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  • What happens when a university, a city and an agency collaborate to innovate? Something exceptional

    • By jennifer
    • |
    • Tuesday, December 3, 2013

     It's a rare occasion when people and institutions exceed our expectations, isn't it? And when we encounter “exceptional,” it makes a lasting impression that is worth sharing. Just recently, I had the opportunity (thanks to the project's visionary, Alex Lawrence) to attend the launch of Startup Ogden - the outcome of disparate entities truly collaborating beyond typical borders. The trip was a ton of fun and taught me some valuable lessons about community and collaboration. This startup and education facility was the result of an entrepreneurial leader's vision, a university's buy-in, a city's future thinking and the community's support. 

    startup ogden grand openingThe project, dubbed "Weber State Downtown" arrived stylishly on the scene on November 20, 2013 with the opening of this coworking + education space. It's a two-year, $3.5 million project that was the vision of Alex Lawrence, successful entrepreneur and teacher. Alex is full of passion for helping young people succeed and for his community in Northern Utah. He’s brilliant at making things happen, and this project showcased how to translate vision into collaboration between disparate parties in order to innovate for the future.

    With Alex’s leadership, Startup Ogden came to fruition due to a financial partnership rarely seen, including a university (Weber State University), a city (the City of Ogden), an economic development agency (the Governor's Office of Economic Development) and a local Chamber (Ogden Weber Chamber).

    Startup Ogden is a multi-use space focused on coworking, but also features an iMac-filled classroom for development and design-oriented continuing education, a mobile apps lab, campus store, event space, café and get this - an Apple store (coming soon).

    startup ogden

    Startup Ogden's coworking floor

    In his usual generous spirit, Alex invited some #VegasTech members (myself and David Gosse included) up to the launch festivities and its subsequent Startup Weekend. Alex has been an avid supporter of VegasTech and we've appreciated his consistent contributions in-person and from his home base in UT for our growing community. It was our honor to trek up to Ogden for his mega-launch and see what he'd been cooking for the last couple years. (For some fun outtakes, see the #SelfieTour photos initiated by Jimmy Jacobson and Porter Haney).

    #VegasTech in Ogden

    It's a beautiful place. The rustic modern three-floor building has been reimagined from an abandoned manufacturing facility. Original exposed brick walls date back to the late 1800's while the new hand-scraped wood floors update the look. Loads of natural light from the floor-to-ceiling windows on each floor is enhanced by a glass enclosed staircase. Ping pong tables, a punching bag and conversation areas with flat screen TVs makes the old-meets-new look a definite modern vibe.

    Startup Weekend’s founder underscores the imperative of inclusiveness in community

    Also in attendance at Startup Ogden's launch and its subsequent Startup Weekend event later that evening was Andrew Hyde, the founder of Startup Weekend. As the 54-hour startup event began, Andrew’s keynote revealed that his original goal when launching Startup Weekend was to help build inclusive communities.

    He encouraged attendees to nurture a community where everyone feels welcomed and valued. If you can do that in a weekend, you can carry over that practice to your company and city. It's hard to do a bad job when you're inclusive, he said.

    That sentiment matched perfectly with the theme of Startup Ogden's launch weekend: community, inclusiveness and innovation.

    Andrew Hyde and Made in Ogden

    Andrew Hyde and local tech goods maker, Ogden Made, founder

    When we knock down our typical walls and collaborate cross-agency/company/city/demographics/company/culture, we can create something innovative that improves our collective futures.

    That’s what Alex Lawrence did with his original vision for Startup Ogden and what the founding partners did when they signed on to work together for a common goal for the betterment of their young people’s and community’s future. It’s also the aim of Startup Weekends in over 200 cities around the world. And it should be the goal for each of us in our communities, companies and families. After all, collaboration is simply defined as working with others in order to produce or create something – exceptional.

