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 or independent contractors or people 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. Here’s what some of the “founders” of the coworking concept have to say about coworking:
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:Since Ignition Alley is just launching it remains to be seen but we expect to have a relatively diverse group, albeit heavily biased towards technology startups.
Beyond entrepreneurs involved in tech startups we expect to have designers and developers, marketing and PR consultants, artists and filmmakers, copywriters and architects, non-profit leaders and grant writers, angel investors and VCs, and maybe even a few lawyers and accountants.
Q:I’ve heard that Ignition Alley plans Lunch & Learns. Can you tell me more?
A:We plan to build up to hosting a daily Lunch & Learn which could be delivered by Ignition Alley members, people recruited by an Ignition Alley member or someone from a vendor that promotes a product or service to members or their clients. Typically lunches will be BYOL but in the case of a vendor we’ll ask that they provide lunch for attendees.
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:Well duh! Of course we have WiFi! Fast Wifi. (Yes people have asked us this and it didn’t even occur to us that it wasn’t obvious. I guess that was our bad.)
Q:When can I use the space?
A:Ignition Alley is open to members 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.
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. Still, we will consider it in the future when we move to a larger facility if enough people are interested.
Q:What about noise? Will it be quiet enough for me to concentrate?
A:The Ignition Alley concept has two areas; the Loud Room and the Quiet Room. It’s fine to talk in the Loud Room just like you would in a coffee shop. Many people work well in that environment by listening to music with headphones on.
In the Quiet Room, which is also where the Dedicated Desks will be housed, members work quietly or whisper if they need to discuss something with a coworker.
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. Also both co-founders of Ignition Alley are Georgia Tech graduates and one of them hosts a monthly meeting of the Atlanta Web Entreprenuers at the ATDC’s office at Tech Square.
So 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 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.
Q:Do you have Training/Meetup space at Ignition Alley?
A:Yes, we have several different rooms that can either be rented for commercial purposes or used for free in the evening and on weekends for Meetups and other types of events that benefit the community. If you are interested, contact us.
Q:Can just anyone use the meeting space at Ignition Alley?
A:No. Our criteria for use of the space are “Will it benefit Ignition Alley’s member community?” and “Will the topic/event attract people with the types of interests, skills and experience that we’ve like to have as Ignition Alley members?” If we can’t answer “Yes” to at least one of those we’re not likely to allow that event to use our space.
Q:Can I hold my Religious Service and/or Political Rally/Fundraiser at Ignition Alley?
A:Short Answer: No. Long Answer: Just like your daddy taught you, don’t talk religion or politics in polite company. Hosting religious or political events reeks of endorsement and Ignition Alley is a secular institution that wants to unite people in Atlanta, not divide them.
Q:Is there a day rate at Ignition Alley?
A:Nope. We don’t want the hassle our members by checking people in and out all the time so there’s no day rate.
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.