Tell us what you think.
June 30, 2012
It is with joy and excitement that I announce that slashRoot, the Hudson Valley’s Innovation Dojo, has outgrown its bounds at 60 Main Street in New Paltz and is actively seeking next steps.
As our students, clients, fans, and friends know, our Main Street coffee house has been only a shadow of the true nature of our organization. We have been powerfully blessed by the passion of a membership and community whose unwavering focus has been on cultivating the skill and discipline required for effective citizenship in the information age.
The space at 60 Main Street has not been the driving factor of our income generation or our most notable community activities. In fact, our storefront has always, in essence, been an act of charity: while producing far less income than it requires to maintain, our storefront has acted as a portal for people to enter, gather, and learn about the important technopolitical issues of our time.
We’ve heard from current and potential members about the pitfalls of our current storefront operation. We know that people are intimidated by it and often uncertain about entering. We understand that our unorthodox schedule can be confusing if not explained. We know that some of you simply don’t want to wade through the crowds of young people and travelers that sometimes gather outside our space*.
We need a space that professionals and inventors from around the region will feel compelled to enter and comfortable to occupy. We need a space that allows us to hold classes and workshops without disrupting our customer-facing services. We need a space that feels like the future - because we are ambassadors from there, here to spread good news and good code about what’s to come as we fully enter the information age of our species.
However, we have not yet located a space that we think fits us. We’re not even sure that we’re ready to jump right into another space. Thus, we’re faced with a difficult decision: Do we stay in this space which we know is distracting us and limiting our potential? Or do we pack up and continue our work without a storefront until an ideal one appears? With nearly three years of business lessons to learn and digest, we’ll have plenty to do.
But first, we need to hear from you.
It will work like this: we’ll do our development work from our homes. For those in the community who rely on our computer repair and empowerment services, we’ll still be available to work at your location or to pick up your hardware and bring it to our tech deck, which we are modifying to exist in a residence for a few months.
Our networking project will continue, with node development and deployment continuing throughout the community. We’ll still hold live events, but they’ll be at other venues as appropriate. We’ll still gather on the New Moon and still celebrate on the Full Moon.
I won’t mince words: We believe that the space and location at 60 Main Street is preventing us from getting the respect locally that we are getting regionally and nationally. The recent letter from our Town Supervisor effectively telling parents to keep their children away from our part of town was particularly hurtful and confusing. That her tirade made no mention of our successful efforts to bring young people off the street and into a career track of technological empowerment was nothing short of mind-boggling.
It’s hard to reconcile the amount of regional and national praise we have received with xenophobic reactions like this one - my sense is that some people simply do not want the Hudson Valley to become a tech sector because they fear that their power will be reduced by the introduction of an industry that they wrongly believe they can’t understand.
Fortunately, most of our local leaders have supported us and taken time to learn about our organization and movement.
The bottom line is that the excitement and growth of slashRoot continues to outpace our ability to accommodate it at 60 Main Street, and this shortcoming is costing us time and money every day. We believe that moving our operation is a clear and necessary prescription for is growth.
The question we put before you: Is now the time?
-Justin Holmes, Chief Executive Llama Trainer, slashRoot
*To my way of thinking, the role of New Paltz as convergence center for many travelers and young people is a blessing. If these people are shewed from our community, I think that their vibrance and music will quickly be missed.