Frequently Asked Questions about Ignition Alley
These are the answers we've developed to the questions we've been asked and the questions we anticipate being asked. Have we left any questions unanswered, or would you to suggest we clarify one of our questions/answers? Let us know.
- Q:What is Ignition Alley, in a nutshell?
A:Ignition Alley is a coworking space and business community where entrepreneurs, freelancers and others types can establish their primary or secondary office in a community-focused collaborative environment.
- Q:Wow! I've not heard of coworking. What is it?
A:According to Wikipedia, coworking is:
An emerging trend for a new pattern for working. Typically work-at-home professionals, independent contractors, or people that travel frequently end up working in relative isolation. Coworking is the social gathering of a group of people, who are still working independently, but who share values and who are interested in the synergy that can happen from working with talented people in the same space. Coworking offers a solution to the problem of isolation that many freelancers experience while working at home, while at the same time letting them escape the distractions of home. The coworking model provides the social, collaborative, and informal aspects of the process, with management practices closer to that of a Cooperative, including a focus on community rather than profit.
You can learn more about coworking by checking out the Coworking Wiki which is a collaborative information source across spaces with different owners, the very active Coworking mailing list as well as the Coworking community Blog.
If you are familiar with BarCamp, it's been said that coworking is like having BarCamp every day.
- Q:What do you mean when you say "community?"
A:We can't exactly define it, but you'll know it when you see it.
- Q:What type of people are members at Ignition Alley?
A:We have a relatively diverse group, albeit heavily biased towards technology startups.
Beyond entrepreneurs involved in tech startups we have designers and developers, marketing and PR consultants, artists and filmmakers, copywriters and architects, non-profit leaders and grant writers, angel investors and VCs.
- Q:Is Ignition Alley a Startup Incubator?
A:No, Yes and Not Exactly. A huge reason we launched Ignition Alley was to give a very inexpensive option for initial office space to Atlanta-based technology startups.
While we don't offer space for free or shared business services like incubators, we instead provide an inexpensive "pay your own way" option for startups and an environment where shared services can happen organically among members.
- Q:Do I lease space from Ignition Alley?
A:Nope, we don't lease space. Instead we have memberships at Ignition Alley.
A membership at Ignition Alley is a lot like a health club membership but at IA you could to work and interactive with others on a business, creative or technical level instead of working out and socializing.
- Q:Can I bring my own chair?
A:Yeah, probably. Unless it's ugly. We don't condone ugly. So to be on the safe side, just ask.
- Q:Do you have WiFi?
A:Yes, we have free, unlimited, secure, fast Wifi.
- Q:What are the hours Ignition Alley is open?
A:We're open 7am to 10pm seven days a week, including holidays. Members get a key card that gives them access to the building at any time during those hours.
- Q:Can I get my own walled office at Ignition Alley?
A:In the current facility no, we simply don't have enough space to add more walls. We're a space designed for collaboration and interaction with other members. Having walled offices goes somewhat against our concept. There are other units in the same building that you can "graduate" to, but they are subject to their own availability. One of our owners is a real estate developer and can help you if you're doing well enough to need your own space!
- Q:What about noise? Will it be quiet enough for me to concentrate?
A:Collaboration does lead to some chatter between people, but it is never at loud enough levels to distract. In fact, many times open communication leads to members sharing knowledge that might save them significant amounts of time. That being said, the space is generally very quiet and peaceful to work in.
- Q:Is Ignition Alley affiliated with Georgia Tech's ATDC?
A:We like them and we're told they like us. Yes, ATDC and Ignition Alley have some very similar goals, specifically being to empower economic development in Atlanta among technology startups. We consider ATDC to be complimentary to Ignition Alley. ATDC is a great place figure out your business plan, develop best practices, and get in contact with some really smart people. Ignition Alley is a great place to collaborate with other people and get your work done. Chances are many of our members will also be ATDC members and vice-versa. Both the ATDC and Ignition Alley want you to succeed and we think both places offer essential tools to ensure that you do.
- Q:How firm are your policies?
A:First and foremost, Ignition Alley is about the community. While we'll have to stand firm on policies that protect us from legal liability, our primary focus is on growing a rock solid community and supporting it completely. While some polices must remain rigid, most of our policies are more guidelines than rules and are subject to change based collectively on what the community wants.
- Q:What about things the community wants that costs money?
A:While we first need to reach marginal profitability, we plan to allocate a significant portion of any monthly profits we might achieve towards community-requested improvements. We'll also ask our members to help find ways to get things donated or subsidized in whatever creative ways they can think of. But if there's enough demand, we'll consider any improvement that would help increase the quality and productivity of the space.
- Q:Is there a day rate at Ignition Alley?
A:Nope. Our access system depends on key cards, which are relatively pricey on a per-member basis. So, we would have to charge a relatively large "setup fee" of some sort to offset that cost. Our membership is only $79 per month with no commitment, so it's not a huge risk to try it out.
If you aren't a member and want to check the place out, ask your followers on Twitter if any of them are a member and if one of them will invite you in. Or if you don't know a member, ask @IgnitionAlley on Twitter if you can stop by.
Failing all that, contact us to schedule a time.
- Q:What about guests, like clients or friends from out of town; do they have to pay?
A:Nope. As a member and if you want to bring a guest, feel free. It should feel like it's your own office and you wouldn't have to pay a day rate for your own guests if you were leasing your own office, so you won't pay for guests at Ignition Alley.
On the other hand, if you seem to be bringing the same guest in every day, or you have many guests taking up lots of space every day, we'll need to talk. :-)
- Q:Are the answers to these FAQs set in stone?
A:Nope. Ignition Alley is a private sector experiment in offering the kind of economic development and community building services that are normally offered by visionary local governments. As an experiment, we'll be listening closely to what the community says and asks for, and will update our stance as the community defines it.