The Creative Space
The Creative Space, a co-working space dedicated to independent workers, freelancers, telecommuters, and creatives, was born out of a group of friends trying to launch their individual careers in Bryan, TX.
In between meetings at Starbucks, conference calls in quiet bedrooms, and the need to get stuff done, we collectively realized that a more professional location was needed to conduct business.
In 2007 I stepped up and became the catalyst for founding the Creative Space, which is now known as the second co-working space in North America.
Hashtags, commonly known as the #-symbol and popularized by Twitter, was initially tracked and monitored by a group of early Twitter adopters looking to analyze on-line conversations.
Prior to starting the company, Hashtags, there was no way to monitor trending discussions or understand disparate conversations. A simple, yet user-friendly solution, was needed to help the internet quickly rally around a term and allow for social movements and events to organize. (i.e. #sdfire, [Iranian elections], etc.)
Borrowing the # from Internet Relay Chat (IRC), I created Hashtags to centralize topical conversations, beating Twitter to the punch.
Kinky Friedman, the Author, Musician, and Humanitarian, campaigned in 2007 as the Populist candidate for Governor.
Recognizing Kinky’s realistic perspective on gubernatorial issues, I immediately joined his campaign and became an instant supporter of his candidacy.
Through collaboration with his Austin headquarters I created several blog sites to generate awareness with those who grew up with him and spent countless hours petitioning to get his name on the Governor ballot. I was successful in collecting over 13,000 signatures in East Texas prior to election day.
BarCamp is the un-conference of all un-conferences. It is the premier opportunity for anyone (really, anyone) with a desire to contribute something to or learn from the community to share in an open and egalitarian environment.
Though BarCamp is autonomous by nature, I learned of the idea while in Palo Alto and inspired the Bryan, TX community to bring BarCamp to the Brazos Valley. I invited the community and thought leaders from across the state to the Brazos Valley to share their expertise.
Functionally, BarCamp existed to spark conversations - which it was successful in stimulating. But more importantly, the connections that I was able to foster and develop within the participants - both offline and via email - galvanized the community into sharing an experience that would enhance future growth, development, and cooperation.
Bil (And Ted)
BIL is a global un-conference, initiated at the TED Conference in Monterey, CA. Similar to BarCamp in its open and egalitarian nature, BIL was open to the general public, free to attend, and did not warrant invitation.
BIL - capitalizing on the notoriety of the attendees at TED - filled a gap in the ecosystem that the TED conferences created. People from all demographics wanted to be a part of the exclusive TED Conference but did not have a way to connect.
In recognizing this untapped market, I proposed the idea of “crashing” the TED conference to Todd Huffman and Bill Erickson which sparked a movement (some would say pilgrimage) to hang out with TED’sters schmoozing at night. Within a matter of weeks, the group of attendees grew and the decision to start an inclusive global unconference, BIL (and TED) seemed, well, obvious. Nine years later, across 33 cities in seven countries, BIL events continue take place uniting over 5,000 BIL’ders.
Rock The Republic
Rock The Republic was dubbed a “a spectacle of sight and sound” for its 3-day, 12-venue, 120-artist eclectic entertainment endeavor.
Tired of driving to Austin and Houston to be entertained, I created Rock The Republic with a team of eight music-loving friends to provide the Bryan/College Station, TX community with a steady stream of year-round spectacles: music, art, slam poetry… whatever added to the variety.
Together, we assembled a staff of 110 volunteers to promote, coordinate, and book the year’s events and plan the culminating series called Rock The Republic.
Grand Stafford Theater
After three years of running Rock The Republic, the stage was (quite literally) set for a more permanent venue in Bryan, TX. The 100-year old Grand Stafford Theater sat in downtown Bryan underappreciated and underutilized.
Recognizing the community’s desire in working with Rock The Republic to host regularly scheduled, regional performers, I worked with AdventGX and investors to compile a team of people, volunteers and contractors who were hungry for consistent entertainment, to renovate the historic opera house.
Five months later, the Grand Stafford Theater re-opened to the public and in its inaugural season hosted acts such as Asleep at the Wheel, The Flatlanders, Powerman 5000, Kinky Friedman, St Paul & The Broken Bones, Flyleaf, Junior Brown, and Balmorhea. Today, the Grand Stafford Theater stands as the region's foremost cultural venue.