It is a rare thing to find a good friend.
It is much rarer to find one with your taste in beer and design.
It is the most rare to find a friend that shares your vision for community.
I strolled into the Tri-Cities, a fresh faced, greenback, city-boy from Portland. I was immediately labeled with words like “hipster”, or “liberal”. Little did people know that beneath my skinny-jean clad exterior, I was a much more complicated soul (who happened to freely partake of all the preservative/genetically enhanced food groups). I felt lost in this backwoods town. For nearly two years I wished for nothing more than to pack my bags and leave this barren desert.
Enter: The Founding
Erin Anacker did not fit the mold of the Tri-Cities. She had diction when she talked. She spoke of food franchises with disgust. She obviously was not from here. Erin was from Seattle. A designer transplant with the same lost look on her face as myself. When two designers get together they can’t help but design.
Enter: The Round Table
The Collaborative was the brainchild of desperation. Erin and I wanted to talk, learn, experience and share design with others of the same ilk. We drank coffee in excess at the Tri-Cities best coffee joint with the worst name (and website): Barracuda Coffee and talked design. In fact we drank so much coffee that we befriended the owners, a wonderfully cheerful and sardonic couple named Jake and Michelle.
Enter: The Godfather
It might be a strange title but those who know him will understand. He is a part of everything that is truly inspiring in Tri-Cities. He started DocType Society, TriConf, Realtime Conf and helped pave the way for groups like our own and Room to Think. Adam Brault lives to help others dream and then accomplish those dreams. He began to promote The Collaborative, connecting us with designers, creatives and altogether cool people. (Jenn Turner– thats your affirmation). But that is neither here nor there for Adam was merely the path to even greater things.
Enter: The Heroine
This my friend Shenoa, the one for whom this epic was penned. Adam hooked the Collaborative up with Room to Think, the only local coworking space in the Tri-Cities. Shenoa, a designer of the inter-webs, founded it because…well hell, like the rest of us freelance designers, she was sick of working alone. She wanted other people to talk to, bounce ideas off of, ask questions, and drink beer with. Unlike the rest of us land lubbers, she took to the seas with a devotion that would make a romantic embarrassed. She began Room to Think when most thought it couldn’t be done. She showed up to TriConf in her pajamas to tell us how great coworking is and why we should do it. She drug herself out of bed to show up to the Collaborative and talk shop with the rest of us starry eyed dreamers. She said “I don’t care what society says, I want to change my community.”
Heroes Take Note
Your dreams don’t become reality because you want them to. They require blood, sweat, tears and sacrifice. They require sleepless nights, thousands of cups of coffee (and maybe a few beers) and GOOD FRIENDS.
I am taking notes from your life, friend. I got a pair of skinny jeans for you as you head to the westside.
P.S. My friends are cooler than your friends
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