I’m a huge fan of author, and social demographer, Richard Florida, whose premise about the rise of the creative class has helped cities around the world shape its economic development policies and long-range planning. The general idea of the creative class is that when you bring together creative types in largely urban cores, economic magic starts to happen.
While Florida’s definition of the creative class is largely based on adults, there’s a new type of creative class that’s bubbling up in downtown San Antonio. When you stand in front of what’s positioned as “San Antonio’s Best Office Address,” The Weston Centre is home to Geekdom,
Having been a community member at Geekdom since it first opened in December of 2011, my first real encounter with the potential of the facility was observing the incoming class of the TechStars Cloud, who had 11 startups and their teams move here for 3 ½ months to bring their startups to life.
When you enter The Weston Centre, you know you’re in a first class office building. The expansive lobby, the piano player who is there to serenade you on Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday as you take a break for lunch, walk down to the San Antonio River for an afternoon stroll, or run downstairs to Page Barteau’s restaurant for a healthy meal or snack.
You could be in London, New York, or Hong Kong, surrounded by largely well dressed lawyers, bankers, consultants and Texan good old boys with boatloads of oil and gas money.
And then there’s the Geekdom Gang.
We’re the ones in cut-offs or jeans, t-shirts that have either a startup’s logo on it, or some geeky expression or artwork that brings a smile to you as you enter the elevator.
We’re the ones wearing flip-flops, tennis shoes and carrying back-packs full of gizmos, gadgets and toys that have empowered us to be part of the global startup economy.
We may be grown ups, but at heart, we’re still kids, with an insatiable curiosity to learn, make, break, disrupt and monetize. Now that the TechStars Cloud class has graduated, another creative class is starting to at enter Geekdom.
This time, the class are real kids and well, yes, adults, who are taking advantage of 50 (not a misprint) new classes and workshops that are in process and will continue to expand on the 11th floor. I’m finding myself staying late at work to sit in the back of the community room just to sit and observe fresh, new faces that are discovering the magic of the 11th floor at Geekdom as a place to learn, connect and share.
In addition to these creative classes, there’s some plans in the works for a maker shop, multiple unconferneces, and even some Geekdom community projects that will reach out to, and impact parts of downtown San Antonio outside of the Weston Centre.
Keep your eyes on a new type of creative class – or rather classes, that are now underway and continuing to expand in the months to come.
And if you are looking to start something new, or just want to meet what is clearly becoming a central meeting and connecting point for some of San Antonio and South Texas’ brightest minds, come for a visit and consider becoming part of a movement in a class of its own.