A few weeks ago, I was visiting Cocoa Village, working out of the Ossorio coffee shop with Mike, when I got a phone call from Orlando Business Journal reporter Anjali Fluker. She asked me several questions about Coworking and what I do working out of home, coffee shops and other spaces. I told her some of the benefits of coworking, and a bit about the Urban ReThink project.
One year ago, I was approached by Julia Young, the President of a local nonprofit organization called the Urban Think! Foundation. She was charged with transforming a soon-to-be out of business local bookstore into a Coworking space, event space, and a program to support local creatives. There were hazy thoughts about having a cafe, putting in a loft, and creating a versatile space. She found me because of my numerous blogs posts about Coworking, and my involvement in the local community.
Today the Orlando Sentinel wrote a short, one-dimensional piece about our as-of-yet-unopened space at Urban ReThink in downtown Orlando. I really wish we could have a website today - one exists, but with no styling. Ugh.
I'm a regular reader of the Orlando Business Journal's blogs. As far as I know, they don't post all of their articles online. I get a lot of great info from the blogs though, and they help me keep in touch with my city in ways that I don't get from other publications.
Since the beginning of the year, I've been involved with a project to create a community center in the Thornton Park neighborhood of downtown Orlando. The space will be run by a non-profit, the Urban Think! Foundation, whose current project, Page15, is a beacon of great service and creative inspiration to the city's youth.
I've been spending the morning setting up my new EVO and checking out the Android Market applications. However, this post is not a review of my new HTC phone.
In the past few months, Downtown Orlando and Thornton Park lost a great gem - the one independent bookstore within miles of town. The Urban Think! Bookstore was a community-minded, education-focused, welcoming, original, and fun place to be. The many iterations of the store over the years, including the kids bookstore, the cafe, and even local vendors selling baked goods, handmade items, and other local goodies made it an exemplary space for other local businesses to emulate.
Back at BarCampOrlando this year, I gave a (mostly finished) version of this presentation, about the fall of the local bookstore, and a strategy for saving such establishments. As BarCamp is filled with programmers, I then tried to give them a relevant example: how to make your app better. (read: website, product, video, etc.) My argument is to focus on storytelling, and think like a Boutique. Credit goes to Tara Hunt for the idea of boutique stores.
I promised some folks from BarCamp I would link to my blog post where I talked about saving local bookstores. I will post some slides soon, but I want to include the bullet points (i.e. actually finish the slides) before they get posted to SlideShare.
Also, if anyone out there is looking for the mailing list for New Media Orlando, jump on there and join the discussion.