Hub Bay Area
Hey fellow PSIPer’s,
Hub Bay Area had its first event last week Monday evening that marked the beginning of a series of provocative events called the Hub Innovative Series. We held a panel discussion with Ben Rattray of Change.org , Steve Newcomb of Virgance, and Matt Flannery of Kiva.org, as they discussed the how they themselves built and scaled some of the most well known social organizations in the Bay Area. It was a great event that sold out days before with people lined up on a 45 person wait list for any available seating. It was very interesting to see the way differing views on how business in the sustainable field is most effective.
Here’s a link to check out the live stream of the panel discussion.
What was most interesting to me was the overall view of just “getting (stuff) done”. Amongst the three speakers, a reoccurring emphasis was on having strength through community and the people around you. For Ben of Change.org, his strength is in mobilizing his community through the blogging and internet world. Matt of Kiva.org, also finds his strength through a community of funders connected via the web. Steve of Virgance however has a completely different view. Steve gathers strength not by connecting a community outside of himself through the web, but directly the people he works with; his own community at Virgance. At Virgance,
Steve incorporates a first month “testing” of his employees who work for a month for free, kind of like a trial, before getting hired by the organization. During this period, Steve watches closely to see not only if you’re motivated, but work efficiently and fit completely into the model. After the month is over, that person must be unanimously voted to gain further employment. This he explains, is why he is so successful. There are no laggers, no one to hold the staff back and basically an open road to move forward in. This seems to be much more of a traditional corporate idea, where you make sure you have the best tools to make the most efficient machine. However, Steve explains that this simply follows along with his idea of transparency that is necessary within Virgance. There is nothing to hide because everyone there works because they deserve to be there and simply “get (stuff) done”. This idea of complete transparency also takes shape in the company’s “naked Wednesdays”. Naked Wednesdays is when the company goes out for lunch in the park and everyone can ask any question and will get the honest answer to that question. This is also open to passerbys and the general public. Now this is an idea that many activists would welcome warmly. It seems that Steve takes many ideas from the traditional corporate and open liberalist worlds and intertwines them into his own business model. Now we are left to question if in a decade or so, more business men like Steve will become more of activists and pave the way for a new, more balanced business model; hopefully it will be sustainable.
The Hub in Berkeley will be open in September and is located in the David Brower Center (right next to the downtown Berkeley BART station). This building is a truly wonderful creation. The architecture is marvelous and unique with Marble, glass, and lush plants everywhere (I realize my description is lacking but hopefully you get a general idea). The Brower Center only houses non-profits and a few social ventures. This creates a community of organizations that all want to help the world, located in a single building. The Brower center is one of the greenest buildings in the entire country, exceeding Platinum LEED certification requirements. It uses almost no power from the grid. For more information on the Brower Center click here.
HUB rented out two offices in the center. We have knocked down the wall between them and we now have one massive work area (about 2000 square feet). The work space includes interactive desk areas, private rooms for making an important or loud phone call, small conference rooms, a large conference room in a glass bubble (known as the hubble), an all organic café, and a lounge area with the possibility of bean bags. There will also be plants, and plenty art on the walls. Last weekend we spent a good amount of time painting. Seeing the space come together is truly amazing. I can’t wait to see the finished product. At the top of this post is a a blueprint of what the Berkeley space will look like once it is completed.
On Monday, July 27th The Hub held mixer and speaker event in the gallery of the Brower Center. At the event we had founders from Change.org, Kiva, and Virgance participating in an interactive panel with an audience of 150 people from the non-profit community. It was incredible to see so many people there, and also to see the result of all the hard work that went into publicizing and getting ready for the event. We had more people than we could handle who wanted to attend the event, and the waiting list to see the speakers was over 40 people. Below i’ve included some pictures of the Brower Center, members of The Hub team working on the offices, and the event itself.
July 2, 2009by bpark480
I would like to start by saying PSIP is a great idea and program. I never thought that my first internship would involve more than photocopying and its paid! Yesterday we had a mixer up on Medjool on the rooftop with folks from Investor’s Circle, Spark Seed, and our fellow office workers at Good Capital and So Cap. As you can tell during the first month of the internship we’ve had the opportunity to meet so many different organizations and learn about all the exciting work people are involved in. I’ve never had such an eye opening experience in the business field in such a short amount of time. The Hub being a start up really gives us interns, (Jon Coon, Ari Brownstone, and I), a hands on experience where we can claim in the end, “We helped start this organization”. We got to sit in on marketing meetings, phone conferences, etc that really gave me a view of what my career in business may be like in the future.
