So, The Hashtag is designed for writers, bloggers, programmers, developers, designers, filmmakers, artists and entrepreneurs as a place they can come to work AND be around like-minded people. Access is membership based and available 24-hours a day via a key-card system.
They will host program-driven events. Maybe something like the “Get Shit Done Night,” done by a similar space in Sacramento.
“For procrastinators,” Sheridan says.
There will also be a bid board, and companies and organizations will be encouraged to post any jobs they’ve sent out to bid as a resource for members.
Already several people have joined on, Sheridan says. He hopes to have 30 members by the time the space opens May 16. The ultimate goal is 150. That’s way more than the place can hold, but he sees it like a gym membership. You sell way more than will be used at any one time.
Of course, the business isn’t about money, Olguin says. It was never meant to be replacement income for either of them, she says. Both have full-time jobs. This is about talented people sharing the same space and seeing what comes up.
“Really good things happen when you put smart people in the same room.”
Memberships rates are $29 a month or $200 a year. Only 20 year-long memberships are available.
A related plug: You can get inside the Hashtag this Saturday at Creative Fresno's annual meeting, which includes speakers Art Dyson and Mike Oz.