    Bonus section (more photos)

    classroom space

    #VegasTech pals Jimmy Jacobson teaches Tracky CEO David Gosse a lesson or two in coding in the continuing education classroom.

    bikes at coworking

    Bikes as art? You bet. Especially when just outside are some epic trails in the Wasatch Mountains.

    ogden mountain views

  • Today, we give thanks

    • By sarah
    • |
    • Wednesday, November 21, 2012

    give thanks

    We have so much to be thankful for. I like the trend that some people use the whole month of November as a reminder to take stock of their lives and to actively express gratitude, especially during this time. With Thanksgiving just a day away, the Tracky team paused to share some of the things that we're thankful for.

    And, if you're reading this, thank you. Thanks for supporting an ambitious startup with a big dream to improve productivity and make getting things done more social. We're a small but mighty team and every bit of support means a ton to each of us.

    • I am thankful for a great career that lets me provide for family and dogs who like to snuggle. Oh, and Twitter. - Sarah
    • I'm thankful for investors who want to invest in entrepreneurs so that dreams become a reality. This great country was built on innovators and those who believe in them. - David G.
    • I'm thankful for my amazing family and friends who constantly challenge me to try new things, visit new places, and live life to the fullest. - David L.
    • I'm thankful to be working with a team that cares as much about each other as they do creating a positively disruptive productivity platform. - Jennifer
    • I am thankful for my wife, and our children and grandchildren: they give meaning to my life. I'm thankful for friends and family who share in all things. I'm thankful for the many people who have helped me throughout my life, and for those few that I've had the pleasure to help. I'm thankful for those who have served, those who are serving, and those who made the ultimate sacrifice: without their service, I might not have the opportunity to be thankful. And I'm thankful for the Tracky team who've given me an opportunity to be excited again about our future. - Dominic
    • I'm thankful for mentors like Jack Porter who truly get to understand an entrepreneur's product and make insightful recommendations instead of generic comments. - David G.
    • I am thankful for my health, family, friends and colleagues, all of which have been a great support to me in good and bad times. Couldn't have come this far without everyone being there. - Anita
    • Being part of the #VegasTech community and inNEVation, where a diverse group of people and businesses are working together to build a stronger local economy for Southern Nevada. - Jennifer
    • I am thankful for my wife, family, church and friends. I am thankful for the opportunity to work with David and Jennifer Gosse and the incredible Tracky team. It is so rare to be a part of developing something as innovative and groundbreaking as Tracky...that truly can change the world in how we work and collaborate together. I am thankful for this wonderful country that we live in and all the freedoms, liberites, and limitless opportunities it provides. Most importantly, I thank God for all of the above and all His many blessings! - Jason
    • We're thankful to work on something we're so passionate about with our very best friend and partner. Working together has made us stronger together, and taught us valuable lessons about each other and the world. - David G. & Jennifer

    We're thankful for our users, investors, collaborators and fans. THANK YOU for making Tracky's social collaboration platform part of your life. You've made ours better for it. - the Tracky team

  • Trust In Your Team

    • By sarah
    • |
    • Tuesday, November 20, 2012

    trust in your team

    I believe we live and die by our team. Call me crazy, but I know I can’t do it all by myself. Your industry is probably fast-paced, tiresome with long hours. It’s not always glamorous, but when the work is done right, it can be extremely rewarding.

    It’s not just about filling vacancies, but bringing together people who share a similar purpose, vision and drive for excellence.

    Bringing the “right” people together doesn’t automatically result in success. Everyone brings their own strengths, weaknesses, personalities and individual nuances. It is on those most challenging of days that our strengths and weaknesses are more visible and our true character and teamwork is tested.

    There are a few key standards I believe are essential to high functioning teams:

    • Respect one another’s unique and valuable gifts, learn and celebrate them.
    • Make good on promises and support one another.
    • Do what needs to be done to deliver results that consistently exceed expectations.
    • Celebrate and own successes and failures together.
    • Learn from our mistakes and put practices in place to ensure they do not happen again.

    (RE)FRAME: A strong, united team owns success and failure together. (tweet this)

    - Excerpt from [RE]FRAME: Little Inspirations For A Larger Purpose


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