Aside from the things I’ve learned from the Hub, I also wanted to let you other PSIPers and HCPers know a little about Spark Seed, the company I met yesterday. This is a very interesting org. and a great idea that can really be useful, especially for those interested in the entrepreneurial field. Spark Seed is a non-profit that looks for college students who have ideas of starting their own business or organization and provides them with mentoring, tools and resources, and the funding to make it happen. Best of all, they are currently using Kalmonavitz as the central work space so you guys should hit them up if you have any cool business ideas.June 16, 2009by jacoon
It has been an interesting two weeks since I started at The Hub. We have already morphed our brand from HUBsf to Hub Bay Area in order to ensure that our first location in Berkeley is not confused with our planned San Francisco location. Along with Ari Brownstone and Brian Park, my PSIP partners, we have identified over 300 organizations and individuals who we hope to target for Hub membership and events but more importantly, whom we will lean on to reach the “margin” players within various sectors that we have been researching as part of the outreach strategy.
The next step is setting up our social media plan with the guidance of our Director, Alex Michel, and USF MBA Alum Meredith Walters. Don’t be left out, join the community filled with innovation, ideas and action. Become a member of the Hub Bay Area today!July 11, 2009by jacoonJuly 10, 2009by bpark480
On Wednesday evening, Jon Coon, Ari Brownstone, Alex Michel, and I went to a event held by the Entrepreneur and Small Business Academy which is a get together held at the first Wednesday of every month via Meetup.com. We had a chance to introduce ourselves and give a quick synopsis/ sneaky pitch for 30 seconds each to a diverse room of entrepreneurs, formers CPO’s, nutritionists, programmers, etc. It was a very eye-opening experience to be introducing yourself and your organzation in front of adults from mid twenties to their sixties, who have well established their own careers and businesses, and still being able to capture their attention. During our ten minutes to network and trade information I met a few people, one of which I was able to interest in the Hub. She is starting up an org called Money for College, which helps students work and pay their college tuitions. She fit completely into our model and am excited to potentially working with her in the near future as my first potential member! It feels good to be able to see the progress I’ve made throughout my internship and am excited by the amount of things you learn by immersing yourself in the “real” business world and outside of the school’s bubble. There are so many things that I am learning that would not have been taught in the classroom. Its also interesting and inspiring to see how many business men and women experiencing the troubles of a recession still manage to keep their heads high, and take charge of their own businesses through mixers and meet ups such as these.July 6, 2009by aribrownstone
This summer I am interning at Hub Bay Area (The Hub for short). The Hub’s purpose it to create a physical work space for social innovators and entrepreneur’s, basically people who want to change the world to make it a better place. The Hub uses its startup capital to rent a set of offices, but instead of simply leaving the offices as are, they are completely remodeled into a dynamic, state of the art work space where people will actually be excited to come to every day. The work space includes interactive desk areas, private rooms for making an important or loud phone call, small conference rooms, a large conference room in a glass bubble, an all organic café, possibly a bar, and some sort of lounge area with the possibility of bean bags. There will also plants, and art on the walls.
Here is an excerpt from my journal which was written after my first day at The Hub:
Today was my first day interning at the Hub. The Hub has two offices that we are working out of. One in San Francisco and one in Berkeley. When we are in San Francisco, our offices are located on 22nd and Mission Street. We all arrived at the Good Capital (the company that plays a large part in financing the Hub) offices around 9 am. Before we even got settled Alex, the Hub director, asked us if we wanted to get coffee. We went to this awesome coffee house and basically laid out our goals for the summer and what we wanted to get out of the internship, both personal and quantifiable.
When we got back to the office we got a formal introduction to everyone who works there. Aside from us interns, there was only Alex and the community outreach director, Meredith, working directly for the Hub. There are also people from both SoCap and Good Capital working in our offices who we collaborate with daily. We spent the rest of the day researching the Hub policies and practices so we could fully understand the task ahead of us. Of course we took a break for lunch and went to a great burrito place. I got a chicken avocado salad that was pretty awesome.
After today I know I made the right choice. Alex is incredibly enthusiastic about what he is doing, and really wants to see the Hub be something great. It’s amazing to be doing an internship that I am really passionate about. Everyone at the office is a really cool person, and though it’s a lot of work, it’s all incredibly interesting.
So far, the work that I have done includes:
- Researching potential partner organizations
- Researching potential members
- Researching potential speakers
- Data Entry
- Going to non-profit events and networking for The Hub
- Recruiting at events
- Contacting potential members and organizations via email
- Creating and managing The Hub Linkedin group
- Managing The Hub Facebook fan page
My internship is at its midpoint and I have already experienced so many new things and learned so much. Really the most amazing thing about working in the non-profit sector is the people you meet. On a daily basis I meet incredible people. I had no idea people this cool existed in such concentration. Its amazing to work for a company whose goal is to get all these people together in one place, and I am truly happy to be working here.