Business, community and co-working

Ignition is a process you probably don't think much about. Turn a key or push a button and an interconnected series of calibrated systems go to work. In your work, maybe you're part of the system, but that doesn't mean you can't take your turn at the ignition from time to time. Push the button. Poke the Box.

Starting something is exciting. Some get hooked on ideas more than action. I have had my share of ideas that didn't take off, and believe that in order to have more good ideas, you should have more bad ideas.

When the Silicon Valley Business Journal asked me what, exactly, innovative chambers of commerce are doing to serve the new entrepreneur, I laughed as I fought the impulse to name all the things I had started in my time at my former chamber of commerce. What's so funny? People only really remember the successes. (Look for the San Jose paper to publish a list of leading local chambers soon.)

If I'm going to fail, I prefer to fail publicly. After all, the consumer audience loves to watch the attempt, not the sure thing. In my most recent attempt to fail publicly, it seems one of my ideas has made it to the next round of testing. And it earned twenty grand in the process.

Since about 2005, I've dreamed of a professional working environment in which many people work, but no one has the same boss -- or any boss. They are co-workers, but most likely do not receive a paycheck. I didn't have a name for it until about 3 months ago: Third Party Project. My friend and fellow instigator, Tim, had been goading me about it. Until a couple of years ago, I didn't even know they were called co-working spaces. Some of the more notable ones are New Work City and Citizen Space. Turns out one of the co-founders of Nedspace in Portland, Oregon, is a former colleague of mine from 20 years ago.

Kyle Sexton (standing) makes his presentation during the Salem Sharks event a the Historic Grand Theatre on Saturday, June 1, 2013. His presentation of the Third Party project in partnership for a second location of the Ike Box was funded. Photo by TIMOTHY J. GONZALEZ / Statesman Journal

At the Salem Sharks event, 9 other people also put their dreams up on the auction block with funding requests ranging from $20,000 to $200,000.Third Party was one of only 2 that were funded this time around, but offers were on the table for some. And now that the cat is out of the bag, I can talk about it a bit.

The Sharks event wasn't the ignition for me, but it was an accelerator. For others, it was ignition. You can make a plan too perfect. You can go too far to build the systems. It's important to have some points where you can check in and see if your idea is viable so you know where next to put your focus.

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