Tag Archives: infrastructure

A Few Thoughts On Noke Codes

Noke Codes. Yeah. It is time to address this joint.

But why has it taken so long? I’ll tell ya, having a job is real drag, man. I really thought by now Barack Obama would have read this blog and come to my house and said, “Guy, I’ve read every single one of your posts about bands that nobody likes or has heard of, and WE NEED YOU. I want you to take this salary from the American people of one billion dollars so that you can write full time, hombre. This is important.”

RIGHT?

Anyway, Noke Codes.

Noke Codes is an effort by a group of local guys to accomplish several goals at once via a civic hackathon.

Let us first to be dispensing with the notion that hacking is bad. It can be, but it isn’t necessarily so. Kinda like how not all rectangles are squares, dig?

What then is a hackathon? It is a weekend-long sprint to a build a solution to a vexing IT problem. And a CIVIC hackathon is just applying that method to a community or societal issue.

The goals for Noke Codes (in no particular order): bring together the local tech community in a sort of nerd mixer; help local organizations that need tech help; and throw a bitchin’ local party. Being local is very, very hip right now. And Noke Codes ain’t nothin’ if not hip.

This is the kind of event that will either be Ground Zero of a Roanoke Revolution!, or a friggin’ train wreck. I don’t know which, but there doesn’t seem to me to be the possibility of a middle ground here. Either folks will come out and be astounded at the opportunity and talent that exists here, or nobody will show up.

Behind the scenes, the organizers are putting in the work to ensure that the infrastructure is in place to make this work, and they are partnering with CoLab not only for space but also for help in spreading the word. So, I think if people show up, it will work. But will anybody show up?

StartUp Weekend didn’t work here. That was almost two years ago, and I think our start-up scene is accelerating daily, but still…StartUp Weekend pretty much works everywhere. It is a franchise. And Roanoke loves franchises. Hello, Mission BBQ!

Noke Codes is a project worth supporting. There is no downside. But like most things, people will stand on the sideline until they see it is a success, and then NEXT year, it will be well attended. If they make it to next year. But if you are reading this, you are the type of person who is needed THIS year so that they can make it to next year.

So get involved, yo! Now is the time. YES! WE! CAN!

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Filed under Grandin culture, Roanoke Start-ups

Same ol’, same ol’ Part 1

I swear that this blog will eventually be more than simply re-posting articles from the Roanoke Times, but just this very second (!) I read an interesting and almost germane article that I thought you, my zero dear readers, would find…um, how will you find this? Amazing? Catastrophic? Since there are zero of you, I guess there will be no feeling at all.

Anyway, here is the article.

“Start-up culture,” on which I’m an unquestioned expert so don’t question me on it, begins with smart people with new ideas, but it does not end there. You also need boring infrastructure crap, as you would for any nascent endeavor. (Except for hillbilly culture, for which all you need is dirt. No, I kid! This is Appalachia, homie, I ain’t hatin’. I’ve got pickup envy SO HARD right now.) Infrastructure that One Million Percent includes ubiquitous broadband, but also just good office space. Utilitarian – meaning conducive to the way start-ups work, so NOT segregated cube farms in suburban office parks – and comfortable.

We need more and better office space for start-ups to thrive here. For all the hype surrounding Roanoke’s downtown revitalization over the past decade, developers have actually done a shit job on this front. Sure, we needed apartments, but we didn’t only need apartments. What about a grocery store? Or a movie theater? Or affordable, attractive office space for start-ups??? *Caveat:Coworking space is a separate issue, and one I’ll discuss at a future date; as regards Roanoke, it is a surprisingly fruitful topic.*

Back to the article in the Times, which, for those too lazy to click on it, is about the City of Salem’s plan to “energize” their lil’ downtown. Why is it interesting for our purposes here at Grandin Republic? Especially when a reference to start-ups, even an oblique one, is nowhere to be found? It is because of the following quote, explaining that the methodology of the Salem study, which included public solicitation of ideas and upon which planning for downtown revitalization was based, uncovered this response:

“Not everyone sees the need to change anything in Salem, though. Payne said one thing they have noticed from survey respondents and casual conversation is that older generations of Salem residents think downtown Salem is fine just the way it is and don’t care for any changes.”

Yeeeeaaaah.

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Filed under NIMBY, Start-up culture