So I got a report from Niall last night that Ritro, my favorite cafe in town, has cut off power on the weekends… like, to the degree that they’re covering the outlets with labels reading “No Power”. Yikes!
This comes a few weeks after they blocked a bunch of ports useful for things like IRC, IM, Bonjour networking and SSH (etc).
Obviously they need to protect their business and it’s true that more often than not, more and more even casual vagabond hackers are spending time in cafes without buying a damn thing, not surprisingly pissing off the proprietors.
So while I’m totally sympathic with Eileen et al at Ritro (she needs to make money to keep her business around, after all, right?), this issue, in my view, further underscores the need for a more permanent coworking venue in San Francisco… one that feels like a cafe (and probably has coffee and tea and whatnot on hand) but encourages the productivity of a collaborative workspace.
It dawned on me that our ailing library system could actually be used for this purpose, except they seem to have this hang up with silence. If they got over that, I could see that being a resource, at least temporarily, for this idea.
Additionally, I’ve been talking with a bunch of folks about establishing a loft-like venue for this kind of environment… just imagine: free, stable wifi, juicy power, tasty coffee, desks, projectors… and lots of smart people doing hella cool stuff, having Mash Pits every other day. How would we afford this? Well, we could do what Brad’s already doing: charge a weekly/monthly/daily subscription fee for the use of a desk. No company would ever be able to have more than a certain percentage of desks bought out at any given time in the interest of diversity and inclusivity… and of course we’d keep it open to independent consultants and other interested folks just wanting to chill out for the day.
And what the heck, we’d have a backchannel going, some Bonjour networking… and of course an open SVN repository to dump all the good stuff that happens to emerge that wants to be open source.
So I don’t know when or even if this will happen, but it’s on my agenda for this year: an accessible, permanent space in San Francisco for geek innovation, neue thinking, GSD and making the kind of connections that can only happen in the real. Any takers?