How did your background as a software engineer help you to found your startup, Bricks Coworking & Innovation Space?
Being a remote software developer, I was well aware of the requirements I’d need in order to use a shared office space, as well as the associated gripes of working from home or a coffee shop. I knew I’d need reliable high-speed internet, a secure space for my belongings, areas to take private calls when necessary, and the technical infrastructure for my day-to-day; printer, scanner, audio-visual equipment, etc. I also understood the benefit of social interaction during your day that remote workers miss out on. These were all items I desired in a workspace, and were the basis for me opening Bricks.
Who were your entrepreneurial influences and resources to support and guide you through the startup process?
Growing up in an entrepreneurial household (my father owned his own software company for more than 30 years), I understood the work it takes to start and run your own business. He is a tremendous resource to bounce ideas off of, understand pitfalls in certain circumstances, and overall plan the business. Additionally, CMGC provided tremendous support, helping me evaluate various potential locations, build out my business plan, establish target markets, and overall acting as an unbiased sounding board as I started Bricks. I’d be remiss if I didn’t also mention my wife, Tyne. Her daily support, assistance at every junction, and tremendous design sense helped shape what Bricks has become.
What workplace trends have contributed to the rise of shared workspace?
Year over year, the amount of telecommuting employees in the US has increased. Advanced technology and increased access to high-speed internet has enabled people to essentially work from anywhere. At the same time, we’ve entered massive growth in the ‘gig economy’, with projections that nearly 40% of the workforce will work as independent contractors by 2020. These trends create a great amount of flexibility in when and where one can work, and shared workspaces are a great option for them. In general, shared workspaces are no or low commitment and provide desired infrastructure. Outside of these individual contractors, it’s a cost-effective, low-risk way for businesses to quickly enter a new market.
Why did you choose Waterville to locate your startup?
On a personal level, I’ve spent nearly my whole life in Central Maine and currently reside in Belgrade, so I knew I wanted it somewhat nearby. Professionally, Waterville made a tremendous amount of sense with its current renaissance. Institutions, private companies, non-profits, and individuals all contributing to the community at a high-level, I saw it as an opportunity to add Bricks to the mix and act not only as a landing spot for many professionals, but also as a catalyst for growth alongside all of the other contributors. In addition, I wanted Bricks to be more than a desk that you rent, I wanted it to be a lifestyle choice. With all of the terrific restaurants and activities going on in Waterville on a weekly basis, it seemed like the perfect fit.
As CMGC’s Emerging Leader of 2018, can you give us a glimpse into your plans for 2019?
2018 was a good start for Bricks, however in 2019 we hope to show a tremendous amount of growth, both in terms of membership and community involvement. In addition to the monthly Central Maine Tech Night hosted at Bricks, we’ve recently added two monthly groups: Central Maine Volunteer Coordinators and Central Maine Programmers Group. Our upcoming Programmers Group meeting (Tue., Feb 19 th @ 5:30PM) will feature Rich Majerus of Colby College on the strengths of using R (a programming language) for exploratory data analysis.
Last modified: June 21, 2021