I’ve been a strong supporter of the co-working concept for years. As someone who has worked remotely for more than 75% of my career, I’ve seen the persistent need for a space where free agents from all facets of the web-based business development community can converge in space and time to collaborate. In the multi-disciplinary environment promoted by the co-working atmosphere, the unprecedented quality and diversity of opinion and raw perspective allow projects to crystallize very quickly. Participants communicate freely, respectfully, and openly. Everyone walks away from the table feeling like they contributed something, helped others, and gained something themselves. Whether it’s the candid analysis of what can and can not be done from the engineers, the bold inspiration and influence of creatives, or the market awareness and pragmatism of business analysts, the key is getting a representative sample of all the players in the same room, so they can interact in real-time.
Tampa Bay WaVE is a non-profit organization devoted to providing web venture entrepreneurs with space to work together to solve the hard problems that have a real impact on the community. WaVE members work together to help each other overcome obstacles and roadblocks presented by the ever-changing ecosystem of technology-based businesses. I feel fortunate to have the opportunity to be a pioneer, an early adopter of this 21st century approach to business development. My latest challenge is to build a streaming media distribution, authentication, and e-commerce framework for Internet TV. As the VP of Engineering for Red Hawk Interactive, my primary directive is to push the cutting edge of what is possible, to set a new standard for quality and utility in the TV space. Thanks to the relationships we’re building by being affiliated with Tampa Bay WaVE, I have complete confidence in our ability to deliver an innovative solution by the end of this year.
The energy in the WaVE office is incredible. We’re really excited to be an early tenant, and we expect the other offices to fill up quickly. We started the week painting a full floor-to-ceiling whiteboard in our office. As of Friday, we’ve already nearly filled the wall with branding ideas, money-making strategies, and project plans. It seems silly, but there’s something about being allowed to write on the wall that inspires a level of playful creativity I have never experienced in a traditional office. We even used the wall as part of a video chat with our branding and marketing partners, Head of Lettuce Media.
Bottom line: if you’re building a web-based and/or technology business in Tampa Bay, you can do no better than the Tampa Bay WaVE co-working space. The energy and level of creative and technical expertise is awe-inspiring. The location – across from the Tampa Convention Center in the heart of downtown – is central to the region. The parking is free and ample. The only thing that’s missing is an in-house coffee/tea/beer/wine bar and café. Hey, a guy can dream, right?